Ashhurst Kindergarten - 09/02/2016

1 Evaluation of Ashhurst Kindergarten

How well placed is Ashhurst Kindergarten 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.


Ashhurst Kindergarten is one of 24 administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 40 children aged over two years. Of the 37 children enrolled, 10 are Māori. All five teachers are qualified and registered. The community is diverse.

The philosophy emphasises the importance of play, social and emotional wellbeing and relationships in promoting children’s learning. Teachers value the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the basis of the learning programme.

The October 2012 ERO review identified that planning for children’s learning and use of self review to guide improvement needed strengthening. Improved management support for implementation of the teacher appraisal process was also needed. Good progress is evident.

A governing board is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for the association. Day-to-day management of the association’s affairs is the responsibility of the general manager. The senior teacher provides professional leadership for teaching and learning. An operations manager supports kindergartens’ compliance, policy development and leadership. A management restructure has been undertaken since the previous ERO reviews.

This review is one of a cluster of five reviews of Ruahine Kindergartens.

The Review Findings

The kindergarten is suitably resourced to support children’s participation in a range of learning experiences. A developing focus on whanaungatanga, connecting as one people, is celebrated in the environment. The outdoor area provides children with good opportunities for physical challenge and investigation of natural materials and nature.

For much of the day children have free choice about the level and timing of their participation. They are cooperative and confident and well engaged in the opportunities provided. Teachers are working towards giving children increasing responsibility for directing their own learning and setting their own learning goals. It would be timely to review the programme in relation to support for these priorities and the reflection of agreed philosophical values in teaching and learning.

Teachers are responsive, positive and encouraging. They work together well to settle children and families and support engagement in learning. Some good strategies are used to encourage children’s ideas and perseverance in play.

The programme is responsive to individual children’s interests and needs. There is an emphasis on sustaining and improving social competence. Teachers are inclusive and show commitment to becoming more culturally responsive.

Literacy, mathematics, science and creativity are well integrated into the programme in the context of everyday experiences. Teachers are aware of the need to monitor aspects of the curriculum to ensure the needs of the increasing number of younger children are being met.

As a result of a comprehensive review, teachers have redefined their approach to planning for learning. There is now a stronger focus on individual children’s interests, strengths and needs. Planning includes reference to learning dispositions, goal setting, and intentional teaching strategies.

Children show strong ownership of their portfolios. Best examples illustrate their progress over time, revisiting of earlier interests and parents’ input. An online programme has the potential to improve teachers and whānau/parents’ communication about children’s learning programmes, progress and achievements.

An individualised and flexible approach supports children and their families’ smooth transition into the kindergarten. The head teacher agrees she needs to continue to focus on developing relationships with local primary schools to strengthen the transition process and sharing of information about children, school and early childhood programmes.

Teachers are reflective and regularly meet to share ideas about teaching and learning. The head teacher has implemented a comprehensive review process which results in improved outcomes for children. Further consideration should be given to strengthening the evaluative component to better inform decisions about next development steps.

The kindergarten’s annual plan outlines priorities for the year linked to the association’s strategic goals of having high quality staff, coordinated services, effective partnerships and operations. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality outcomes linked to agreed ‘wise practice’ should be a useful addition to the annual plan. This should enable more effective monitoring of progress in relation to learning, teaching and outcomes for children.

Some progress has been made in integrating a bicultural perspective into the programme. Association leaders agree, implementation of bicultural curriculum and promotion of success for Māori as Māori need further development. The recently revised Te Tiriti o Waitangi policy, the ‘Wise Practice’ document, and the establishment of enduring connections with mana whenua should support these aspects of practice.

The association provides effective governance and management support for this service. This includes:

  • constructive and improvement-focused support from the senior teacher
  • suitable quality assurance processes and guidelines linked to compliance with regulations and association expectations
  • a variety of operational and administrative support
  • effective and targeted support for teacher and leadership development through appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities.

Developing and implementing appraisal for the senior teacher and operations manager is a priority.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree, teachers should be supported to continue to develop:

  • and embed their approach to planning for learning
  • understanding and use of internal evaluation
  • the bicultural curriculum and promotion of success for Māori as Māori.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Ashhurst Kindergarten 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 Ashhurst Kindergarten will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 February 2016

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

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 19, Girls 18

Ethnic composition







Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2015

Date of this report

9 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012


Education Review

May 2009


Education Review

December 2006

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.