Central Kids Kindergartens - Arohanui - 12/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Central Kids Kindergartens - Arohanui

How well placed is Central Kids Kindergartens - Arohanui 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.


Central Kids Kindergartens - Arohanui is located in Tokoroa, adjacent to Cargill Open Plan School. It provides education and care for 44 children from two years to school age, including 23 children of Māori descent. The kindergarten operates 6 hour sessions, Monday to Friday from 8.45a.m to 2.45p.m.

Central North Island Kindergarten Trust continues to provide effective strategic direction for the kindergarten in accordance with its vision, expected educational outcomes, and values. The trust also specifies strategies for respecting Te Tiriti o Waitangi and delivering the principles and strands of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. The trust’s professional leaders monitor individual kindergarten compliance with policies, procedures, trust expectations and regulatory requirements. Teachers have generous professional development opportunities to grow their teaching and leadership skills.

The teaching team has made significant progress in addressing the areas for development identified in the July 2012 ERO report. These areas include professional leadership, annual planning, and strengthening reflection and self review to improve the quality of teaching, planning and assessment practices. The report also identified the need to strengthen partnerships with parents and whānau. Since Term 3 2013, the team has received ongoing professional support to implement ERO’s recommendations and support Māori learners to achieve success as Māori.

The teaching team consists of four qualified ECE teachers. Three have worked at this kindergarten for many years, and were joined by the newest member in February 2015. At times, the kindergarten uses equity funding to employ a teacher aide to give teachers more time to establish relationships with whānau or to work with children who require additional support.

The teaching team’s philosophy is to:

  • provide an unhurried, homelike environment where children experience love, sensitive and caring interactions, consistency, continuity, trust and empowerment
  • recognise families’ diverse cultures and involve them as partners in their children’s learning.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews within the Central North Island Kindergarten Trust.

The Review Findings

Children play well with and alongside others, and often engage in sustained, cooperative and imaginative play. Friendships are very evident, and older children often look after their younger peers. Children express themselves creatively through music and art, and enjoy using poi, performing action songs and learning about Māori atua (guardians). They demonstrate a love of books and counting. Children particularly enjoy setting themselves physical challenges and caring for animals.

Teachers’ interactions with children are positive and affirming. They skilfully foster children’s independence and development of self-help, social, language and physical skills. Teachers frequently read to children and integrate learning about literacy, mathematics and science concepts in meaningful ways.

Whole team professional development has expanded teachers’ knowledge and understanding of best practice in early childhood education. This significantly improved the quality of learning programme through an increased emphasis on children:

  • leading their own learning, following their “urges and passions” and setting up the environment
  • using portable, open-ended resources and equipment to extend imaginative play
  • exploring Papatuanuku (nature) and outdoor environments
  • learning about te reo, tikanga and te ao Māori.

Teachers provide a spacious, attractively presented and well-resourced learning environment that incorporates aspects te ao Māori. They are also aware of the need to focus more on acknowledging the languages, cultures and identities of other children.

Strong partnerships between staff, parents, whānau and the local community are underpinned by trusting, respectful and inclusive relationships. Strategies for building relationships with new families and settling new children are very effective. Teachers are very welcoming and responsive to the diverse needs and aspirations of families and whānau. They keep parents well informed about their children’s learning and progress, through digital and written portfolios, and informal discussions. They also explain changes in their teaching practice. Teachers could also make better use of displays to children’s emerging learning and interests more visible, encourage children to revisit their learning, and enhance literacy learning.

Since 2013, teachers have significantly improved the quality of planning and assessment practices. Examples of high quality practices include learning stories that affirm:

  • family relationships and what children and their families know
  • what individual children like to do, how they learn, what drives their learningand their progress over time
  • conversations with family members and the use of Māori concepts to describe learning.

Teachers fortnightly share what they and families know about individual children and develop plans to extend their learning. These plans often focus on continuing to provide resources. A useful next step for teachers would be to identify strategies to foster children’s in-depth exploration of learning and interests in a variety of curriculum areas.

The head teacher has developed a more open, collaborative and consultative style of leadership. This is contributing to a positive team culture, where team members’ strengths, interests and passions are valued and extended for the benefit of the kindergarten community.

Professional leaders employed by the trust provide strong and professional support for the head teacher and teaching team. This includes ongoing high quality coaching, mentoring and professional development opportunities. The professional leaders and head teacher have placed a strong emphasis on building leadership capacity. This has assisted the development of:

  • robust self review, focused on improving teaching practice and outcomes for children
  • a shared philosophy and approach to teaching
  • clear alignment between the Central Kids Trust, annual plan, staff appraisal and professional development goals
  • a culture of professional sharing and reflection about teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

The professional leader and teaching team have identified, and ERO agrees, that the key next steps for the team are to:

  • continue to explore ways to better support Māori learners to achieve success as Māori
  • more consistently provide opportunities for children to engage and connect with te reo, tikanga and te ao Māori, and the identities of local tangata whenua and kindergarten whānau
  • use the Ministry of Education guidelines Te Whātu Pōkeka to strengthen assessment practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Central Kids Kindergartens - Arohanui 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 Central Kids Kindergartens - Arohanui will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 January 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



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

Boys 24 Girls 24

Ethnic composition



Other European

Cook Island









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

November 2015

Date of this report

12 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2012


Education Review

July 2009


Education Review

August 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.