Devon Kindergarten - 09/10/2013

1 Evaluation of Devon Kindergarten

How well placed is Devon 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.


Devon Kindergarten is one of 16 kindergartens managed by the North Taranaki Kindergarten Association (the association). The association governing board is responsible for setting overall strategic and policy direction for the organisation. Senior teachers are employed by the association to support teaching and learning.

The service is licensed for 34 children aged from two to five years. Children enrol from a wide geographical area and most transition to four neighbourhood schools. The kindergarten is situated in New Plymouth and enjoys, through the Heart Health programme, a close relationship with adjacent Devon Intermediate. Four qualified and registered teachers are employed.

A philosophy that values respectful relationships, celebrates the child as a unique individual and acknowledges the importance of language, culture and identity is evident in teachers’ practice. The natural environment, including a newly designed outdoor space, provides challenge for children and encourages exploration.

The kindergarten has a positive reporting history with ERO. Areas for development in the August 2010 ERO report have been considered thoughtfully and responded to positively.

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

The Review Findings

Board members undertake regular training and have developed useful processes to support governance roles and responsibilities. The senior teacher provides ongoing support and guidance for teachers. She promotes regular professional development opportunities and useful systems that are focused on positive outcomes for children.

Children, parents and teachers contributed to the kindergarten’s in-depth review of the philosophy and vision for the future. Everything that happens, from planning and assessment, working with parents, and ongoing self review is linked in meaningful ways to improve practice.

Children persevere and sustain their interest in chosen activities. Teachers encourage them to lead and engage in conversation. Information and communication technologies are used confidently throughout the day. Children have many opportunities to read, write and explore number. Teachers know the children well and respond positively to individuals. Children with special needs are actively supported to engage with others and with learning.

Relationships among children, parents and teachers are happy and mutually respectful. Parents’ aspirations for their children are more clearly expressed following a review of planning and assessment. Learning stories record children’s progress and development at kindergarten and at home. Planning follows the child’s current and developing interests and shows how teachers intend to respond. Parents actively engage in the curriculum through daily conversation with teachers and joining their children in the programme. Children’s diverse cultural backgrounds are celebrated and enjoyed by the kindergarten families.

Teachers take a deliberate approach to including children’s language, culture and identity, especially those of Māori, in the curriculum. Relationships and partnerships for learning are well considered as a result of ongoing self review. Teachers integrate their knowledge of te ao Māori through the programme and continue to build their own capability. The initiative to grow links with iwi is likely to result in further, positive outcomes for children and their families.

Children engage in imaginative play with a wide range of resources to support their interests. They are confident and independent. Teachers’ commitment to children’s holistic development and sense of belonging is evident in the interactions between adults and children.

Self review follows a sound process with parents playing a key role. A good level of response is achieved. Contributions are reflected in changes made recently to children’s portfolios, planning and assessment. Teachers are motivated to lead new initiatives and achieve the service’s goals. The head teacher encourages shared leadership and focuses on improvement.

Children’s social and emotional wellbeing is a high priority for teachers as children transition to school. Supportive information, reciprocal visits and sharing information from portfolios are part of the process. Particular attention is given to seamless transition for children with more complex needs.

Key Next Steps

Teachers’ evaluative review capacity continues to develop. Appropriate next steps include:

  • continuing to ensure that self review questions help to identify clear indicators for successful outcomes
  • reflecting on deliberate strategies to introduce greater complexity in teachers’ conversations with children
  • leading curriculum-based, capable early childhood learner conversations with schools to enhance children’s transition.

The association should continue to review appraisal and consider formal critique of teaching practice and feedback processes to improve teaching and learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Devon 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 Devon Kindergarten will be in three years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager

Review Services Central Region (Acting)

9 October 2013

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

34 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 36

Girls 19

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Other ethnic groups





Percentage of qualified staff

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

August 2013

Date of this report

9 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2010


Education Review

December 2006


Education Review

December 2003

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.