Awapuni Kindergarten - 09/02/2016

1 Evaluation of Awapuni Kindergarten

How well placed is Awapuni 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.


Awapuni Kindergarten is one of 24 administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 30 children aged over two years. Of the 33 children enrolled, 11 are Māori. All three teachers are qualified and registered.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises the importance of relationships, environment, inclusion and lifelong learning underpinned by the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The March 2013 ERO review identified that teachers’ understanding and use of internal evaluation and provision of opportunities within the programme for acknowledging the culture and identity of Māori children needed further development. Professional support has been provided to improve these aspects of practice. Some progress is evident.

Day-to-day management of the association’s affairs is the responsibility of the general manager. A governing board sets 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 is one of a cluster of five reviews of Ruahine Kindergartens.

The Review Findings

The kindergarten is suitably resourced to support children’s investigation of and participation in a range of learning experiences. The outdoor area continues to be a focus for development. It provides challenging learning experiences including a variety linked to environmental sustainability.

Children enjoy the opportunities provided, showing independence and confidence as learners, and cooperation and friendliness to peers and teachers. Teachers are aware of the need to redevelop aspects of the programme and environment to better meet the needs of younger children. Planning a more flexible end-of-session routine with more opportunities for children to have choice about their involvement is a useful next step.

Teachers are responsive, positive and encouraging. Learning conversations with children occur regularly. Literacy, mathematics and aspects of science are woven into the programme in meaningful ways. There is a demonstrated commitment to culturally responsive practice.

Teachers’ flexible and inclusive approach supports children and their families to settle into the life of the centre. There is a strong emphasis on ensuring children’s wellbeing and basic needs are met. An ongoing focus on the environment and healthy living provides children with meaningful experiences which should assist with building good life skills. Parent education is provided. The head teacher has a well-developed knowledge of the local community and support agencies to meet families' needs.

The programme is responsive to individual children’s interests and needs. Planning includes reference to their learning dispositions and intentional teaching strategies. An online programme, in the early stages of implementation, has the potential to improve teachers' and whānau/parents’ communication about children’s learning and progress.

Teachers’ approach to assessment for learning needs further development. Strengthening the emphasis on individual children’s significant learning and illustrating how intentional strategies are being used to facilitate their progress, is a next step. Supporting parents to share their aspirations for their children and developing plans to meet these should be a continuing focus.

Regular visits to the adjacent school support some children’s transition to primary school. Next development steps should include a focus on building relationships with more local schools to better facilitate the sharing of information about children and school and early childhood programmes.

Teachers’ use of internal evaluation is at an early stage. Their shared understanding is being well facilitated by the senior teacher.

The kindergarten’s annual plan outlines priorities for the year linked to the association’s strategic goals of having high quality staff, coordinated services and effective partnerships and operations. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality outcomes linked to agreed ‘wise practice’ should be a useful addition to the annual plan. This should enable more effective monitoring of progress in relation to learning, teaching and outcomes for children.

Some progress has been made in developing a bicultural perspective in the programme. This is supported by the environmental focus, consideration of bicultural values and some teacher development goals. Association leaders agree, implementation of bicultural curriculum and promotion of success for Māori as Māori need further development. The recently revised Te Tiriti o Waitangi policy, the Wise Practice document, and the establishment of enduring connections with mana whenua should support these aspects of practice.

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
  • a variety of operational and administrative support
  • effective and targeted support for teacher and leadership development through appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities.

Developing and implementing appraisal for the senior teacher and operations manager is a priority.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree that teachers should be supported to continue to develop:

  • their approach to planning for learning
  • understanding and use of internal evaluation
  • implementation of bicultural curriculum and promotion of success for Māori as Māori.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 February 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


Palmerston North

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

Boys 19, Girls 14

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

9 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2013


Education Review

May 2009


Education Review

June 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.