Foxton District Kindergarten - 01/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Foxton District Kindergarten

How well placed is Foxton District 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.


Foxton District Kindergarten is one of 25 early childhood services administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 40 children aged over two years. At the beginning of 2016 the centre increased its licence to 30 hours per week. Of the 54 children enrolled, 20 are Māori.

The kindergarten receives Ministry of Education equity funding to strengthen support for children's learning and wellbeing. All five teachers in the well-established team are qualified and registered.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises the importance of care, respect and strong relationships, and of fostering children's identity, belonging and opportunities for their empowerment to support their learning.

The November 2012 ERO review identified that the quality of display, assessment, programme evaluation, self review and integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori required strengthening. Progress is evident.

Day-to-day management of the association's affairs is the responsibility of the general manager. A governing board sets the overall strategic direction. The senior teacher provides professional leadership for teaching and learning. An operations manager supports kindergartens' compliance, policy development and leadership. A management restructure has been undertaken since the 2012 ERO reviews of kindergartens in this association.

This review is one of a cluster of eight reviews of Ruahine Kindergartens.

The Review Findings

The philosophy is well reflected in practice. There is a strong focus on developing caring and trusting relationships with children, and their families and whānau, to support partnership. Centre displays highlight the importance of manaakitanga, play and relationships in this learning community.

The kindergarten is suitably resourced to support children’s investigation of, and participation in, a range of learning experiences. The recent development of the outdoor area provides children with enhanced opportunities for learning and physical challenge. The beach theme provides a connection with the local environment and community

Children are well supported to be self managing. They choose the level and timing of their participation and have free access to learning materials. They enjoy the opportunities provided, showing confidence, sustained interest, independence and enthusiasm for learning. A busy and purposeful tone is maintained.

Teachers are responsive, positive and encouraging. Their flexible and inclusive approach supports children and their families to settle into the life of the kindergarten. There is a strong emphasis on ensuring children’s wellbeing and basic needs are met. An ongoing focus on the environment and healthy living provides meaningful experiences which should assist with building good life skills. The head teacher has well developed knowledge of the local community and actively networks to improve teaching and learning. The team is committed to strengthening culturally responsive practice.

The programme is responsive to individual children’s interests and needs. Literacy, mathematics, science and opportunities for creativity are woven into activities in meaningful ways. An on-line programme has the potential to improve communication and learning relationships with parents and whānau. Well-presented portfolios record details of children's participation at kindergarten and aspects of their learning over time. A recently implemented initiative is supporting teachers to gather children’s ideas about their learning and also increase parents’ input into their child’s programme.

Teachers' approach to planning for learning, needs strengthening. They agree their next development steps are:

  • increasing the focus on individual's significant learning linked to the development of particular dispositions

  • clearly defining teaching strategies, in portfolios and planning, to progress children's learning

  • improving evaluation to identify next learning and teaching steps

  • purposefully planning to meet parents' aspirations for their children's learning

  • increasing acknowledgement of families’ cultures, languages and identities in assessment and the curriculum.

Regular visits to the adjacent school support some children’s transition to primary school. The head teacher agrees teachers need to continue to focus on developing relationships with more of the schools in the local area to better support parents and whānau and facilitate the sharing of information.

The association provides good support for teachers to use a more evaluative approach to review for improvement. Teachers should continue to build their shared understanding and use of internal evaluation to support decision making that improves and sustains positive outcomes for children. The association agrees the continued development of the 'Wise Practice' indicators should occur to support understanding about the quality and effectiveness of practice and operation at kindergarten through to board level.

The kindergarten's annual plan outlines priorities for the year linked to the association's strategic goals of having high quality staff, coordinated services, effective partnerships and operations. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality indicators linked to outcomes for children are a useful addition to the annual plan. These should be further defined to enable more effective monitoring of progress.

Good progress has been made in developing a bicultural curriculum. This is evident in the environmental focus, consideration of bicultural values, some teacher development goals and professional learning opportunities. Association leaders are strongly committed to implementing a bicultural curriculum and promoting success for Māori as Māori. The revised Te Tiriti o Waitangi policy, 'Wise Practice' document and bicultural exemplars should support development of these practices.

The association provides effective governance and management support for this service. This includes:

  • constructive and improvement-focused support from the senior teacher

  • suitable quality assurance processes and guidelines linked to compliance with regulations and association expectations

  • effective and targeted support for teacher and leadership development through appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities

  • a variety of operational and administrative support.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree that teachers should be supported to continue to strengthen:

  • understanding and use of internal evaluation

  • planning for learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

1 June 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

Girls 28, Boys 26

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

April 2016

Date of this report

1 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

November 2012

Education Review

June 2009

Education Review

June 2005

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.