Rainbow Cottage Kindergarten - 20/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Rainbow Cottage Kindergarten

How well placed is Rainbow Cottage 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.


Rainbow Cottage Kindergarten is a small, family-owned centre in New Lynn. The co-owners manage and operate the centre as part of a stable teaching team. Several teachers have worked in the centre for some time.

The centre is licensed for 25 children aged over two years. Children are able to attend for full days, some days in the week or for half-day sessions. Children play together in a mixed-age group.

The centre's philosophy highlights te Tiriti o Waitangi and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, as founding documents for decision-making about the programme. Teachers aim to provide a caring, homely setting for children's learning that is inclusive, fair and equity-based.

The 2014 ERO report highlighted the warm welcome children and their families received and noted several other positive practices that continue to be fostered and improved. ERO also noted the need to strengthen the appraisal system and the inclusion of Te Whāriki. It identified the need for teachers to use current research, theory and practices in early childhood education in their thinking about the programme. Management and teachers have undertaken professional learning and development to help them address these recommendations.

The Review Findings

Children and their families continue to be warmly welcomed into the centre. Children are settled and parents are comfortable to stay with their children until they are engaged in play. Teachers provide a range of activities for children to choose from for most of the day. They generally work closely with children, engaging them in conversation. Children are eager to share their thinking, and take an active role in mat-time activities.

Children are friendly and relaxed. They understand the routines well and are eager to participate in activities that interest them. They wait patiently for activities to be ready and make some decisions about their own creative input. Children enjoy time outdoors and are inventive and collaborative in their play. The outdoor area provides challenge and opportunities for some risk taking.

Children and their families have diverse cultural backgrounds. There is also similar diversity in the staff team. Teachers encourage families to maintain children's home languages. Children's unique cultures and ethnicity are recognised in displays on centre walls. Teachers celebrate important events and also embed home values and patterns into the programme. Teachers welcome Pacific families, recognise their unique cultures and use some words from Pacific languages. They identify this as an area for development.

Teachers have continued to strengthened the inclusion of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori in the programme. Children are able to confidently say karakia and to sing waiata. Teachers use te reo in their conversations. Some Māori children are confident to share their language and knowledge of Māori culture with their peers. Teachers plan to continue to develop their own expertise. They embrace some of the learning from the Enviroschools project, by encouraging thinking about environmental sustainability in the programme. Whānau comments indicate their pleasure in their children's learning.

Teachers have made significant changes to their assessment and planning processes. The use of an online portal has encouraged parents to comment on the stories that teachers share with them. This practice has also made a positive difference to the way teachers write about children's interests and capabilities. Planning has also been strengthened and become more visible in centre displays. These two aspects of the planning cycle are being evaluated by staff to identify areas for improvement.

Managers and teachers have made significant, positive changes since the 2014 ERO review. It would be useful now to set expectations and goals for learning programmes, with teachers, to continue this sound work. Discussions about this topic could help to identify professional development that may be useful in reinforcing and embedding current good practices. Appraisal processes have been strengthened to meet expectations and will be redeveloped to reflect new standards.

Managers have developed a targeted management plan. It would be useful for them to consider a vision statement that will guide the development of a strategic plan that includes goals, timelines and budget considerations. This plan should be linked to the management plan and to appraisal processes.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree that the key next steps should be for teachers to continue to:

  • develop children's social competence by encouraging them to take responsibility for positive behaviour and play decisions

  • focus the evaluation of assessment and planning on learning outcomes for children

  • strengthen teachers' understanding of and embed bicultural practices

  • encourage leadership opportunities and experiences for teachers and children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

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


New Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 31 Girls 19

Ethnic composition



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

October 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

August 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.