Central Kids Kindergartens - Otorohanga - 05/11/2015

1. Evaluation of Central Kids Kindergartens - Otorohanga

How well placed is Central Kids Kindergartens - Otorohanga 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 - Otorohanga is located centrally in the township of Otorohanga. It caters for up to 40 children between the two years and school age. Currently, 49 children are attending, of whom 23 are identified as Māori, 3 are Pacific and 22 are Pākehā. The centre provides school-day programmes between 8.45 am and 2.45 pm. It maintains the required teacher ratio of 1 teacher for every 10 children.

The kindergarten continues to employ four experienced teachers, and in addition there are two teacher aides, one of whom is full time. A kuia attends weekly to assist teachers, and children’s learning in te ao Māori, which has been a major focus of development.

The kindergarten has a positive reporting history. Since the 2012 ERO review it has undertaken an extensive review of the processes for easing children’s transition to school. As a result, the kindergarten has worked in cooperation with schools to help children to feel more at ease as they transition. Teachers have worked in a variety of ways to grow their understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori. They have hosted events and celebrations that include children as active participants and involve local kaumātua. Teachers’ professional development and learning also includes an emphasis on understanding Māori ways of raising children as confident, competent learners who are secure in their identity.

The kindergarten is well-supported by the Central North Island Kindergarten Trust. The trust’s strategic direction sets out the service’s vision, expected educational outcomes, and values. It also defines the strategies for delivering the principles and strands of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki, and for respecting Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The trust’s professional leaders monitor the kindergarten’s compliance with the organisation’s policies and procedures to ensure regulation requirements and management expectations are met. Kindergarten teachers have generous opportunities to attend professional development opportunities to grow their teaching and leadership skills.

This review was part of a cluster of seven kindergarten reviews in the Central North Island Kindergarten Trust.

The Review Findings

Children are well settled and confident. They benefit from opportunities for sustained play in a settled and welcoming environment. Teachers nurture children, are sensitive to their interests, and respond to their needs. Children are well-supported to develop their oral language and their thinking skills. They are actively involved in outdoor play and enjoy exploring a wide variety of interesting activities. Children and teachers have strong, respectful relationships. Children are empowered to take increasing responsibility for themselves and others, and to take on a teaching role. Tuakana-teina relationships are strongly evident. At mat time, they join in reciting a whakataukī to bless the day, and in singing waiata with respect and enthusiasm.

Te Whāriki underpins the programme. Teachers are increasingly aware of the importance of the prior knowledge children bring to kindergarten. They use Māori perspectives such as manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, kotahitanga, and ako to talk about children’s learning. As a result, te ao Māori is a strong and vibrant feature of the kindergarten programme.

Teachers focus on children’s emerging interests as a vehicle for learning. They have an ongoing practice of developing the environment as a highly effective resource and prompt for learning. Through their teaching interactions they affirm children’s language and culture, and support them to deepen their understanding of the world around them. They respect children’s right to express a point of view and be involved in decisions. Children are becoming competent, confident learners, and have fun.

Mathematics and early literacy are integrated as a natural part of the programme. Children are gaining skills in communication, creativity and in developing and maintaining social relationships. Children’s individual profiles contain information about children’s identity and about the learning that is inherent in the programme. Teachers describe the learning and make it visible to children and parents/whānau. Teachers use a variety of frameworks, both Māori and non-Māori.

Teachers have developed welcoming and inclusive relationships with parents. They respect parents’ views and respond effectively to parent aspirations for their children. Parents spoken to by ERO appreciated teachers’ approachability, their focus on te ao Māori, and on building strong relationships with families and whānau.

Teachers recognise that children’s successful transition to school depends on the quality of relationships developed between the child, kindergarten, teachers, parents and school. They have introduced successful strategies to strengthen these relationships including transition to school profiles, photographs of recent graduates, and picture books about features of local schools. The kindergarten continues to liaise with new entrant teachers.

Teachers have a unified vision and understanding of the philosophy for the goals of the service. They work collaboratively to ensure positive outcomes for children. Leadership within the team is shared, fostered and encouraged. Professional development is highly valued, aligned to the strategic and annual plan, and is well balanced between team and individual teacher goals.

Teachers use self review to look in-depth at aspects of the curriculum. They use extensive, up-to-date research, survey multiple stakeholders, and include teacher reflection and evaluation. Positive outcomes for children are strongly evident as a result.

Key Next Steps

Teachers recognise the importance of collecting and sharing local stories and histories to support the enhancement of children’s identity. ERO supports their intention to follow the guidance of a supportive local kuia, who has advised the team to initially build trusting relationships with local iwi. Their next step is to seek opportunities to demonstrate the skills and dispositions of acting as respectful manuhiri.

Teachers use assessment to identify children’s strengths, interests and dispositions. Improving systems for recognising and tracking progress in the complexity of children's learning would strengthen programme planning and intentional teaching.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

5 November 2015

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 aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 29 Girls 20

Ethnic composition



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

September 2015

Date of this report

5 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

October 2012


Education Review

August 2009


Education Review

December 2006

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.

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.