The DEN: Discover Education in Nature

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

Cato Road, Tamatea, Napier

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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

Not meeting

Governance, management and administration


At the time of the review, ERO identified non-compliance with regulatory standards that must be addressed.


The DEN: Discover Education in Nature is a privately owned service that opened in December 2018. The philosophy promotes discovery education through nature and active movement for learning. Two directors and a centre manager undertake day-to-day management of the service. This is its first ERO review.

Summary of Review Findings

Children’s preferences are respected and they are involved in decisions about their learning. The curriculum responds to them as competent and confident learners. The service’s philosophy guides operation and the play space supports learning experiences to reflect this.

Parents take opportunities to contribute to the development of the service’s operational documents and decision making around their children’s learning.

Staff have recently taken steps to improve emergency management. They must ensure that relevant emergency drills are carried out with children at least every three months.

Actions for Compliance

ERO found areas of non-compliance in the service relating to:

  • identifying relevant emergency drills and carrying these out on an at least three-monthly basis.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS8]

Since the onsite visit the service has provided ERO with evidence that shows it has addressed the following non-compliances:

  • securing of heavy equipment that could fall or topple
  • completing a review of the written emergency plan at least annually.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS6, HS7]

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends the Ministry follows up with the service provider to ensure that non-compliances identified in this report are addressed promptly.

Next ERO Review

The next ERO review of The DEN: Discover Education in Nature will be in consultation with the Ministry of Education.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region | Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

18 November 2020

Information About the Service

Early Childhood Service Name

The DEN: Discover Education in Nature

Profile Number



Tamatea, Napier

Service type

Education and care service

Number licensed for

65 children aged over 2.

Percentage of qualified teachers


Service roll


Gender composition

Male 56, Female 30.

Ethnic composition

Māori 6, NZ European/Pākehā 63, Other European 5, Other Ethnic Groups 12.

Review team on site

September 2020

Date of this report

18 November 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

First ERO review of the service.

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.