The Fire Station

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

2 Waipani Road, Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland

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1 Evaluation of Kid Country Te Atatu Ltd T/A The Fire Station

How well placed is Kid Country Te Atatu Ltd T/A The Fire Station 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.


Kid Country Te Atatu Ltd, trading as The Fire Station, opened in November 2014. The centre's building has been modified from a fully functioning fire station and is a feature of the Te Atatu Peninsula community.

The Fire Station has four separate rooms to cater for infants, toddlers, and children between the ages of three and five years of age. The centre offers the choice of a long-day preschool programme or a shorter length kindergarten programme for older children. These options are provided in response to parent needs.

The owners have experience in early childhood education. They have employed a manager to set up operational systems and to ensure that the centre was appropriately staffed and resourced. The manager is responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre. A head teacher in each room takes responsibility for the staff and learning programmes. All teachers are registered and several have significant experience in leading early childhood programmes.

The Review Findings

Respectful relationships, fun and learning through play, are values that underpin practices in the curriculum. The learning programme responds to the interests and strengths of all children, especially those with special learning needs and capabilities. Children's learning is reinforced through teachers' increasing professional knowledge about how children grow and learn. The curriculum is adapted in response to teachers' knowledge about each child. Teachers interact with children to extend and challenge their thinking.

Te reo and tikanga Māori are becoming increasingly understood and embedded in practice. Children use Māori words confidently in conversations. Teachers' refreshed understanding of te ao Māori perspectives is enhancing bicultural aspects of the curriculum, resourcing and displays in the learning environment. Teachers are keen to make connections with local iwi and with teachers in neighbouring centres to share and promote tikanga and cultural values and knowledge.

The staff develop positive relationships with families that create a sense of belonging and acknowledge of the cultural heritages and diverse backgrounds of all whānau. They support the aspirations that whānau have for their children. This partnership enhances children's capacity to engage in learning. Effective teaching strategies and practices contribute to positive learning outcomes for children and enrich children's sense of themselves as successful learners.

Teachers work collaboratively to plan and implement strategies that focus on programme improvement and on children's learning. Planning, assessment and evaluation processes support children's strengths, interests and capabilities. The strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are used each term to measure children's progress, learning and development.

Transitions are sensitively managed as children and their whānau transition into the centre, and on to school. A positive focus on children's dispositions for learning, helps them prepare for school. Teachers are currently focusing on increasing their connections with local schools.

The teachers are exploring ways of establishing a digital network, where teachers from local centres and schools can share their professional knowledge and practices. These connections could support smooth transitions for older children into school.

Teachers continue to evaluate and improve the learning environment to promote positive learning opportunities for children. Reflection on their practices leads teachers to question and modify their own approaches to teaching. Internal evaluation is robust and includes whānau contributions and involvement. It guides decision making and is improving the quality of the service.

The manager has established very good foundations for centre operations. She is systematically strengthening and sharing centre leadership and management so that she can focus on supporting new centres. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and policies guide practice.

Head teachers are taking on more shared responsibility to ensure the smooth operation of each component of the service. Staff are enthusiastic about changes and are working collaboratively to lift the quality of their collective work. Teachers who have relevant knowledge and expertise are strategically appointed into roles where their talents can be used to support children's learning. Ongoing staff development helps to reinforce teachers' professional knowledge and skills.

The manager promotes high quality teaching and learning. She continually builds and supports professional practice through training, teacher appraisals and mentoring. Parent and whānau aspirations are incorporated in annual plans.

Key Next Steps

Next steps for the centre are for all staff to continue:

  • using internal evaluation and strategic planning to sustain current good quality practices and support ongoing improvement

  • making bicultural practices more evident in the programme. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kid Country Te Atatu Ltd T/A The Fire Station 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 Kid Country Te Atatu Ltd T/A The Fire Station will be in three years.

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

15 June 2017 

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 


Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 24 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 58% Girls 42%

Ethnic composition





other Pacific

other Asian

other European










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

May 2017

Date of this report

15 June 2017

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.