Wild Things Ltd (Two) - 25/01/2019

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) is one of three networks in the Wild Things early learning service providing home-based care and education for children aged from birth-to-six years. Educators care for up to six children at a time in their own homes, four of whom may be aged under five. They are supported by qualified visiting teachers who regularly visit and provide ongoing advice and ideas. All of the educators in this network are based in the Dunedin and South Otago region.

The vision of Wild Things Ltd is to be a 'community of learners (adults and children) that creates a culture of learning and belonging, in partnership with families'. The service is privately owned and operated. The service provider/owner is supported by a stable leadership team of visiting teachers and many long-serving educators based in Dunedin, Balclutha and Southland. Since ERO's 2014 review, the owner has strengthened and built capability of leadership in the organisation. The strategic plan of Wild Things Ltd effectively guides the decision making and direction of the service. The leaders have successfully addressed the recommendations of the 2014 ERO report.

This review was part of a cluster of three network reviews in Wild Things Ltd.

The Review Findings

Wild Things Ltd has a clear vision for what home-based care curriculum/kaupapa looks like. This vision is guiding decision making and setting the direction for the organisation. The owner has set high expectations at all levels. There is a deliberate focus on building collective capability in and across the organisation to grow a 'community of learners'.

Children learn in secure and caring home settings. Their wellbeing is greatly enhanced through the small group size where they are able to form close and enduring relationships with their educators. Children and their families have a strong sense of belonging to Wild Things. Respectful relationships with whānau/family are fostered. This enables educators to sensitively respond to parents' wishes, when planning, assessing and evaluating their children's learning.

Children's learning is enriched by a broad and responsive curriculum. They are provided with many opportunities for authentic, play-based and child-led learning in the home settings, playgroups and within the community. Educators are effectively supported to provide programmes that respond to children's interests, needs and strengths. Children have many opportunities for early literacy and mathematics learning in real-life contexts and benefit from purposeful readiness for school programmes.

The owner, visiting teachers and educators work very collaboratively and have set the 'culture' for working effectively with children, their whānau and families. Infants, toddlers and children with diverse learning needs are very well supported by their educators. The owner and visiting teachers are highly committed to valuing children's language, culture and identity. This work and strengthened bicultural practices have been identified as ongoing areas of focus for the organisation.

Educators are highly valued by the service owner and visiting teachers. Visiting teachers actively support and coach educators to be skilful in working with children and to deliver programmes that thoughtfully respond to the uniqueness of each individual. They:

  • provide ongoing, specific and useful mentoring for educators

  • role model best practice

  • encourage educators to gain qualifications

  • provide meaningful professional development

  • provide relevant and useful resources for assessment, planning and evaluation of children's learning.

The service provider provides strong strategic and collaborative leadership across the organisation. She and visiting teachers have clear roles and responsibilities. They have clear and high expectations of educators. These expectations are extended to parents at the time of enrolling their children. They have developed useful resources, tools and processes to ensure quality and consistency of practice across networks. This includes support given to educators through robust and useful reporting and visiting systems, and effectively embedding professional practice plans for educators. Wild Things Ltd (Two) has effective systems for implementing and monitoring health and safety in educators' homes.

The owner and visiting teachers are highly reflective and improvement focused. Sound and well-embedded systems ensure sustainability of the service's very effective systems and practice. They are building capability across the organisation through regular, purposeful, and relevant professional development. They have set priorities for continued improvement and aligned these to internal evaluation that results in shifts in practice and improved outcomes for children. A rigorous evaluation of the transition to school programme has resulted in a significant number of children remaining with the organisation until they start school.

Key Next Steps

The owner and leadership team have identified, and ERO's evaluation has confirmed, that the next steps are to:

  • make valued learning outcomes more explicit in key strategic documents and evaluate over time how well all children are progressing in relation to those valued outcomes

  • refine long and short-term planning by further developing action plans to support the key priorities and monitor and evaluate progress in relation to these priorities

  • continue to strengthen bicultural practices and explore ways to further support educators to respond to all children's language, culture and identity.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wild Things Ltd (Two) completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 Wild Things Ltd (Two) will be in four years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

25 January 2019

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 Home-based Education and Care Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Institution 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


Gender composition

Boys: 22

Girls: 14

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

25 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education 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 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.