Central Kids Kindergartens - Mercury Bay - 10/10/2016

1 Evaluation of Central Kids Kindergartens - Mercury Bay

How well placed is Central Kids Kindergartens - Mercury Bay 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 - Mercury Bay operates under the umbrella of the Central North Island Kindergarten Trust (CNIKT). The kindergarten is located in Whitianga, and is licensed to cater for 40 children from two years to school age. At the time of this ERO review, a high percentage of children identified as Māori. The kindergarten is open from 8.45am to 3.00pm, five days a week.

The kindergarten philosophy statement places priority on developing strong, respectful relationships with tamariki, whānau and community. Partnerships for learning empower children to be competent and confident lifelong learners, with a positive sense of identity and mana.

Since the 2013 ERO review a new head teacher has been appointed along with one other teacher. There have been considerable developments in all areas of self review. Areas identified for improvement in the 2013 ERO report have been addressed.

The kindergarten is well-supported by the Central North Island Kindergarten Trust. The trust’s strategic direction sets out the service’s vision, expected educational outcomes, and values. It also defines the strategies for delivering the principles and strands of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The trust works positively to provide equitable opportunities to families by extending its hours of opening.

Professional leaders monitor the kindergarten’s compliance with policies and procedures to ensure it meets regulation requirements and management expectations. They work alongside head teachers to support their leadership and provide guidance, and to mentor teachers as part of the appraisal process. Kindergarten teachers have generous opportunities to attend professional development opportunities to grow their teaching and leadership skills.

The trust has undertaken a long-term review of teacher appraisal in consultation with teachers. This is enabling them to respond to the expectations of the Education Council and increase the depth of teachers’ reflections about their practice. The trust has also responded effectively to the Vulnerable Children’s Act, and is well placed to complete required changes to policies and practices for the protection of children.

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

The Review Findings

Central Kids Kindergartens - Mercury Bay is very well placed to sustain positive outcomes for children and their parents and whānau. Children and their whānau demonstrate a strong sense of belonging to the kindergarten community.

Teachers know children well in the context of their family and general life experiences. They use this knowledge to ignite children's curiosity, wonder and desire for discovery, and add complexity to their learning. As a result, children are developing learning dispositions, knowledge and skills that support them to inquire into, and make sense of the world around them. Children confidently take responsibility for self-initiated and sustained play and learning, and are capable and competent learners.

Children's holistic development is well supported by teachers who have a deep and shared understanding of how they learn. Teachers' beliefs and values underpinning high-quality education and care. They place an emphasis on the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnerships. Teachers value the expertise and knowledge of tangata whenua. Kaumātua, parents, whānau and community members generously share their knowledge and time to enrich children's learning experiences.

A new initiative has been the introduction of a beach programme where children are developing an understanding about sustainability and kaitiakitanga for their environment. They take shared responsibility for care and protection of their local beach, as well as learning about local history.

Teachers keep up-to-date with current theories and research about learning and teaching. They use this professional knowledge to design a highly responsive emergent curriculum. The principles of empowerment, holistic development, relationships, family and community within Te Whāriki (early childhood curriculum) are strongly evident in practice, and underpin all aspects of teaching and learning. Teachers successfully implement an inclusive curriculum that embraces the concept of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and ako. Literacy, mathematics and other learning areas are meaningfully integrated into children's interests, strengths and play.

Teachers are skilled at engaging children in meaningful learning experiences, within a thoughtfully prepared and stimulating environment. There are extensive open-ended opportunities for children to develop their creativity, use their imagination and be innovative. Children are experiencing success in learning.

Teachers use high-quality teaching interactions that support children to problem solve, think critically, and develop learning habits and behaviours that support older children in their transition to school. Children's social competencies are effectively extended through their social interactions. Their language and communication skills are well supported.

Teachers use assessment, planning and evaluation information to implement meaningful programmes and inquire into the effectiveness of their practice. Child portfolios reflect a credit-based approach that builds on what children know across a range of contexts. Quality information about learning, identity and progress.

High quality professional leadership supports relational trust at all levels. The head teacher, with the support of the CNIKT professional leader, teachers and whānau have established a kindergarten culture in which children are first and foremost valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning. This culture is one that:

  • advocates for equitable outcomes for all children, parents and whānau, which is highly responsive to the diverse needs, knowledge and skills of children and their families

  • uses highly-effective self-review systems to improve all aspects of kindergarten practice

  • integrates parents', whānau and children's aspirations and views into all decision making

  • values everyone as a leader, with strengths and knowledge to contribute to positive outcomes for children and their families.

Key Next Step

ERO affirms the kindergarten's self-identified next step in their self-review inquiries. Leaders, teachers and whānau agree that a valuable next step is to strengthen and build on the strong foundations already established that promote te ao Māori and a bicultural curriculum.

This next step includes continuing to work in partnership with whānau and local iwi to increase shared understandings and knowledge about local Māori histories and knowledge, as well as culturally responsive assessment practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Central Kids Kindergartens - Mercury Bay 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 - Mercury Bay 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



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 16

Ethnic composition









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

June 2016

Date of this report

10 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2013

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

February 2007

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.