Creative Corner ERO Report 2014

We are thrilled with the ERO review in 2014. Read the review findings...



Creative Corner Early Learning Centre is a long-established community-based service. It provides full-day early childhood education and care for up to 50 children from birth to school age. The children are cared for in two rooms, the Kaka room for infants and toddlers and the Pukeko room for young children. Almost all the staff are qualified teachers.

In February 2014 the Centre moved into a new purpose-built facility on the grounds of the Timaru Girls' High School. This move was very carefully managed, resulting in a smooth transition for children and their families.

Children play and learn in spacious well resourced areas. The outdoor area is under development and there has been a deliberate decision to include children’s ideas in how it will be designed.

The strengths identified in the June 2010 ERO report are still evident. There has been good progress in addressing the recommendations of that report, particularly in improving the quality of teacher interactions for learning.

The Review Findings

A strength of this centre is the way in which children take part in meaningful learning experiences. Children have strong friendships. They play purposefully in groups, both independently and supported by teachers. Teachers are responsive to individual children. They have genuine conversations with children that encourage them to think more deeply and help them to develop their play ideas. Teachers make good use of information about children provided by their parents when planning the programmes.

The Centre is a close knit community where children and their families enjoy positive and respectful relationships with their teachers. Parents are welcome to be involved in, for example, parent committee and sub-committee groups and family events and celebrations. Parents are comfortable spending time in the centre.

The philosophy of the Centre aims for children to be confident, with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful learners. This was strongly evident in the programme.

ERO observed children confident and independent in their decision making and their routines, expressing themselves in creative ways, and enjoying a range of early literacy experiences. The programme is planned around the strands and principles of the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki.

The teachers provide respectful and effective positive guidance for children. They help them work through challenges and support them between activities and routines.

The Centre has a rich learning environment which is thoughtfully planned with the centre’s philosophy in mind. It offers active and quiet spaces and children can make choices about where they will play. There is a well thought out range of equipment that caters for the interests and abilities of different children. The teachers provide resources to excite and delight children.

Infants and toddlers

The teachers who work with infants and toddlers have been chosen for their specific expertise and passion for working with this age group. Teachers have caring and supportive relationships with infants and toddlers. This is shown through close contact, touching, gentle care, smiles, nurturing and the calm, slow pace of their work. Teachers talk with infants and toddlers about what is going to happen next and give them time to understand and accept what is being done. They recognise and respond to infants’ and toddlers’ non-verbal communication.

Teachers work closely with the children’s parents to find out about their individual needs. Care and effort is put into infants’ transition into the centre and building parents’ and children’s sense of belonging and wellbeing. When children with diverse needs attend the centre the teachers adapt the programme to ensure they are fully included.

Aspects of the programme that support infants’ and toddlers’ communication and exploration skills include:

  • Open-ended resources that encourage exploration and communication.
  • Specific planning for under one year olds and over one year olds.
  • Suitable routines that support children’s numeracy learning and increasing self help.
  • Teachers deliberately supporting children to build relationships with one another.

The infants and toddlers outdoor play area has been planned to allow them to move freely to the older children’s play area, then return to the familiarity of the under two areas when they choose. The teachers extend invitations for older children and siblings to join the younger group when it is suitable for them to visit.

Teachers work very well together as a team to support each child’s learning and wellbeing. Infants and toddlers regularly hear te reo Māori and waiata. A teacher with strengths in te reo and tikanga Māori supports other teachers’ skills.

Governance and management

A clear vision for the Centre guides all aspects of governance and management. The governance committee has developed a valuable strategic plan with a strong focus on outcomes for children. The strategic plan is supported by a useful action plan and this is monitored by a process of self review. The manager reports to the committee at each meeting the progress towards meeting the goals of the strategic plan. The committee and manager have a strong working relationship and a deep commitment to partnership with families and seeking parents’ views.

The committee members have had ongoing training in roles as governors and as a result the committee, manager, and staff are clear about their different roles. The committee has engaged in succession planning to replace outgoing members and to maintain experienced staff in the Centre. It also has a strong commitment to appointing staff with relevant experience and expertise. Staff are consulted and valued, and the new building has been thoughtfully designed to provide for their professional needs.

The manager provides strong leadership for the staff. She encourages all teachers to contribute their interests and expertise to the running of the programme. Together they focus on improving the quality of education and care for children through ongoing self review. Leaders have identified that bicultural practice in the centre is work in progress, and use of te reo Māori is a topic at each staff meeting. The leaders agreed it would be useful to develop an action plan to further develop bicultural practices. They also identified that they need to continue to develop and refine aspects of the way they plan and assess children’s learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Creative Corner Early Learning Centre 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.