Otara Community Preschool - 14/08/2018

1 Evaluation of Otara Community Preschool

How well placed is Otara Community Preschool 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.


Otara Community Preschool is licensed for 100 children, including up to 15 under the age of two years. It operates in a new purpose-built building. The majority of children attending are from the local community and some have had siblings previously in the centre. The majority of children are Samoan or Tongan. There are smaller groups of Māori and children from other Pacific backgrounds.

The preschool is owned and governed by the MultiCultural Christian Education and Sporting Trust, a not-for-profit organisation. Trustees have a range of skills that can support the trust board's strategic direction, whānau and communities. A centre manager is contracted to oversee preschool operation and management. The centre manager provides detailed reports at trust meetings.

Day-to-day administration and curriculum management is delegated to the centre supervisor. She is well supported by an experienced administrator. Four of the teaching team, including the newly appointed supervisor, are registered teachers. Most of the staff are new to the centre since the 2015 ERO review.

The preschool's philosophy promotes a Christian ethos. It embraces bicultural and multicultural respect, positive partnerships with parents and a commitment to supporting children to become confident learners. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, guides the daily programme and teachers' practice.

The 2015 ERO report recommended that the Ministry of Education (MoE) reassess the preschool's licence. The report identified several areas for improvement in relation to governance and management, programme management, teachers' appraisals and strategic planning. Good progress has been made in these areas and improvements are resulting in increasingly effective performance. The preschool was placed back on full licence in 2017.

The Review Findings

Children are well settled in the centre and show a sense of belonging and wellbeing. They enjoy friendly relationships with teachers and their peers and are busily involved in the programme. Children are familiar with routines and have opportunities to develop appropriate self-help skills. Children show a growing awareness of the needs of others.

Affirmed by teachers’ incidental use of their first languages, children enthusiastically sing and participate during devotion time. Teachers have a culturally responsive and caring approach and promote an inclusive environment that fosters a strong sense of belonging in children.

Infants and toddlers have separate indoor and outdoor play areas and benefit from good periods of uninterrupted play and independent choice. Teachers are caring and attentive towards children.

Teachers encourage children to participate in the programme. They support children’s choices, praise their efforts and work confidently with groups. Teachers encourage children’s involvement in play, frequently sharing friendly interaction and humour. They share stories with children, initiate conversations about play, and foster interest in the resources and photos on display.

Children would now benefit from further learning challenges. As staff develop better strategies for working as a team and build on their well established relationships with children, they could develop higher expectations of children’s abilities and:

  • increase the complexity of interactions to further promote children’s thinking and exploration of ideas

  • increase children’s access to a greater variety of good quality, open-ended and challenging resources to more effectively support their learning

  • improve the ways they foster children’s interests and further involve parents in their children’s learning and show children's progress and continuity of learning.

Teachers are developing a shared approach to teaching and learning and have opportunities to participate in professional development. They are making good progress in planning programmes based on child interests and community events. They record participation in the programme in individual portfolios. Teachers are beginning to evaluate the quality of children’s learning.

Teachers are developing links with the community and getting to know families and children. Parents and whānau support the centre. They actively engage in centre events. Parents express appreciation for the quality of relationships and the cultural opportunities children enjoy.

The new building has considerably enhanced the learning environment, which is spacious and functional. Children have much better access to a significantly improved playground. There are useful spaces for teachers to complete administrative work and take breaks. Staff can now consider ways to make these areas more attractive and welcoming. The Trust plans to further develop the adventure playground. This will be an opportunity to work with teachers and parents to design a functional playground that promotes physical challenges, creativity and imaginative play.

Good progress has been made by trustees and the manager to improve governance and management. They have worked well to develop operational systems, policies and procedures that guide practice and help to improve outcomes for children. They should now review the human resource policy and procedures to more clearly reflect good employer practices.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree key next steps for teachers should include:

  • extending professional knowledge, education practices and skills to enhance quality teaching and learning for children up to the age of two years

  • ensuring that transition to school practices align with Te Whāriki

  • improving the use of te reo Māori and recognition of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand in the programme

  • strengthening internal evaluation processes so that it leads to ongoing improvements in all areas of centre operations.

To improve governance practices, trustees should:

  • use internal evaluation to inform future planning

  • develop clear roles and responsibilities for trustees based in the centre

  • strengthen strategic planning and align this with annual action plans

  • ensure that teacher appraisal processes meet the requirements of the Education Council.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Otara 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.

To improve current practice, managers should:

  • record and evaluate emergency drills to inform the annual review of the emergency plan

  • report the use of equity funding to parents and the community.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA3, HS7.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Otara Community Preschool will be in three years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

14 August 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


Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 24 Girls 14

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori
other Pacific


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

14 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Category 1 Education Review

Otober 2015

Category 2 Education Review

July 2013

Education Review

February 2010

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.