City Limits Early Learning Centre Ltd

Education institution number:
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Not Applicable
Total roll:

729 Grey Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton

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ERO’s Akanuku | Assurance Review reports provide information about whether a service meets and maintains regulatory standards. Further information about Akanuku | Assurance Reviews is included at the end of this report.

ERO’s Judgement

Regulatory standards

ERO’s judgement



Premises and facilities


Health and safety


Governance, management, and administration


At the time of the review, ERO found the service was taking reasonable steps to meet regulatory standards.


City Limits Early Learning Centre Ltd is a privately owned service. It caters for children up to school age in two separate age-based areas. The centre manager guides a diverse teaching team of 14 qualified and unqualified teachers. The centre returned to a full license in December 2020.

Summary of Review Findings

Children experience positive and meaningful interactions with the teachers providing education and care. Their choices are respected, and they are involved in decisions about their learning. The teaching team, with its diverse cultural base, provides children with the opportunity to learn about and respect other cultures, as well as the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua. The service’s curriculum is language rich and supports the development of social competence. Teachers take steps to respect and acknowledge parents’ aspirations for their child. External agencies provide information and guidance to support an inclusive environment. The service is meeting all regulatory standards.

Key Next Steps

Next steps include:

  • strengthening the extent to which information documented about all children’s learning reflects their identities, languages, and cultures
  • continuing to explore ways to involve whānau Māori in the design and implementation of the service’s local curriculum.

Next ERO Review

The next ERO review is likely to be an Akarangi | Quality Evaluation.

Shelley Booysen
Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)
Central Region | Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

10 August 2021 

Information About the Service

Early Childhood Service Name

City Limits Early Learning Centre Ltd

Profile Number



Hamilton Central, Hamilton

Service type

Education and care service

Number licensed for

52 children, including up to 18 aged under 2.

Percentage of qualified teachers


Service roll


Ethnic composition

Māori 12, NZ European/Pākehā 14, Indian 8, Pacific 6, Other ethnic groups 9.

Review team on site

July 2021

Date of this report

10 August 2021

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, October 2016; Education Review, October 2013.

General Information about Assurance Reviews

All services are licensed under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. The legal requirements for early childhood services also include the Licensing Criteria for Education and Care Services 2008.

Services must meet the standards in the regulations and the requirements of the licensing criteria to gain and maintain a licence to operate.

ERO undertakes an Akanuku | Assurance Review process in any centre-based service:

  • having its first ERO review – including if it is part of a governing organisation
  • previously identified as ‘not well placed’ or ‘requiring further development’
  • that has moved from a provisional to a full licence
  • that have been re-licenced due to a change of ownership
  • where an Akanuku | Assurance Review process is determined to be appropriate.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

All early childhood services are required to promote children’s health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements. Before the review, the staff and management of a service 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.

As part of an Akanuku | Assurance Review ERO assesses whether the regulated standards are being met. In particular, ERO looks at a 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 certification; ratios)
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

As part of an Akanuku | Assurance Review ERO also gathers and records evidence through:

  • discussions with those involved in the service
  • consideration of relevant documentation, including the implementation of health and safety systems
  • observations of the environment/premises, curriculum implementation and teaching practice.

1 Evaluation of City Limits Childcare

How well placed is City Limits Childcare 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.


City Limits Childcare is a privately owned early childhood service providing all day care for children from birth to school age in three separate, age-based areas. The centre is located near the Hamilton central business district and is licensed for 52 children including 18 under two. There are 41 children currently enrolled, including nine Māori and several children from other nationalities. Teachers are from a range of cultural backgrounds. The centre owner maintains a commitment to employing qualified teachers.

Since the 2013 ERO report there have been significant changes in teaching staff. A centre manager was employed in 2014 for a short time, before her departure in 2015. The centre owner and teachers participated in Ministry of Education professional development related to self review and appraisal during 2015. There has been good progress in implementing self review in each of the age-based learning areas. However little progress has been made with implementing a robust appraisal system for all staff. As identified in previous ERO reports, there continues to be a need for the service to improve the quality of strategic planning and quality assurance of centre operations. The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The new teaching team recently reviewed the centre philosophy, which aims to value and respect the diversity of ethnicity, culture and gender of all children. They place priority on recognising Māori as the first people of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and fostering nurturing relationships amongst tamariki, teachers, families and whānau.

The Review Findings

Children up to two years old learn and play in a welcoming, safe and peaceful environment. They make choices from a wide variety of good quality equipment that reflects a home-like, real-world environment. Babies are settled and secure, and benefit from the calm and unhurried practice of teachers. Families expressed appreciation for the strong sense of wellbeing and belonging their children experience.

Children over two years of age have responded positively to a newly developed and separate learning area with two designated teachers. They are confident, cheerful explorers, express their opinions, and make choices about their learning alongside their peers. There are times during the day when they can join older children for play. This promotes positive transitions across the centre. Teachers are supportive and kind as they interact with children. It is important to ensure that there are agreed expectations for teachers new to this area to implement these positive strategies. In addition, a review of routines is necessary to increase choice for children and promote sustained periods of play.

Older children participate in a varied and well-planned, indoor programme. They explore interesting rooms in home-like settings. Indoor learning areas are vibrant with plentiful, age-appropriate equipment and materials for children to choose from. Teachers have carefully planned and implemented learning experiences that are integrated with children's creativity, follow their interests and make use of research. They skilfully integrate early concepts of mathematics, literacy, and natural science into play experiences. Teachers should ensure that these rich learning experiences are also available to children as they work in the outdoor environment. Currently outdoor equipment and activities are limited. Attention to this should add physical challenge, engagement and further complexity to older children's experiences.

Children and their families enjoy opportunities to take trips into the wider environment to places of learning linked to current interests. These trips and excursions are well supported by families, and contribute to the positive relationships built over time amongst families and the service. Celebrations of success and cultural festivals are regular events for families and children to enjoy. A feature of the older children's programme is the value placed on providing healthy, home-cooked meals in a café-like setting. This is enhancing children's social skills and promoting their health and wellbeing.

Teachers manage assessment and planning well. They meet regularly to share professional conversations and plan for children's learning both individually and as groups. Informative displays, individual portfolio books and attractive centre albums show the analysis of learning. These have the potential to enable children and families to share and revisit learning together. It is now important to ensure these albums are consistently available and displayed for families to further enhance the learning partnerships.

Māori children benefit from teachers using te reo Māori in meaningful contexts. Tikanga Māori is respectfully implemented through karakia kai, sharing waiata and learning about Papatūānuku. Centre displays and equipment reflect the value placed on Te Ao Māori. This is contributing to success for Māori children and their whānau and enhancing the knowledge of Māori cultural practices for all children in the centre. Teachers should now consider making greater use of the local community to visit places of significance to Tainui and further explore the unique history of the area.

Children and families from diverse cultures are warmly welcomed and many are greeted in their own languages by teachers. They celebrate through sharing language, stories, music, and their ethnic foods and customs.

Teachers are working collegially to build the new team and embed the learning from recent professional development. Positive practices observed during the review were:

  • positive, respectful and affirming relationships amongst teachers, staff, children and families

  • rich-learning conversations with children that build their oral literacy skills

  • teachers' commitment to building their own confidence to implement culturally responsive practices that promote success for Māori

  • multicultural perspectives celebrated and embraced in the centre programme

  • the combined knowledge and experience of the team focused on positive outcomes for families and children.

Teachers now need to develop clear and shared understandings about implementing a curriculum that promotes the ongoing flow of learning for children as they transition through the age-based areas.

The centre owner is respected by families, many of whom have remained with the service over a long period of time. She values teachers participating in professional learning and makes time for them to explore their interests and trial new ideas.

Key Next Steps

Urgent attention now needs to be given to strengthening professional leadership of learning across the service. This should include:

  • developing and documenting a strategic plan

  • implementing self-review systems and processes aligned to the strategic direction

  • ensuring robust appraisal systems and processes are in place for all staff

  • developing, documenting and implementing clear roles, responsibilities and expectations for leadership across the service.


ERO has requested an action plan from the governing authority that shows how the priorities for improvement identified in this and previous ERO reports will be addressed. ERO will request progress updates against the plan.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education considers providing support for the service for strategic planning, self review and personnel management, including leadership.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of City Limits Childcare 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.

ERO identified an area of non-compliance. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following area:

The service provider must ensure that there is a system of regular appraisal that meets the expectations of the New Zealand Education Council.[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of City Limits Childcare will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

12 October 2016

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


Claudelands, Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

52 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23 Girls 18

Ethnic composition






Cook Island













Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

12 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s) 

Education Review

(First under a merged licence)

October 2013

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.