Birkenhead Kindergarten - 15/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Birkenhead Kindergarten

How well placed is Birkenhead 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.


Birkenhead Kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework and support personnel to assist the kindergarten. It is a well established service providing all day education and care for a maximum of 40 children over the age of two years. The kindergarten operates sessions for a maximum of 40 children in the mornings and 30 children in the afternoons. The staff team is long-serving and an experienced head teacher has recently been appointed. The families enrolled are culturally diverse and come from the local area.

The kindergarten’s philosophy is based on the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It incorporates a strong focus on the dual cultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand and on learning through play in a stimulating environment. It also values strong relationships with whānau and the wider kindergarten community.

The good practices identified in ERO's 2013 report continue to be evident. These include strong relationships with the community and good support for children’s developing literacy skills. Teachers have satisfactorily addressed the recommendations in the 2013 report.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are confident, inquisitive and friendly. They enjoy playing in groups and alongside adults. They have a strong sense of belonging in the centre. Children make decisions about their play and choose freely from the range of activities provided. They negotiate aspects of their play and collaborate well with each other. Children take care of resources and use the learning environment respectfully.

Leadership opportunities for children are promoted at various times in the programme, particularly during routines such as meal and mat times. Children's language skills are well developed and they talk confidently with teachers.

The programme is responsive to children's individual learning and developmental needs. Teachers are continuing to deepen their professional knowledge to strengthen their assessment, programme planning and evaluation. They use evaluation to improve the programme for children and to build on their professional practice. A recent evaluation that focused on improving the environment to better support learning has had a positive impact on children's engagement in sustained play.

Children's work is valued and is displayed so they can revisit their play experiences. Children's ideas and opinions are considered when teachers plan the programme. Opportunities to learn in mathematics, natural science and literacy are included in the programme.

Teachers have positive relationships with children and whānau and their interactions are respectful and genuine. Children are encouraged to be accepting and inclusive of each other. Teachers foster tuakana/teina relationships between older and younger children and promote the use of te reo Māori. They plan to strengthen these practices.

The head teacher is focused on improvement. Staff are now participating in collaborative decision-making and experienced teachers are providing higher level guidance to others. AKA personnel have supported staff through the recent changes.

AKA systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in kindergarten operations are well established. Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA strategic goals. The Association continues to review and refine its policies and procedures, including those for teacher appraisal and the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates.

New AKA roles have been established to provide more targeted support for head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) is aligned with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans, is informed by ongoing internal evaluation, monitors quality and promotes continual improvement in kindergartens. AKA support and guidance are responsive to each kindergarten’s individual context.

Key Next Steps

Teachers and AKA personnel agree that to enhance outcomes for children, they could:

  • strengthen cultural responsiveness through a bicultural curriculum that reflects the aspirations of whānau Māori and the cultural backgrounds of all children

  • make children's portfolios of learning a more useful record of the individual child’s learning journey and teachers' partnership with whānau

  • build on teachers' subject knowledge and identify the teacher's role in fostering learning to strengthen programme planning and evaluation

  • use internal evaluation and evidence-based practice to align the kindergarten's direction with the AKA strategic goals. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 March 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 


Birkenhead, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 33 Girls 29

Ethnic composition





South East Asian












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

December 2016

Date of this report

15 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

April 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.