Community Kindy St Leonards - 31/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Community Kindy St Leonards

How well placed is Community Kindy St Leonards 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.


Community Kindy St Leonards is owned and operated by BestStart Educare Ltd. BestStart (previously known as Kidicorp Ltd), is a large national organisation that owns early learning services across New Zealand. This service was previously known as ABC Mahora South.

This service provides full time and sessional education and care for 30 children aged over 2 years. The current roll of 31 children includes seven who identify as Māori.

A centre manager has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the service. She is supported by a business and professional services manager, who work across the region for BestStart.

ERO’s October 2012 review recommended that the centre strengthen opportunities for parents and whānau to increase their participation in the planned curriculum and children's learning stories. In addition, developing understanding of ways to promote educational success for Māori children, and identification of strategic priorities required development. Progress in these areas is evident.

There have been a number of changes in centre management since the previous ERO review. A new centre manager was appointed in July 2016.

This is the first report for this service under is new name Community Kindy St Leonards. This review was one of a cluster of four in BestStart Educare Ltd.

The Review Findings

Children participate in a play-based programme that encourages their exploration. They play independently or in groups of their own choosing for sustained periods. They actively experiment, inquire and participate in activities which provide challenge. Literacy, science and numeracy are valued and promoted. The outdoor environment is well developed to promote children's physical skills and understanding of the natural world. Indoor play spaces are carefully organised with easily accessed resources. Respectful practices between children and by teachers contribute to a settled learning environment.

Children requiring additional learning support are identified, and external agencies guidance is accessed when required.

Teachers' have developed a collaborative and visual approach to planning for learning that is inclusive of parents' contributions. Regular entries in e-portfolios provide information about children's engagement in the programme and developing friendships. At times parents provide feedback about their children's entries and share stories from home. In response to parent feedback the centre has identified the importance of having a hard copy of this information to enable children to revisit their learning.

Leaders acknowledge that teachers' approach to planning should be further strengthened by identifying specific learning outcomes for children. This should help to identify their progress over time. Additionally there is a need to acknowledge children's cultures, languages and identities in their learning records.

Bicultural practice is evident. Thoughtful consideration has been given to acknowledging the cultural backgrounds of children and their families throughout the environment and programme. Culturally significant events are celebrated. Aspects of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are evident in teacher practice. Waiata Māori are popular with children. Teachers acknowledge that further strengthening their knowledge of te ao Māori should support them to better understand and promote educational success for Māori learners. ERO agrees with this direction.

Transitions into and from the centre are well considered and made in collaboration with families and whānau. An organisation wide initiative supports children's transition to primary school. Teachers are working collaboratively with other BestStart centres to develop a strategy that helps to facilitate relationships with local schools.

A clear framework is in place to guide the appraisal process. This includes self and appraiser assessment and has a developmental focus. Formal observations of teachers' practice should provide useful data to inform decisions about teachers' ongoing learning. Implementing practices that reflect teaching as inquiry should further strengthen the process. Teachers participate in a wide range of professional learning and development.

Teachers' implementation of self review is guided by the organisation's collaborative and reflective approach. Planned and spontaneous reviews are becoming established practices. Leaders and teachers should build capacity for and strengthen and embed systems and processes to support internal evaluation that leads to ongoing improvements to teaching and learning. To strengthen the current process they should:

  • develop a schedule of planned review and evaluation

  • build evaluation knowledge, reasoning and understanding

  • include opportunities for parents to contribute to the process

  • measure the impact of changes on outcomes for children.

The professional service manager (PSM) provides regular in-depth feedback, support and guidance about the curriculum in action. She clearly identifies strengths and areas for development. The PSM, in partnership with centre leaders, should continue to monitor the progress made by staff as a result of these recommendations.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and managers agree that next steps are to continue to strengthen:

  • the quality of learning stories to show how children's learning is progressed over time

  • teachers' understanding of bicultural practice and ways to promote educational success for Māori children

  • evaluation of practices to better measure the impact of practice on outcomes for children

  • targeted observations of teachers' practice to support their inquiries into their teaching.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Community Kindy St Leonards 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 Community Kindy St Leonards will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

31 March 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 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 19, Boys 12

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


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2017

Date of this report

31 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


No previous ERO reports


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.