Botany Downs Kindergarten - 29/04/2016

1 Evaluation of Botany Downs Kindergarten

How well placed is Botany Downs 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.


Botany Downs Kindergarten in Howick is licensed for up to 40 children aged over two years and offers sessions that are similar to school hours. Most of the children attending live locally and are from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework to support kindergarten operations. The kindergarten is staffed by four qualified teachers.

The centre’s philosophy values child-initiated learning and expresses commitment to high quality practices. These aspects are acknowledged and evident in the programme. The programme is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The kindergarten has a very positive reporting history with ERO. The 2013 ERO report noted many positive features of the kindergarten that included the high quality programme for children, and the highly reflective teaching team. These features have continued to be maintained. Teachers have further adapted routines and the curriculum to provide children with meaningful learning opportunities.

The AKA restructure in 2015 has introduced new responsibilities and ways of working for both AKA and kindergarten personnel. A period of transition is continuing for staff as they develop their understanding and competence in relation to new roles and systems.

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

The Review Findings

Children enjoy sustained, cooperative play with their peers. They display confidence in their own abilities, and in conversations with each other and adults. Teachers' respectful, positive interactions with children support them to settle into the centre. Children have access to a wide range of high quality resources. The outdoor area provides opportunities for children to create imaginative play in a natural environment. The use of natural resources is a key feature of the kindergarten.

Teachers know the children and their families well. They develop programmes specifically to support children in their learning and development. Teachers model ways for children to extend their thinking and take leadership roles. They ensure that the curriculum is inclusive and responsive to children with special needs so that these children can participate in the programme alongside their peers.

The curriculum highly values children's identities, cultures and languages. These are visible in the learning resources, stories and displays around the centre. Teachers provide a bicultural curriculum that promotes the Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles of partnership, participation and protection, and incorporates te ao Māori values, beliefs and language. These principles are also relevant and applied for children and families from Pacific and other cultures.

Teachers have developed useful ways to plan, assess and evaluate children’s learning. Portfolios provide records of individual children’s interests and involvement in the programme. Teachers encourage children to contribute to setting goals for their learning.

Teachers maintain respectful relationships with families. Parents value opportunities to communicate with teachers about their children. Strong partnerships with parents and whānau are helping children to have a sense of ownership and belonging in the kindergarten. Teachers are networking with local schools and agencies to support children and their families as they make the transition to school.

Robust self review and clear long term goals guide continual improvement. The teaching team makes good use of self-review information to adapt and enhance current practices. The head teacher's long-term leadership is a key feature in sustaining high quality provision for children.

AKA support and guidance is responsive to each kindergarten's individual context. New AKA positions are providing more targeted support for head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A new Quality Improvement Process (QIP) is aligned with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. This process monitors quality, and promotes ongoing improvement in the kindergartens.

Key Next Steps

To enhance their current good quality provision for children, teachers plan to:

  • strengthen their use of te reo Māori in the context of children's play

  • develop the annual action plan to support teachers to achieve their professional learning goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Botany Downs 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 Botany Downs Kindergarten will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 April 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


Howick, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 29, Boys 26

Ethnic composition

















Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

29 April 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2013

Education Review

February 2010

Education Review

October 2006

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.