Holyoake Kindergarten - 24/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Holyoake Kindergarten

How well placed is Holyoake 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.


Holyoake Kindergarten is one of 25 early childhood services administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 30 children aged over two years. Of the 39 children enrolled, 11 are Māori. Children come from a geographically wide rural area. All four teachers are qualified and fully registered.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises the importance of enacting the principles of Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum, in supporting children’s learning. These include relationships,
empowerment, holistic development, family and community.

The November 2012 ERO report identified that teachers should continue to strengthen their approaches to assessment, internal evaluation and response to the culture and identity of Māori children. Professional support has been provided to assist with these aspects of practice. Progress in some of these areas 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 previous ERO reviews.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews of the Ruahine Kindergartens. 

The Review Findings

The kindergarten is well-resourced to support a range of learning experiences for children. The learning environment encourages children’s interest and investigation. For much of the day children have free choice about the level and timing of their participation in learning.

The outdoor area provides a range of opportunities for physical play. It has been carefully redeveloped to support an increased range of resources that promote bicultural learning. The garden, health and sustainability aspects of the programme provide children and their families with meaningful experiences linked to healthy living. Literacy, mathematics, science, the arts and creative play are appropriately integrated into the programme in everyday experiences.

Children show independence, cooperation and self-sufficiency. They are enthusiastic learners.  Teachers value opportunities that empower children in their learning. Children have high levels of engagement in their learning for most of the session. ERO agrees with teachers' decision to review the lunch routine to enable children to engage in uninterrupted play.

Teachers engage positively with children to support their ideas and some emerging interests. They should consider ways to maximise the depth of their engagement with individual children through carefully constructed learning conversations. 

The programme is responsive to individual children’s interests and needs. Each day teachers discuss and note ideas to support learning. Teachers are developing their approach to planning with the support of the senior teacher. Teachers should:

  • more clearly identify individual children’s significant interests, strengths, emerging ideas and learning needs
  • improve how well they recognise significant learning
  • establish programme evaluation that identifies how effectively assessment, planning and teaching contribute to improved outcomes for children.

Portfolios record children's participation in the life of the centre and aspects of learning. A next step is for teachers to record how they are progressing a child's learning over time. Children often enjoy revisiting their portfolios.

Teachers seek and value parents' aspirations for their children’s learning. Children needing additional guidance have individual plans developed and strategies identified to support them as learners.

Teachers work well together to settle children and welcome families into the centre. The relaxed atmosphere supports children’s belonging and wellbeing.  A flexible and inclusive approach supports children’s transitions into the kindergarten based on children’s and families’ needs. The approach to children’s transition to school is supported by positive relationships with new entrant teachers and regular discussion about early childhood and school learning. 

Teachers are reflective and regularly meet to share ideas about children, activities and operational matters. The association is supporting teachers to use a more evaluative approach to review for improvement. The team is in the early stages of understanding and using this model. A planned review of the philosophy should include deciding on agreed values and developing a shared understanding of how they will be reflected in the programme for children. 

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.

Progress has been made in developing a bicultural perspective in the programme. This is supported by an environmental focus, consideration of bicultural values, and teacher development goals and professional learning opportunities. A teacher at the kindergarten is supporting the team’s understanding of te ao Māori, through professional discussions and modelling te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Association leaders are strongly committed to implementing a bicultural curriculum and promoting success for Māori children 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 the appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities
  • a variety of operational and administrative support.

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.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree with teachers that further support should be put in place to develop:

  • understanding and use of internal evaluation
  • assessment for learning practices
  • and continue to build on a bicultural curriculum and strategies that promote success for Māori as Māori
  • leadership of the newly appointed acting-head teacher. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

24 May 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

30 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 20, Boys 19

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

April 2016

Date of this report

24 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2012

Education Review

May 2009

Education Review

April 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.