Whales Tales Preschool Ltd - 07/09/2018

1 Evaluation of Whales Tales Preschool Ltd

How well placed is Whales Tales Preschool Ltd to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Whales Tales Preschool Ltd is well placed to provide positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Whales Tales Preschool Ltd is a privately-owned and operated early childhood centre. The small centre provides education and care for a limited number of infants, toddlers and preschool children.

Since the previous ERO review in 2014 there have been a number of major developments, including new ownership, leadership and teaching team. Most staff are fully qualified and registered teachers. The leadership team has worked with external professional advisors to update all management systems, policies and procedures, curriculum planning and internal evaluation.

The preschool, along with the whole of the Kaikoura area, was significantly impacted by the 2016 earthquakes. The teachers and community worked together to support one another and the children. The preschool has a large percentage of Māori children and an increasing number of children from other cultures.

The preschool staff has developed close professional relationships with the wider education community, including other early learning services and schools.

The service vision aspires to provide a warm, welcoming learning environment where whānau are actively involved in their children's learning. Relationships will be fostered and supported to enable children to be curious lifelong learners, resilient risk takers and able to manage themselves within a changing world.

The Review Findings

The philosophy of the preschool is underpinned by shared values and beliefs which are highly evident in practice. Teachers model care and respect for each other and for children and families, creating a positive sense of whānau. They advocate for families and respond to the individual interests, strengths and wellbeing of children.

The language, culture and identity of children and families are respected and valued. Children have many opportunities to learn about the dual heritage of Aotearoa in ways that are meaningful and respectful of the Māori culture. Māori children have rich opportunities to experience success as Māori. Children are seen as capable. The expertise of children and whānau is valued and contributes effectively to the programme.

The child-led curriculum makes strong links to the community. Children have easy access to a wide range of meaningful learning experiences within and beyond the preschool. This supports their understanding of the natural world and connectedness to the local area and history. These experiences provide rich opportunities for the development of literacy, including oral language, creativity and social skills. Purposeful links to the local rūnanga enrich the bicultural curriculum offered to children.

The specific needs of children under two years old and those with diverse needs are well considered and met through sensitive interactions and purposeful partnerships with parents.

Leaders have effectively established a culture in which children are first and foremost valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning. Reflective practice and collaborative ways of working are being fostered with everyone involved in the service.

Key Next Steps

The service leaders and ERO agree that the number of new systems and processes now need to be embedded to build consistency and sustainable practices. This includes:

  • strategic and annual planning
  • assessment, planning and evaluation processes
  • the internal evaluation system
  • the implementation of Te Whāriki 2017.

The recently-developed appraisal and attestation processes and practices need to be further developed to clearly reflect Education Council requirements and new service processes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Whales Tales Preschool Ltd completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision, sleep procedures, accidents, medication, hygiene, excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Whales Tales Preschool Ltd will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

7 September 2018

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

21 children, including up to 5 aged under 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 10 : Girls 14

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

7 September 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

November 2013

Supplementary Review

June 2011

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

  • Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.