Abbotsford Kindergarten - 21/12/2015

1 Evaluation of Abbotsford Kindergarten

How well placed is Abbotsford Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Abbotsford Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Abbotsford Kindergarten provides education and care for children from two years to school age. The kindergarten operates according to school-day hours. Forty children attend in the mornings and thirty in the afternoons. Children attend either morning or afternoon sessions or for the full day as families choose.

An enthusiastic parent committee and the parent community support the kindergarten with fundraising and improvements. They carried out a major upgrade to the playground in 2013.

A new and experienced head teacher was appointed in 2014 and all the teachers are qualified. They have made significant progress on all the recommendations of the 2012 ERO report.

The kindergarten operates under the Dunedin Kindergartens (DK) umbrella. DK provides management and professional support for the teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of 24 kindergarten reviews in the DK.

The Review Findings

The children play and learn in a very calm and settled environment. The teachers have worked deliberately to achieve this. They put an emphasis on children helping one another and being kind, and encourage the older children to guide the younger ones. Teachers and children have trusting relationships.

Children make friendships and play independently in small groups. The pattern of the day ensures there are no unnecessary interruptions to children’s play. Children are often intent in what they are doing and stay at activities for long periods. This allows the teachers to devote uninterrupted time to work with individual children and small groups.

The teachers follow children’s interests and talk purposefully with children to extend their learning. They support children’s oral language learning and early literacy through activities such as rhymes, songs, music, language games, story-telling, and reading.

The very large outdoor playground is imaginatively designed and offers children plenty of scope for physical challenge. The indoor areas are also thoughtfully set out and give children independent access to resources and equipment. Both indoor and outdoor areas provide children with choice of activities and play spaces.

The children and teachers use te reo Māori and waiata in the course of the day and celebrate events such as Matariki. The teachers are exploring ways to better engage with Māori families and to include more te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme.

The teachers build children’s connections to the local community and beyond through events such as a marae visit, visitors to the kindergarten, and evening events involving parents. They have a careful process for welcoming families starting kindergarten, and have made links with local schools to support children moving on to school.

The teachers use group plans to focus their attention on important learning for children, such as building children’s social skills. They have a useful system of individual planning that includes frequent opportunities for parents to contribute their ideas and information from home. The records of learning often show what teachers have done and will do in the future to extend and support children’s learning. Children’s learning would be strengthened by teachers finding better ways to bring together parents' wishes and teachers' professional knowledge to determine next steps.

The experienced head teacher has made it a priority to build a cohesive teaching team. Under her leadership the teachers have developed shared understandings about how to work together and a philosophy that guides their work. They have identified that it is important for them to continue to strengthen their team culture further.

The teachers have a good understanding of self review and use reviews to bring about positive changes at the kindergarten. Reviews would be more effective if a range of methods for gathering parent input were used. Their long-term plan has identified some priorities for the kindergarten’s future development. Further thought and consultation with parents about the priorities and detail in the plan would make it more useful.

The vision of the DK is to provide excellence in early childhood education for all children. The DK is governed by a board and managed by a long-serving general manager. The kindergarten teachers told ERO they appreciated the support they receive from the association and the advice and guidance of the senior teachers.

The board, general manager and senior teachers:

  • provide appropriate opportunities for parents and staff to contribute their ideas about matters in the association
  • are responsive to the identified needs of children and families within the association and provide funding and support to enable these to be met
  • have developed a useful framework to guide their work
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure safe environments for children, teachers and other staff
  • maintain their professional learning and provide ongoing professional learning for teachers in the association.

Key Next Steps

Teachers agree that their next steps, with the support of their senior teacher, are to:

  • continue to strengthen and build consistency in planning and assessment of children’s learning
  • strengthen the use of Māori perspectives in the programme and relationships with Māori whānau
  • continue to build on and strengthen their team culture
  • strengthen practices and parent input and involvement in planning and assessment, self review and long-term planning
  • develop the long-term plan so it becomes a useful guide for the kindergarten’s future.

ERO agrees these are appropriate next steps.

Next steps for the board, with the support of the general manager and senior teachers, are to:

  • continue to define what excellence in education looks like in the DK
  • further develop strategic planning to better show future goals and priorities and how these will be achieved in the association and in the kindergartens
  • ensure that the reports they receive show how well the association’s vision and goals are met, are evaluative and inform future planning
  • continue to strengthen the appraisal process and be assured that appraisals are rigorous and consistent throughout the kindergartens.

With the appointment of a new senior teacher, it is timely for the board and general manager to review the role of the senior teachers and strengthen systems to ensure consistent, high-quality practice across all kindergartens within the association.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

21 December 2015 

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

43 children over two years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys:     36
Girls:      28

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2015

Date of this report

21 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

September 2012

Education Review

April 2009

Education Review

May 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.