Whaihanga Early Learning Centre - 23/01/2014

1 Background


A Supplementary Review is undertaken at the discretion of a National Manager, Review Services in the Education Review Office (ERO).

A supplementary review evaluates the extent and effectiveness of actions a centre has taken towards addressing issues specified in a previous education review and/or any additional areas identified since that review.

Terms of Reference

This supplementary review is based on an evaluation of the performance of the Whaihanga Early Learning Centre governing body and management in relation to areas identified in the November 2012 ERO report or issues identified since that review. The terms of reference for this review are to investigate:

  • a centre philosophy consistent with the Central North Island Early Education Services Trust (CNIEEST) philosophy
  • processes for self review that maintain and improve the quality of education and care
  • clear priorities for improving the quality of the curriculum and teaching and learning practices
  • the range of experiences and opportunities for children to enhance and extend their learning and development both indoors, individually and in groups
  • assessment, planning and evaluation processes
  • monitoring and supervision of children’s play, health and hygiene routines.

2 Evaluation Findings


Whaihanga Early Learning Centre is located in Hillcrest, Hamilton, within the grounds of a local primary school. The centre provides all day education and care for up to 40 children, including 12 children up to two years of age. At the time of the ERO review there were 38 children on the roll, including 19 children identified as of Māori descent and 7 of Pacific descent.

The centre operates under the umbrella of the CNIEEST, and they continue to contract Central Kids Kindergartens to provide professional support for programme delivery, policy, administration and personnel management.

The November 2012 ERO report identified the need to review the centre philosophy and strengthen the quality of self review, leadership, teaching practice and programme provision. As a result of these concerns ERO signalled a supplementary review of the centre within 12 months.

Since that time, the centre has received significant, strategically planned support from CNIKT personnel, including professional development, to bring about and sustain positive change. This has been enhanced by the appointment of 6 qualified teachers who demonstrate teaching practices that reflect CNIEEST philosophy and expectations. There has been a planned reduction to the numbers of children on the roll to give teachers the opportunity to effectively address the areas for review and development identified in the 2012 ERO report. Since June 2013 the new centre manager has worked with the professional leaders and developed a strategic approach to strengthening leadership and teaching practices. Priority is placed on establishing and maintaining an open and inclusive culture amongst teachers and support staff.

As a result of these positive improvements Whaihanga Early Learning Centre is now well placed to provide positive outcomes for children and their families.

Areas of progress

In the middle of 2013, the centre manager, two professional leaders and an external provider worked with staff to review and develop a centre philosophy that is consistent with the CNIEEST philosophy. At the time of the ERO review the philosophy had been documented and was ready for parent, whānau and community consultation.

The centre manager’s collaborative leadership has resulted in a positive team culture that is underpinned by shared and understood values focused on positive outcomes for children. There is a clear strategic direction to promote teacher development and programme planning. Teachers are reflective practitioners, meet regularly, share in decision making and have professional discussions linked to ongoing professional learning and development (PLD). The robust appraisal process provides teachers with clear feedback and feed forward about their practice. Appraisal goals are aligned to PLD and teachers are increasingly focused on strategies that extend children’s learning interests.

The centre team has established an effective self-review process, which is now informing decision making about centre improvement and development. The outcome of this work has addressed the area of non compliance in relation to providing a range of experiences to extend children’s learning identified in the November 2012 ERO report. Improvements are particularly evident in:

  • enhanced spaces for teachers and children through upgrades to the interior design and layout of the building
  • children’s ready access to a good range of high-quality materials and equipment
  • the targeted use of equity funding, which benefits priority learners and all children
  • routines that are responsive to the needs of individual children
  • children having opportunities to experience choices and challenges in their learning.

These developments are contributing to a settled and inclusive environment in which children sustain their play and participate in meaningful learning experiences.

ERO observed teachers integrating positive teaching practices that included:

  • respectful and responsive care for babies
  • positive relationships and interactions amongst children and adults
  • children demonstrating social competence and independence
  • increased awareness of the particular needs of boys
  • a whānau-based learning environment where children and siblings can be together in a mixed-age setting.

Teachers plan and provide a programme that engages children in sustained play and supports them to follow their interests. Learning is documented to enable children to revisit and share their progress and development with their peers and families, whānau and aiga. Good use is made of the environment surrounding the centre to enhance children’s understanding of the wider, natural world and provide greater physical challenge.

Areas for further improvement

ERO, professional leaders, the centre manager, and the teaching team agree that there is a need for centre leaders to continue to:

  • further consult with parents, whānau and community about the centre philosophy
  • provide parents with further opportunities to share as partners in children’s learning
  • document and embed a self-review cycle for all aspects of centre operations
  • build teacher capability in assessment, planning and evaluation, particularly in bicultural practices and integrating the language, culture and identity of each child into the programme.

3 Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again as part of the regular review cycle.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

23 January 2014

Information about the Service


Hillcrest, Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 21 Girls 17

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other Pacific

Cook Island


South East Asian







Percentage of qualified teachers


Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

23 January 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2012

November 2009

November 2006