Footsteps Christian Community Preschool - 09/10/2019

1 Evaluation of Footsteps Christian Community Preschool

How well placed is Footsteps Christian Community Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Footsteps Christian Community Preschool is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Footsteps Christian Community Preschool is a special character Christian preschool in Papanui, Christchurch. It is licensed to provide all-day care for up to 46 children aged over two years. The centre is owned by the South New Zealand Seventh Day Adventist Education Trust (2004) which provides governance and support for the centre to uphold its special character.

The centre is purpose-built and has two learning spaces. Most children transition to the adjacent Christchurch Adventist School. The centre's community is ethnically diverse.

All teachers are qualified early childhood teachers. Minimal staffing change has provided continuity of teaching at the centre. Since the June 2016 ERO review, there have been several changes at governance and leadership level. New trustees, a head teacher and a senior teacher have been appointed.

The centre's philosophy promotes a faith-based approach to learning and emphasises physical wellbeing, curiosity, social competence, literacy and numeracy. The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are also evident in the centre's philosophy.

The centre has made progress in assessment, professional learning, and curriculum leadership, which were identified as areas for further development in the 2016 ERO report. Recent centre-wide professional learning with an external provider, and subsequent follow up and teacher support by the centre's curriculum leader, have focused on planning, assessment and evaluation.

The Review Findings

Children learn in a calm, friendly, inclusive environment where a sense of belonging and Christian faith are fostered. Interactions between teachers and children are purposeful and seek to engage children. Staff also seek to engage parents in their children's learning.

Child-led learning is valued and children have a voice and choice in activities. Transitions into the centre and to school are individualised and responsive. Transition practices are currently the subject of a teacher inquiry as the centre seeks to ensure they respond effectively to the needs of all children.

The curriculum responds well to the needs and interests of children. Learning is made visible for parents on effective wall displays and in learning stories. Wall displays are also referred to by teachers to guide planning and everyday practices, and support continuity of teaching and learning. The centre is well resourced and good use is made of available indoor and outdoor spaces. Inviting and interesting resources are provided for children to promote curiosity and extend learning.

Language, culture and identity are respected and valued in daily routines. Children with specific language and learning needs are very well supported. Bicultural practices are evident. Waiata is an integral part of the curriculum and te reo Māori is regularly used by teachers and children. Aspects of te ao Māori are evident in the curriculum and in planning.

The trust and centre leaders work closely together to ensure that the special character of the centre is promoted and that a localised curriculum is in place. The philosophy was collaboratively developed with external professional development support and nine priorities for children's learning were identified. The philosophy and priorities appropriately guide improvement and direction for the centre.

The strengths and skills of leaders and teachers are suitably utilised and nurtured. Meaningful professional learning opportunities are linked to the centre's strategic goals, children's needs and the findings of internal evaluations. Teacher inquiry for improvement is a feature of centre professional practice.

Key Next Steps

Leaders need to ensure that the centre's existing practices for assessment, planning and evaluation of learning are sustained by implementing a quality assurance process. This process should monitor:

  • the inclusion and quality of bicultural perspectives in the documentation of children's learning
  • evidence of response to language, culture and identity in learning stories, including parent and child voice, as appropriate.

Leaders should work with the centre's trustees to clarify expectations for reporting to the Trust in relation to strategic goals and outcomes for children.

Leaders and the Trust need to strengthen the appraisal process to ensure that it meets Teaching Council expectations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Footsteps Christian Community Preschool 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

9 October 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

46 children aged over two years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 38, Boys 30

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

9 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

Education Review

February 2013

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.