Devon Kindergarten - 19/01/2017

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 provides education and care for children from two to five years of age. The kindergarten is open five days a week for six hours and is licenced for up to 34 children. Within these hours, sessional care and education is also provided. Of the roll of 46, nine identify as Māori.

The newly established teaching team is fully qualified and the programme is further assisted by support staff. There have been some staff changes since the October 2013 report.

The kindergarten is one of 24 governed by the newly established Kindergarten Taranaki (the association), formerly North and South Taranaki Kindergarten Associations. A chief executive was appointed to lead the association in 2014. Three professional leaders are employed by the association to provide professional support and guidance to teachers.

The previous ERO report identified areas requiring further development. These included self review, the quality of teacher-child interactions and transition to school. Progress is evident in these areas. In addition, the 2013 and October 2015 ERO reviews identified key next steps for the association. Progress in addressing these is ongoing.

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

The Review Findings

Children's independence is promoted through the play-based programme. Children confidently participate in these well-established kindergarten routines. Children play collaboratively in groups of their own choosing and have opportunities to reflect and build on prior learning. Literacy experiences are thoughtfully integrated throughout the curriculum.

Teachers work alongside children and use a range of effective teaching strategies to support, guide and extend their play and learning. Children with additional learning needs are identified, supported and monitored over time. Teachers liaise with external agencies where appropriate. 

There are many opportunities for children to hear te reo Māori and participate in aspects of tikanga. The curriculum reflects local context and celebrates places of significance for Māori. Teachers continue to build their capability in this area. These strong foundations and association guidance should support teachers' ongoing understanding and focus on promoting educational success for Māori children.

A strong sense of belonging is evident for all. Children's families are encouraged to share aspects of their culture which assists children in developing an understanding of the multicultural community in which they live. Further investigation of the Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017 and consideration for what it means for this context is a useful next step.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises children's learning through play, respectful relationships, rich learning opportunities and bicultural practice. These are clearly evident in practice. Distributed leadership is promoted. A collaborative team shows a strong commitment to this philosophy.

Positive changes to the process of assessment, planning and evaluation recently occurred. Teachers note children's interests, recognise the learning evident and this information is shared with their parents. Teachers then plan for the child's learning. As this process develops further, consideration should be given to clearly:

  • identify the learning intent for the child

  • show consultation with parents related to the learning

  • highlight how the child's learning has progressed over time.

Teachers support children's successful transition to school through the reciprocal relationships they have established with some of their local schools.

Ongoing learning has supported teachers to understand the need to develop a clear and specific process for review and evaluation. This approach should be further strengthened through the use of well-defined and measurable indicators, against which teachers gather a robust range of evidence. Such practice should better assist teachers in forming their evaluative judgements about the quality of the programme and outcomes for children.

A useful appraisal process supports teacher improvement. The association has recently revised the appraisal procedure, this now includes the use of formal observations of teacher practice. Once fully established this should assist leaders to strengthen the process. Professional leaders should then undertake regular monitoring of practice and evaluate how well appraisal is being implemented in each kindergarten.

The board works collaboratively with its community to establish vision, values and strategic priorities. Establishing clearer measures of success should enable the board to measure progress and evaluate how well practices support realisation of goals and vision.

The board's ongoing commitment to biculturalism is reflected through initiatives to support teachers to promote te ao Māori in the curriculum and to develop culturally responsive practices. Senior association leaders are focused on developing initiatives to better determine the impact of curriculum delivery and teaching and learning in each kindergarten. 

The association should establish clear expectations of the purpose and use of assessment, planning and evaluation in kindergartens. Professional leaders in partnership with teaching teams should then monitor the effective implementation of:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • review and internal evaluation.

In addition, the association should establish a system for the ongoing monitoring of compliance with legislative requirements, including those related to health and safety.

Key Next Steps

ERO and kindergarten teachers agree that the key next steps are to:

  • work with the association with a shared focus on enhancing educational success for Māori and Pacific learners

  • continue to develop the approach to assessment, planning and evaluation

  • further strengthen review and internal evaluation.

The association should:

  • strengthen the processes used to evaluate the progress of the strategic plan

  • provide effective guidance and monitoring of association expectations related to assessment practice, review and internal evaluation and health and safety practices.

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.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

19 January 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


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

Girls 29, Boys 17

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





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 2016

Date of this report

19 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

December 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.