Bell Block Pohutakawa Kindergarten - 19/01/2017

1 Evaluation of Bell Block Pohutakawa Kindergarten

How well placed is Bell Block Pohutakawa Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

To strengthen service provision, the association, leaders and teachers should continue to develop quality practices for curriculum and the management and monitoring of the association's health and safety expectations.

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


Bell Block Pohutakawa Kindergarten provides care and education for children from two to five years of age. The kindergarten is open five days a week, for six hours daily and licensed for up to 31 children. Within these hours, sessional care and education is also provided. Of the total roll of 33, ten are Māori.

The teaching team is fully qualified and the programme is further assisted by support staff.

The kindergarten has a focus on environmental sustainability. Children have assisted with the planning of areas in the outdoor space that support their interests and activities.

The kindergarten is one of 24 governed by the newly established Kindergarten Taranaki (the association), formerly North and South Taranaki Kindergarten Associations. A chief executive was appointed to lead the association in 2014. Three professional leaders are employed by the association to provide professional support and guidance to teachers.

The August 2013 ERO report identified areas of practice requiring further development. These included: continuing to develop capacity for evaluation and self review to promote teachers' inquiry into the impact of their teaching on outcomes for children; strengthening assessment; and promoting success for Māori children as Māori. Progress in addressing these areas is ongoing. In addition, the 2013 and 2015 ERO reviews identified key steps for the association. Progress is ongoing.

This review was part of a cluster of eight in the Taranaki Kindergarten Association. 

The Review Findings

The emergent curriculum is responsive to individual children's strengths, interests and needs. Children participate in a child-led programme and work collaboratively in groups of their own choosing for sustained periods of time. Literacy and natural science is strongly promoted. Children's independence and leadership skills are supported. Teachers' reflection on their practice has contributed to the development of a settled, unhurried and engaging curriculum for younger children.

Teachers work closely with the families of children identified as requiring additional learning support. Participation of these children in the programme is well supported through the collaboration between the kindergarten, homes and external agencies.

Various approaches are used by teachers to plan the curriculum. Clearly identifying the learning goals for children should better assist teachers to evaluate their learning outcomes.

Teachers have yet to develop a shared understanding of high quality assessment practices. Reflective journal narratives provide an insight into the activities in which children are engaged and their developing friendships. At times their learning and progress are illustrated. Teachers should be supported to build their capabilities in this area. Developments should include:

  • regular seeking and acknowledging by teachers of parental aspirations for their children's learning

  • stronger reflection of children's cultures, languages and identities in assessment documentation

  • ensuring that teachers clearly illustrated for parents, their children's progress and achievements.

The bicultural programme requires strengthening. Māori language and culture should be more visible throughout the curriculum. Teachers remain committed to ongoing learning in this area. Association guidance should support the ongoing focus on promoting educational success for Māori. This will provide a foundation for teachers to better understand the concept of culturally responsive curriculum.

Children's transition to school is supported by the reciprocal relationships teachers have developed with local schools. This should be a good starting point for the purposeful sharing of information that supports continuation of learning for children.

Teachers' review and internal evaluation practices are not well developed. The association should assist leaders to develop their understanding and use of evaluation to support improved practice and outcomes for children. Documented expectations should support a considered approach and shared understanding across the association.

The teacher appraisal process requires improvement. The next step is for teachers to have individual appraisal meetings that include critique of their practice to show the impact of their teaching and learning. The association has recently revised the appraisal procedure that now includes the use of formal observations of teacher practice. Once implemented it should strengthen the process. Professional leaders should then undertake regular monitoring of practice and evaluate how well appraisal is been implemented in each kindergarten.

The kindergarten's health and safety procedures need to be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect association policies.

The board works collaboratively with its community to establish vision, values and strategic priorities. Establishing clearer measures of success should enable the board to measure progress and evaluate how well practices support the realisation of goals and vision.

The board's ongoing commitment to biculturalism is evident through planned initiatives to support teachers to promote te āo Māori in the curriculum and to develop culturally appropriate practices. Senior leaders are focused on developing initiatives to better determine the impact of curriculum delivery and teaching and learning in each kindergarten.

The association should establish clear expectations for the purpose and use of assessment, planning and evaluation in kindergartens. Professional leaders, in partnership with teaching teams should then monitor the effective implementation of:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • review and internal evaluation.

In addition, the association should establish a system for the ongoing monitoring of compliance with legislative requirements, including practices related to health and safety.

Key Next Steps

ERO identified that the next steps for improvement are to:

  • develop shared understandings of assessment, planning and evaluation

  • continue to strengthen the bicultural programme and understanding and promotion of te ao Māori

  • build understanding and use of review and internal evaluation

  • strengthen the appraisal process

  • regularly review and update health and safety procedures and practices to align with association policies.

The association should:

  • strengthen the processes used to evaluate the progress of the strategic plan

  • provide effective guidance and monitoring of association expectations related to assessment practice, review and internal evaluation and health and safety practices. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Bell Block Pohutakawa 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

Action for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to the curriculum. To meet curriculum requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas. Teachers should clearly demonstrate how:

  • the curriculum is informed by assessment, planning and evaluation (documented and undocumented) that reflects children's learning, their interests, whānau and life contexts

  • practices of adults providing education and care determines an understanding of children's learning and development.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2 & C4

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 Bell Block Pohutakawa Kindergarten will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

19 January 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 Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

31 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 17, Girls 16

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

19 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

February 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.