Birchville Kindergarten - 30/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Birchville Kindergarten

How well placed is Birchville 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.


Birchville Kindergarten operates from 8:30am until 2:30pm, Monday to Friday. Daily sessional places are available for children aged two to five years.

The well-established permanent teaching team all have full certification. Since the October 2013 ERO report, teachers and families have worked together to further improve to the outdoor environment to enhance learning spaces for children.

The kindergarten philosophy aligns with principles of Te Whāriki with a particular focus on the natural environment.

Birchville Kindergarten is one of 85 kindergartens and three home-based education and care networks governed and managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). This is a new kindergarten association created from joining the Rimutaka and Wellington Kindergarten Associations in 2014. This is the first review for this kindergarten since the merger.

The board and managers provide governance for the organisation. Senior teachers have delegated kindergartens. Their role is to provide regular support and a range of professional learning and development opportunities for teachers.

In 2012, the Wellington association developed a framework to guide the implementation of its curriculum, Te Manawa. This document outlines criteria for curriculum delivery, including expectations for assessment and planning for children’s learning. Its introduction within this and other ex-Rimutaka Kindergartens occurred during 2015, with each kindergarten adapting it to respond to their community.

The October 2013 ERO report for Birchville Kindergarten identified areas for review and development in relation to planning and assessment, success for Māori children and self review.

This review was part of a cluster of nine reviews in the He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated.

The Review Findings

The programme is responsive to children's individual and group interests and ideas. Teachers note and discuss ideas to support their learning. Planning includes reference to children’s developing learning dispositions. Personal portfolios record children's progress over time and their participation in the life of the kindergarten. A focus on intentional teaching strategies should support the recently introduced approach to individual plans.

Teachers focus on developing positive relationships between home and the kindergarten. They know children well. Parent involvement is valued. Regular communication with parents has led to increased sharing of aspirations for their child and contributes to programme decision-making.

Children with specific learning needs are welcomed and supported by close partnerships with whānau and external agencies. Teachers have developed an effective system to ensure they are well supported to participate in learning.

Children are confident learners. Teachers support and encourage them to solve problems, take risks and explore through play. The outdoor area has been carefully developed to support an exciting range of challenging learning experiences. Staff actively build children’s skills and understanding of the local natural bush environment through the weekly Ngā Tamariki Ngahere programme.

A range of opportunities are provided for children to learn about their dual cultural heritage. Teachers involvement in professional training supports their developing capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and establishing relationships with mana whenua. Staff show a willingness to further explore ways of enhancing culturally responsive practices for Māori learners.

The experienced head teacher and established teaching team work well together. Each staff member plays an active role in the kindergarten’s development. They are reflective and meet regularly to share ideas about teaching and learning. The senior teacher is supporting the team to use a more evaluative approach to promote change and improvement. Internal evaluation is increasingly used to inquire into the effectiveness of curriculum decisions.

The senior teacher provides termly written feedback on agreed development priorities and the quality of teaching and learning. Annual internal evaluation supports strengthening of these termly reports. There is a deliberate focus on outcomes for children and teacher/leader performance.

A strengthened appraisal model is being implemented across the kindergartens. This includes focused goals that build teacher and leader capability and clearer links with the Practising Teacher Criteria. Leaders and teachers at Birchville Kindergarten should continue to strengthen their appraisal practice. 

Key Next Steps

Leaders, teachers and ERO agree the key next steps are to continue to:

  • develop shared understanding of processes for effective internal evaluation

  • refine and embed assessment and planning practices

  • build practices that promote a bicultural curriculum and Māori and Pacific children's success.

The association should continue to support the development of formal critique of teaching practice and strengthening responsiveness to Māori children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

30 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


Upper Hutt

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

Girls 34, Boys 19

Ethnic composition






Other ethnic groups







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

30 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

Education Review

May 2010

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.