Little Acorns Childcare Ltd

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

46A Bennett Street, Cloverlea, Palmerston North

View on map

1 Evaluation of Little Acorns Childcare Ltd

How well placed is Little Acorns Childcare Ltd 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.


Little Acorns Childcare Centre Ltd is a privately owned centre on the outskirts of Palmerston North. It caters for 40 children, including 12 aged up to two years. Separate areas are organised for over two-year-olds, and infants and toddlers. Of the 40 children enrolled, 13 identify as Māori. The centre serves a wide area of the community.

The manager has responsibility for daily operation. She provides professional guidance for teachers and is supported by two leaders. Five teachers have an early childhood qualification. Two staff are primary trained. Five teachers have full certification and one is provisionally certificated.

The philosophy beliefs and values are built on the core principles of 'relationships, communication and responsibilities'.

This is the first report for this service.

The Review Findings

The manager and teachers work collaboratively to provide a welcoming, inclusive learning environment for children and families. Staff promote practices that are responsive to family aspirations for their child.

Children enthusiastically engage in a range of child-initiated, play-based experiences for the majority of their time at the centre. Teachers select and introduce a variety of learning opportunities as part of group programme planning. E-profiles record learners’ participation and enjoyment in activities of choice. Observations of children in everyday activities build a picture of what they know, understand, feel and can do.

Infants are encouraged to become active communicators and explorers. Programme provision for these very young learners focuses on nurturing their wellbeing through responsive caregiving. Teachers are attuned to children's non-verbal cues. Adults play and work alongside children and support their developing skills.

Teachers consider and further their understanding of ways to reflect and respond to Māori learners. Te reo is heard throughout the daily programmes. A staff member skilfully models and provides colleagues with valuable support in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. The manager and teachers continue to introduce ways to promote te ao Māori in a local, place-based context.

Transitions into the centre are flexible and responsive to the needs of individual children and families. Staff continue to consider processes for children as they move to school. Teachers should further reflect on ways to share information, so that children’s confidence and capability at the centre transfers to the new entrant classrooms.

The manager is collaborative and improvement focused. She has, along with the owner, a clear vision for the centre that is well communicated. The teaching team is developing a culture, based on mutual respect and skills that encourages children’s learning.

Practices to support continuing improvement and evaluate progress are developing. Professional development has helped the manager to support her team to establish a shared understanding of effective practice. Strategic planning is developing. Further consideration should be given to strengthening goals and success criteria that more closely align to the service's annual plan as a next step. Appraisal supports teachers to develop deliberate strategies for working towards goals and relevant training. The process has the potential to support teachers' professional growth and positive outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The manager and ERO agree that key next steps are to continue to:

  • strengthen internal evaluation by refining and developing strategic planning and appraisal

  • consider further ways of introducing culturally responsive practices for Māori and Pacific learners.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Acorns Childcare Ltd 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 Little Acorns Childcare Ltd will be in three years.

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

7 December 2018

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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 20, Boys 20

Ethnic composition



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

November 2018

Date of this report

7 December 2018

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.