Matariki Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten - 20/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Matariki Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten

How well placed is Matariki Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Teachers need external support to increase their capability and to sustain better performance. Assessment practice, cultural responsiveness, and internal evaluation require significant improvement.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Matariki Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten is located in Palmerston North. Sessions run from 8:45am to 2:45pm, Monday to Friday. The kindergarten is licensed for 25 children, aged two to six years. Of the current roll of 18, two children identify as Māori. Rudolf Steiner philosophy underpins the programme and learning environment.

Two qualified teachers implement the curriculum. They are both certificated in Steiner-based teaching.

The kindergarten is supported by a management committee of parents and community members. Since ERO's 2014 review, roll numbers and teaching staff have reduced. The committee and teachers are strategising to increase enrolments.

The August 2014 ERO report identified areas for development including elements of teacher practice, cultural responsiveness, appraisal, the bicultural curriculum, and some documentation. Limited progress is evident.

The Review Findings

Children experience warm, caring and respectful relationships in a home-like setting. Imaginative and creative learning is strongly supported through natural and open-ended resources. Teachers are dedicated to Steiner Waldorf education theory.

The day's activities adhere to purposeful rhythms and rituals, supporting children's confidence and sense of belonging. A focus on nature and sustainability is evident. Spacious outdoor and garden areas enable children to actively explore. Their health and holistic wellbeing are promoted.

Due to very limited documentation, the effectiveness of the curriculum in supporting children's learning is not able to be determined.

Assessment documentation is not of sufficient quality. A suitable cycle of assessment, planning and evaluation must be developed and implemented. Documentation should demonstrate how teachers use a range of information, including past assessments, parent aspirations, and information about children's cultures, to deliberately enhance their learning.

Children with diverse learning needs are very well supported. The kindergarten is highly inclusive. Teachers liaise closely with families and outside agencies, as appropriate, and tailor their practice accordingly.

Parents contribute to the operation of the centre. Regular celebrations and events are well attended and support the kindergarten's strong sense of community. Teachers actively promote close links between home and kindergarten, and offer parents the option of home visits and one-on-one interviews.

Gathering and using information about families' culture and parents' aspirations for their children's learning, are next steps for development. Teachers should also explore current research on actively promoting the educational success of Māori children.

Leaders and teachers agree that strengthening relationships with local schools is an appropriate next step, to support children's transitions. They should purposefully seek a range of useful information from schools, to better support parents during this process.

Teachers usefully align te ao Māori concepts with the kindergarten philosophy's emphasis on respect for the natural world. Children are offered bicultural resources, and waiata and karakia are effectively woven into the daily programme. To enhance this valuable learning, teachers should increase their use of te reo Māori in everyday conversations with children.

The appraisal process is of limited quality. Teachers should ensure that they collect useful evidence, aligned to goals and practising teacher criteria, for their certificate endorsement.

Understanding and use of self review are in the very early stages. Teachers require support to implement robust, regular internal evaluations of the kindergarten's operation and curriculum.

Key Next Steps

Priorities for development are:

  • internal evaluation

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • the collection and use of appraisal evidence

  • information-sharing with parents to support transitions to local schools

  • cultural responsiveness

  • teachers' use of te reo Māori

  • promoting educational success for Māori children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Matariki Rudolf Steiner 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

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to curriculum and management. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • ensure the service curriculum is informed by assessment, planning, and evaluation (documented and undocumented) that demonstrates an understanding of children's learning, their interests, whānau, and life contexts

  • develop and implement an ongoing process of self review that helps the service maintain and improve the quality of its education and care. Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2, GMA6

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Matariki Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten will be within two years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

20 October 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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 12, Boys 6

Ethnic composition

Other European


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

August 2017

Date of this report

20 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

November 2011

Education Review

June 2008

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.