Conifer Grove Kindergarten - 07/02/2018

1 Evaluation of Conifer Grove Kindergarten

How well placed is Conifer Grove 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.


Conifer Grove Kindergarten is a well-established service in Takanini and is licensed for 40 children over two years of age. The kindergarten offers extended hours from 8am to 5pm, to meet the needs of the community. It also continues to offer six and four-hour sessions.

The team of four qualified teachers is led by a head teacher. An administration assistant, a lunch cover teacher, and a part-time teacher aide are also part of the team.

The kindergarten's philosophy acknowledges children's capability and recognises them as independent learners. It promotes an environment that incorporates bicultural practices and celebrates the cultural diversity in the community. Partnerships with families and the community are valued.

The 2013 ERO review recommended leaders change some centre practices, including self review, and encourage greater family contributions to programme planning. Under the current leadership, changes have been made to the structure of the programme and the way that self review is used to document ongoing progress.

The kindergarten is part of the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association and operates within the Association's policies and management framework. An education manager (EM) visits and provides leadership and curriculum support for teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of six kindergarten reviews in the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are confident, capable learners with a strong sense of place and belonging. They play cooperatively together in a spacious environment. The environment is designed to support children's physical and creative development and promote their interests. Children share conversations, initiate imaginative play and join small groups. They are supported to make choices and solve problems during long periods of uninterrupted play. Their independence and self-management skills are fostered.

Teachers value and nurture warm and respectful relationships and inclusive practices. They facilitate opportunities for children's language development and inquiry. Information and communication technologies are used effectively to help children explore ideas and build on their prior knowledge. Wall displays demonstrate children's participation in science, literacy, maths and tactile experiences. Children with additional needs are well supported.

The programme aligns with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers notice, recognise and respond to children's emerging interests. Individual portfolios and an online tool, record and inform parents about their children's learning. Parents can access and contribute to their children's learning stories and share them with whānau. Transitions into the centre and to school are tailored to suit the child. Teachers promote learning throughout the programme to build children's capability so they are ready to transition to school.

Bicultural perspectives are integrated into learning experiences. Teachers' practices and the environment acknowledge the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Teachers use te reo and tikanga Māori in the context of children's play and at mat and kai times. Well positioned photos celebrate children's cultural identity. Cultural artefacts recognise the cultural diversity in the kindergarten.

Internal evaluation is starting to guide continuous improvement. Ensuring that internal evaluation determines effectiveness and quality in relation to outcomes for children is a key focus for the new team. Accommodating a wider age group of children, and reviewing the kindergarten environment, have been recent priorities. The new head teacher has focused on maintaining strong relationships with the parents and community. She is also building practices to ensure the sustainability of good practices during a time of personnel changes.

The Association continues to provide very good support for the kindergarten. Its systems and support personnel, ongoing review and monitoring, contribute to efficient management. Long-term goals enable teachers to align their annual plan with the Association's strategic direction.

The Association is responsive to changing community needs. It supports teachers to meet the needs of younger children and to provide variable and often longer hours of operation. It is expected that teachers will use evidence based, reflective practices. Teachers appreciate the professional support and guidance of Association personnel. Leaders continue to adapt personnel systems to meet new legal requirements, including those of the Education Council.

The Association has a strong commitment to equity, bicultural practices, partnerships with whānau and community, and continuous improvement in educational outcomes for children. There is a focus on strategies to promote success for Pacific learners. Personnel and resources, such as whānau workers and a Play Truck, are targeted to meet the specific needs of children and communities.

Key Next Steps

The next steps for kindergarten development should include:

  • being more intentional in the way the team recognises and responds to opportunities to extend children's learning
  • deepening children's learning by strengthening teachers' questioning approaches
  • continuing to develop the environment with a view to promoting challenge and inquiry for children
  • strengthening internal evaluation to focus on effectiveness and quality learning outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 February 2018

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 


Conifer Grove, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over the age of 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      22
Girls       21

Ethnic composition

Fijian Indian


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

7 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2013

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

June 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.