Japanese Kindergarten - 07/12/2017

1 Evaluation of Japanese Kindergarten

How well placed is Japanese 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.


The Japanese Kindergarten is a small centre that provides an immersion programme, focused on Japanese language and culture, for eight children each day. The majority of children attend one day a week for full day or sessional care.

All children who attend the centre have Japanese cultural backgrounds, and are between two and five years of age. The centre has a waiting list for places, with some parents eager for their children to attend for more days during the week. Children play and learn in a mixed-age group. The owner/operator has NZ teaching qualifications. She employs two Japanese speaking, and trained early childhood teachers.

ERO's 2014 report noted settled children, and respectful and responsive interactions between teachers and children. These positive aspects are still evident in the programme. The report identified development priorities that included annual and strategic planning. It also recommended that the owner seek professional development about current research in early childhood teaching and management. The owner has made good progress in addressing these priorities.

The Review Findings

The centre programme is focused on learning in a full immersion Japanese language and cultural setting. Children are warmly welcomed at the start of the session, and encouraged to make choices about where they want to play. Teachers speak Japanese only in these conversations. Children settle quickly, play peacefully with others, and talk freely to teachers and their peers. They speak in Japanese, with varying levels of expertise, and are responsive to teachers' questions and suggestions.

Children are eager participants in the programme. The learning programme provides a blend of teacher-led and child-initiated play. Children have opportunities to listen to skilled story-telling by teachers, to join in musical experiences, and to be creative. Teachers use a thematic approach to help children to learn about traditional Japanese creative crafts, and extend their Japanese vocabulary.

The early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, includes the expectation that all children will learn about the dual cultural heritage of New Zealand. While this is not yet a strength in this already bilingual centre, teachers strive to include te reo Māori in meaningful contexts. The owner plans to develop this aspect of the programme.

Relationships with parents are open and inclusive. The owner regularly shares information about children's development with parents, both formally and informally. She invites parents' input into the programme. Parents comment about, and contribute to, planning for individual children. The recent development of portfolios for children is helping teachers to plan the programme. Portfolios are valued by both children and their parents.

Key Next Steps

ERO identified areas of the centre's operation that need attention. These include:

  • upskilling the teaching team about New Zealand's bicultural expectations as outlined in Te Whāriki, and including reference to te Tiriti o Waitangi in the centre's philosophy

  • continuing to work with an external mentor to strengthen teachers' understanding about current good practices in New Zealand early childhood education.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 December 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


Glendowie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

8 children over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 26 Girls 15

Ethnic composition

other Japanese


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

7 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

December 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.