Early Years Redwood - 19/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Early Years Redwood

How well placed is Early Years Redwood 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.


The all-day service caters for up to 85 children from birth to five years of age, including up to 21 under two year olds. Of the current roll of 96, 11 children identify as Māori and eight as Pacific. Families attending the centre come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds.

The site's three learning spaces are allocated to infants, toddlers and preschool children. Day-to-day operation of the centre is the responsibility of the centre manager, who supports three head teachers. Since the October 2014 ERO report there have been several leadership changes.

The previous ERO report identified areas requiring improvement. These included: assessment, planning and evaluation; transition to school processes; the bicultural programme; strategies for promoting Māori and Pacific success; and appraisal. Progress is evident.

Early Years Redwood is owned and operated by BestStart Educare Ltd. BestStart (previously known as Kidicorp Ltd) is a large national organisation that owns early childhood services across New Zealand.

This review was part of a cluster of four in BestStart Educare Ltd.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy interactions with warm and responsive teachers. Staff work peacefully alongside groups and individuals, supporting them in their play. Children prepare vegetables from the centre's garden, and have regular opportunities to try a wide range of cultural foods. Independence, self-help skills and social competence are fostered through effective teaching strategies.

Infants and toddlers benefit from a sensitive and unhurried approach. Teachers pay close attention to children's individual rhythms and forms of communication. There is a clear focus on making the learning environment warm and inviting to children under two and their families.

A well-considered process is in place for transitions within the centre. Children and their parents are well supported by positive and attentive teachers.

A range of useful strategies are in place to support children's successful transition from the centre to school. Relationships with a number of local schools have been established, and teachers facilitate regular group excursions to several schools.

Children with diverse needs are well supported. Teachers liaise with whānau and, where appropriate, external agencies to enact a credit-based planned programme.

In response to ERO's previous report, there is now consistency of assessment, planning and evaluation across the centre. Teachers notice and respond to children's interests. However, significant strengthening in this area is required. A robust planning process for individual children should be implemented, involving:

  • specific, planned teaching strategies, based on past assessment and evaluation
  • clear links between teaching strategies and parent aspirations, as well as children's cultures, languages and identities.

Assessment documentation should show how plans and strategies have been enacted to support children's progress.

Leaders are focused on improving the quality of education and care for children through ongoing systematic self review. ERO affirms the centre's recent shift to an internal evaluation framework that is more focused on measuring the impact of changes.

The centre philosophy is about to be reviewed. Leaders and ERO agree that it will be useful to use this review to align the philosophy with intended outcomes for children, in consultation with families.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are promoted in the centre. Resources, displays and artefacts make te ao Māori visible. Some teachers use te reo Māori in their everyday interactions. Increasing the use and consistency of te reo Māori throughout the teaching team would support all children to experience the dual heritage of their Aotearoa New Zealand context.

There has been an ongoing focus on developing relationships with whānau Māori and Pacific communities. These relationships should now be strengthened to lead to purposeful learning partnerships, with targeted planning for these children, drawing on cultural knowledge.

A clear framework guides the appraisal process. Formal observations of teacher practice are planned. Teachers and leaders are developing their practice through inquiry and knowledge-building to improve outcomes for children. BestStart provides opportunities to participate in a wide range of professional learning and development.

Professional services managers provide regular feedback, support and guidance about the curriculum in action. This clearly identifies strengths and areas for development. Roles and responsibilities of leaders and managers are clearly identified and well understood. A comprehensive policy framework, including procedures and systems, guides the operation of the centre. 

Key Next Steps

ERO and leaders agree that the key next steps are to:

  • strengthen individual children's assessment, planning and evaluation
  • establish clear, shared understandings of the centre philosophy in action
  • support teachers to actively use te reo Māori across the centre
  • continue establishing learning partnerships with whānau Māori and Pacific communities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Early Years Redwood 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 Early Years Redwood will be in three years. 

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

19 May 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 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

85 children, including up to 21 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 55, Boys 41

Ethnic composition

Cook Island
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

19 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2014

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.