YMCA Early Learning Centre Manurewa - 11/10/2013

1 Evaluation of YMCA Early Learning Centre Manurewa

How well placed is YMCA Early Learning Centre Manurewa 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.


YMCA Early Learning Centre Manurewa is a new service providing full day care and education for children from two years old to school age in purpose-built premises. The centre has developed a close relationship with the adjacent Manurewa West School, and strategies to ease children's transition to school have become a feature of the service.  Centre families reflect the largely Māori and Pacific local community.

The centre has been operating since May 2012. While staffing has largely remained stable, two teachers have recently been appointed to the roles of centre manager and head teacher. As neither are fully registered teachers, they are still developing strategies for the leadership and operation of the centre. The service maintains a good adult to child ratio.

The YMCA administers the centre in conjunction with four others in the Auckland-Hamilton region, providing shared professional development opportunities for teachers, management meetings and administrative documentation, systems and policies. The YMCA group manager for early childhood education, who is also newly appointed, visits the centre often and is developing a range of systems and documents to support staff in their centre roles.

The centre philosophy, which is currently under review, is focused on providing an inclusive environment where families and whānau are welcomed and involved.  Respect for family languages, cultures and identity are also clear features of the philosophy. This is the first ERO review of the centre.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and happy in the centre. They benefit from positive relationships with teachers and tuakana/teina opportunities to learn with and alongside their peers. Children confidently access resources and often persist at tasks independently or in collaboration with friends. They particularly enjoy imaginative and creative play and enthusiastically participate in music and movement activities. In this environment children show a sense of wellbeing and experience smooth transitions to school.

Teachers consistently encourage children to explore resources and engage in activities. Some teachers are especially skilful in responding to emotional needs and supporting children's sense of belonging in the centre. Teachers share friendly conversations with children and provide them with opportunities to develop early literacy and numeracy skills in the context of play. Teachers are now hoping to participate in professional development that will help them to extend children’s learning through projects and more complex activities.

Teachers work collaboratively to plan programmes that reflect children's emerging interests.  Recently they have started to reflect on children's engagement in the programme and to identify activities and resources that will support continuing interests. Teachers evaluate the programme each month and these reviews contribute to new programme directions. Assessment portfolios provide good information about children's involvement in the programme. Teachers are making good progress in analysing learning particularly in relation to children's learning dispositions. They are also beginning to document and evaluate strategies to support children's transition to school, including weekly classroom visits.

Parents and families are welcomed in to the centre. They are well informed about centre activities and invited to share information about their children. Parents are encouraged to be involved in their child’s learning, share whakapapa and express their aspirations. They value the relationships their children share with teachers, the learning opportunities provided and the close links the centre has with the school. Teachers respect and value the cultural diversity of their community and are committed to strengthening learning partnerships with families.

The new YMCA group manager (early childhood) is providing sound guidance for the development of centre systems. She recognises the need for focused support in the centre where all qualified teachers have yet to become fully registered. As a result she is strengthening the appraisal process and has appointed an external tutor to support the registration process for all teachers.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and ERO agree that the next steps for centre development should include:

  • ongoing development of self-review processes to further align policies and systems to meet early childhood needs and to incorporate all aspects of centre operations
  • prioritising the development and implementation of teachers’ appraisals
  • modifying programme planning and assessment  to emphasise the teachers’ role in children's learning
  • increasing the focus on interactions with children to enhance their language development and communication skills
  • improving the extent to which tikanga and te reo Māori are integrated throughout centre practices. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of YMCA Early Learning Centre Manurewa 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 YMCA Early Learning Centre Manurewa will be in three years. 

Dale Bailey
National Manager Review Services
Northern Region

11 October 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 


Manurewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

35 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      25
Girls       23

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Cook Island Māori


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

11 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports


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.