Active Explorers Masterton - 11/01/2019

1 Evaluation of Active Explorers Masterton

How well placed is Active Explorers Masterton 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.


Active Explorers is a purpose-built education and care service in Masterton, operated by Evolve Education Group. The centre is licensed for 80 children, including 28 up to the age of two years. Full time education and care is provided across three specifically designed teaching spaces.

Evolve Education Group’s governance guidelines, systems and processes provide a framework for centre operation. An area manager provides professional support and guidance to teachers and leaders. The centre manager has overall responsibility for day-to-day operation. Three team leaders support teachers in their roles and have oversight of the curriculum.

The October 2015 ERO report identified areas requiring further improvement. Good progress has been made in revising the centre’s philosophy, strengthening assessment, planning and evaluation practices, targeting teacher professional development (PLD) and defining success for Māori and Pacific learners.

The centre is a member of the Masterton (Whakaoriori) Kāhui Ako.

The Review Findings

Children play cooperatively and creatively with their peers. Opportunities to initiate, choose and extend activities enable them to sustain and add complexity to their learning. Empowering children to lead their learning, develop social competencies and friendship skills is a focus of centre planning and practice. Teachers are responsive to individual children’s interests and discoveries. Intentionally weaving these throughout the curriculum engages children and gives an authentic context to learning.

Infants and toddlers experience a quiet and calm environment that supports their wellbeing. Teachers are responsive, nurturing and respectful of their preferences. They recognise routines as learning opportunities and communicate meaningfully during care moments.

Teachers encourage families to contribute to their child’s learning journey by seeking their aspirations and perspectives. Useful information about cultural and home contexts is gathered. This contributes to strengthening a child's sense of belonging and building positive relationships.

Children with additional needs are well supported and external agencies and support are accessed as appropriate, in consultation with parents.

Assessment documentation is thoughtfully written and captures children’s interests, discoveries and progress. Prior knowledge is linked strongly to new understandings and opportunities are suggested to extend learning further. A key next step for teachers is to clearly show, through assessment documentation, how they have been intentional with their planning and how this has improved learning outcomes for children.

Te ao Māori experiences are offered within the curriculum. There is a considered approach to building teachers' bicultural knowledge. Purposeful improvements in this area have been well supported by iwi. Continuing to build partnerships with whānau to promote the learning success of Māori and Pacific children should continue be a priority.

Transitions into, through and onto school are thoughtfully planned. Teachers have already developed useful relationships with some local schools. Membership of the Whakaoriori Kāhui Ako is supporting transitions well.

A comprehensive review of the philosophy is well underway, supported by ongoing consultation with whānau, kaiako, tamariki and iwi. Key aspects to capture are the centre's special, unique features and its valued learning outcomes, underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Leaders and teachers are improvement focused and regularly reflect on aspects of practice. A next step is to build teachers' understanding of evaluation and how it should be used to judge the effectiveness of practice and outcomes for children.

A well-considered appraisal process is in place. Teachers challenge themselves to continually improve their practice through strategic goal-setting, inquiry and professional learning.

The teaching team is well supported by Evolve Group Managers to grow their teaching and leadership practices.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers agree next steps for ongoing improvement should include:

  • continuing to shape a philosophy that includes the centre’s valued outcomes

  • building teachers' knowledge of internal evaluation

  • strengthening partnerships with whānau to promote the learning success of Māori and Pacific children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Active Explorers Masterton 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 Active Explorers Masterton will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Southern Region

11 January 2019

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 28 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 64, Girls 38

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

11 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

Education Review

August 2012

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.