Whales Tales Preschool Ltd - 22/11/2013

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

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


Whales Tales Preschool is a small preschool in Kaikoura. The preschool overlooks South Bay. The centre makes the most of the location to support the learning programme it offers to children and to help them make meaningful links to learning about the local environment.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the managers and staff have made some improvements to the outdoor area. They have placed a strong focus on the use of natural materials and linked these materials to the local environment.

The preschool has had significant changes in staff and the leadership of the centre since the 2011 ERO report. Many of these changes occurred in 2013.

The managers and staff provide a positive and inclusive learning environment. The longer opening hours reflect the centre’s commitment to supporting families in the community.

The governors and manager have a clear vision for the centre which is well reflected in their philosophy. They are working with new staff to ensure there is a common approach to teaching and learning and a shared understanding of the centre philosophy.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from friendly and positive relationships with their teachers. Children are confident with adults who actively respond to them and their interests and needs.

Staff make good use of their knowledge of the child’s parents and whānau to support learning. They encourage parents and whānau to be part of the life of the centre and foster a good sense of belonging.

Staff are supportive and affirming of children’s efforts with their work, independence and self management skills. They actively engage children in conversations that encourage their thinking and curiosity in the world around them. Visitors to the centre and purposeful visits into the community, including other early childhood centres and schools, enrich the learning programme offered to children.

Children’s imaginative, creative and physical play is well supported by the interesting outdoor environment. It provides opportunities for children to actively learn about the natural world.

Staff provide informative displays that celebrate children’s learning interests and encourage parents and whānau to be involved in their learning.

The language, culture and identity of each child and their family is recognised and highly valued by the manager and staff. A large percentage of children at the centre are Māori. They have every opportunity to succeed as Māori within a centre that has used expertise amongst the staff to encourage all staff to integrate te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into the programme. Staff use teaching practices in ways that are respectful and meaningful to the Māori culture. Many young children are confident to say their mihi and sing a wide range of waiata. All children have the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Children benefit from the centre’s increased focus on providing a multicultural perspective. They are able to see things that are significant to other families’ cultures within the centre environment, and to hear a range of languages used respectfully by staff.

Children with special education needs are well supported by staff and management. The manager and staff are very inclusive in the way they work with children, parents, whānau and specialist agencies.

Infants and toddlers are well cared for through the sensitive and nurturing interactions of staff. Familiar routines provide young children with a sense of security that supports their wellbeing.

The governors and manager of the centre are committed to doing the best they can for the children, parents and whānau. They have developed a robust business plan with clearly identified goals. The centre’s vision for children to be confident explorers, keen inquirers and creative thinkers was evident to ERO during the on-site stage of the review.

Key Next Steps

The managers have developed some useful management systems for planning and self review. The key next steps are to further improve these systems. This includes:

  • linking goals in staff appraisal to professional development and align to the strategic plan
  • making self review more evaluative and regular to help teachers inquire more deeply into teaching and learning practices
  • embedding new planning and evaluating the impact of teaching strategies on outcomes for children
  • consistently showing children’s learning progress in children’s books
  • setting goals for children's learning with parents and whānau, and making these clear in children's learning stories.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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.

The centre is currently licensed under the Education (Early Childhood) Regulations 1998. ERO recommended, and the manager agreed, that she should work with the Ministry of Education to clarify expectations for meeting the requirements for relicensing the centre under the Education (Early Childhood) Regulations 2008.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

22 November 2013

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 Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

21 children, including up to 5 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 12;

Girls 11

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Percentage of qualified teachers 0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

22 November 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Supplementary Review

June 2011


Education Review

September 2009


Education Review

October 2005

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.