Central Kids Kindergartens - Kihikihi - 10/10/2016

1 Evaluation of Central Kids Kindergartens - Kihikihi

How well placed is Central Kids Kindergartens - Kihikihi 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.


Central Kids Kindergartens - Kihikihi is situated in the rural town of Kihikihi just south of Te Awamutu, and is governed and managed by the Central North Island Kindergarten Trust (CNIKT). The kindergarten is licensed to provide education and care for 40 children over the age of two years. This allows the kindergarten to operate 4 and 6 hour sessions from Monday to Friday. At the time of this ERO review 54 children were enrolled, with 6 being of Māori descent.

An experienced and knowledgeable head teacher leads a well-established and qualified team, all of whom have been present since the ERO review in 2013. There has been significant progress made since that review in addressing the key next step identified by ERO. This related to continuing to build on bicultural practices and to increase the Māori world view in assessment of children's learning. Staff have successfully undertaken professional development opportunities in this aspect to enhance their knowledge and understanding. Central Kids Kindergarten-Kihikihi has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The centre philosophy emphasises the importance of reciprocal and responsive relationships as the key to a quality education. The centre believes that children should be allowed to choose their own activity, be self-motivated and therefore more likely to develop their own ideas and complete tasks they have set for themselves. A balance of child-led and teacher-initiated activities is promoted where the teachers encourage the next step in children's learning. The philosophy is reflected in the kindergarten's whakataukī. 'Mā te ako, mā te tipu, ka neke whakamua tātou'. As we learn and as we grow, we move forward together.

This review was part of a cluster of four reviews in the Central North Island Kindergarten Trust.

The Review Findings

Central Kids Kindergartens - Kihikihi is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Children have high levels of trusting relationships with teachers and one another. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and a willingness to share their ideas and interests. The natural, well-resourced environment is safe while offering challenges and interests that invite children to explore and become fully involved. Children play and explore in both indoor and outdoor areas using their imagination and creativity in pursuing their interests. Oral language, literacy, mathematics, science and nature are effectively integrated into the programme. Children benefit from a calm, settled environment, and demonstrate high levels of engagement in learning and having fun.

Children learn through play and are well supported to follow their interests, solve problems and take responsible risks by teachers who know them well. Teachers spend time with children supporting their engagement in self-initiated and sustained play. They notice, recognise and respond intentionally to extend learning opportunities for children. Open-ended questions are used to prompt children's thinking. Teachers foster the social competence of children by encouraging them to solve problems and work and interact cooperatively with others.

Children with special learning needs are thoughtfully responded to. Teachers develop individual learning plans for these children with the guidance and support from parents, whanau and outside agencies. Children are developing independence and being supported to make choices and take increasing responsibility for their own learning and wellbeing.

Children are understood as unique learners, and accepted and celebrated for who they are. Teachers are culturally responsive and support the culture and identity of each child. Kaupapa Māori concepts such as manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are integral to the curriculum, and te reo and tikanga Māori practices are used in the programme in authentic contexts. Tuakana/teina relationships are present where older children take responsibility to care for and support their younger peers. Parents shared their pleasure with the way the individuality and identity of their children is celebrated and fostered.

Teachers view children holistically and understand the importance of them learning in the context of family and community. Parent/whānau involvement in the life of the kindergarten is welcomed and encouraged by staff. Teachers and parents have established open and trusting relationships. They appreciate the opportunity to attend social and educational events together. Parents enjoy sharing and celebrating their children's learning journey and contribute their own thoughts and feedback to the kindergarten to encourage further learning.

Children benefit from effective transition processes to support them on entering the kindergarten and on entry to school. They are personally greeted on arrival and one teacher is responsible for acting as the main support person and contact for parents during the admission procedure. Parents are encouraged to spend as much time as needed to settle their child into the kindergarten and be involved in the learning programmes.

Transition to school procedures include visits, close liaison with local schools, sharing of information and support for parents. Currently teachers are working on enhancing relationships and sharing knowledge with new entrant teachers in all the schools that children from this kindergarten attend. They are continuing to build a common understanding among kindergarten teachers, new entrant school teachers, parents and whānau of the successful play-based learning outcomes for children at this centre.

The head teacher provides strong collaborative leadership to the teaching team. She empowers teachers to use their strengths and interests to take on leadership roles in kindergarten programmes. Leaders and teachers are reflective practitioners and high-quality self review is integral to centre operations and decision making. The team shares a commitment to beliefs and values about children's learning and well-being. These values underpin their teaching practice which is of high quality.

Teachers have been involved in effective professional development and learning that is enhancing their knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching young children. The Trust provides extensive support for the teaching team through professional development and the effective mentoring and guidance of the professional leader.

All team members are reflective practitioners and are continually looking at ways of improving their practice and learning opportunities for children. Currently teachers are working on enhancing transition procedures and becoming an enviro school to promote sustainability. Part of this approach is the further development of gardens to provide further opportunities for learning across many curriculum areas.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Central Kids Kindergartens - Kihikihi 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 Central Kids Kindergartens - Kihikihi will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

10 October 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


South of Te Awamutu

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 29 Girls 25

Ethnic composition



Other European

South East Asian





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

July 2016

Date of this report

10 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2013

Education Review

January 2010

Education Review

June 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.