Wild Things Ltd (Two) - 16/12/2014

1 Evaluation of Wild Things Ltd (Two)

How well placed is Wild Things Ltd (Two) 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.


Wild Things Ltd (Two) provides home-based care and education in educators’ homes in Dunedin. Educators care for up to four children at a time. This network is for new educators within the Wild Things organisation. The educators are supported by qualified visiting teachers who regularly visit and provide ongoing advice and ideas.

Wild Things provides home-based care and education to children aged from birth to school age. It operates four networks, with nannies and educators in Dunedin, Balclutha and Southland. Its philosophy emphasises the advantages of small group size and the flexibility of the home setting.

Since the June 2011 ERO report, there have been changes in the ownership and structure of the service. A new strategic plan was developed in 2013 which is guiding improvements in the service. Its goals address the recommendations of the 2011 ERO report. The service has many positive initiatives underway which are in the early stages of implementation.

This review was part of a cluster of four home-based network reviews in Wild Things Ltd.

The Review Findings

Children’s wellbeing and belonging is effectively fostered by being in a home setting with an educator. This is especially beneficial for infants and toddlers.

Children are provided with many opportunities for learning in the home and the wider community. Visiting teachers support educators to implement a curriculum that recognises the learning in everyday experiences in the home and local surroundings. This includes visits to the supermarket, the library and community playgroups. Educators have access to a range of resources, including knowledgeable visiting teachers to support children's learning. Many educators integrate opportunities for early literacy and mathematical learning into everyday experiences. These activities include measuring when baking, sorting objects, counting games, songs and rhymes.

Visiting teachers and the service provider have developed key documents with useful information and guidance for educators to notice, recognise and respond to children’s learning. They include:

  • specific information about infants, toddlers and young children
  • integrating Māori perspectives into the in-home curriculum
  • ideas for appropriate early literacy and mathematics
  • strategies and suggestions to manage challenging behaviour.

These documents are in the early stages of being used by educators. The documents would be improved by giving more specific guidance for educators about how to plan children’s next learning steps and show continuity of learning over time.

Visiting teachers effectively support educators by:

  • providing ongoing coaching and mentoring
  • affirming good practice
  • fostering collaborative relationships between nannies , educators, families and children.

Visiting teachers and educators build positive partnerships with families. This is evident in the way families:

  • play an important part in choosing the educator for their family
  • are regularly contacted by the visiting teachers
  • are invited to be part of relevant professional learning opportunities.

Parents' wishes for their children's learning are sought on enrolment. Visiting teachers, in partnership with educators, should continue to seek these in an ongoing way, and more clearly show how they make use of parents’ wishes when planning for children’s learning.

Visiting teachers work well together as a team. They are currently reviewing and clarifying their roles and responsibilities with the service provider. Visiting teachers agree they need to be more explicit about their role in supporting educators to plan, implement and evaluate programmes for children’s learning. They also need to provide more comprehensive assurance to the service provider that all operational requirements are met.

The service provider provides strategic leadership to the organisation. She and the visiting teachers are very committed to ongoing improvements. They have a useful framework to guide self review. Self review is developing and has enabled the team to improve some aspects of their practice. Current practice would be strengthened by using this process to evaluate how effectively service practices improve outcomes for children. Developing indicators of what good practice looks like should enable the service provider to better identify successes and areas for further investigation or improvement. The outcomes of review should be reported to parents, particularly if their views have been sought.

The service provider has sought external expertise to help her in her work. She has developed a vision for the service and a useful strategic plan in consultation with visiting teachers, educators and nannies. The vision and philosophy should be developed to better reflect the service priorities and commitment to Māori perspectives and the language, culture and identity of all children who attend.

A new appraisal system for visiting teachers and staff is being implemented. There are thorough processes for the recruitment and induction of educators and nannies and visiting teachers.

Key Next Steps

Many of the key next steps have been identified by the service leaders. ERO agrees the next steps are for service leaders to continue to:

  • consolidate, implement and monitor the effectiveness of the strategic plan
  • refine and further develop self-review processes
  • build Māori perspectives
  • implement the new appraisal system.

The service provider should continue to strengthen reporting systems within the organisation. This should give her stronger assurance that all requirements are being met.

Visiting teachers should:

  • document how they work collaboratively with nannies and educators to plan for children’s learning
  • more consistently demonstrate how parents’ wishes for their children’s learning are incorporated into programmes
  • support educators to respond to the language, culture and identity of all children who attend.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wild Things Ltd (Two) 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.

To improve current practice, the service provider should ensure:

  • all educators hold current first aid qualifications prior to working with children
  • health and safety checks are made and documented more systematically.

[Licensing Criteria for Home-based Education and Care Services 2008, HS22, HS11]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Wild Things Ltd (Two) will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

16 December 2014

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

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded

Standard funded

Gender composition

Boys 12, Girls 10

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Reported ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

16 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2011


Education Review

June 2008

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.