Don Buck Kindergarten - 27/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Don Buck Kindergarten

How well placed is Don Buck 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.


Don Buck Kindergarten is located on the grounds of Don Buck Primary school in Auckland and is licensed for 40 children from two years to school age. The kindergarten's roll has a high percentage of Māori and Pacific children and others from diverse cultures.

The teaching team is new and consists of four registered teachers including the head teacher. A teacher aide and an administrator support the teaching team. The team is developing into a cohesive team that is focused on enhancing outcomes for children.

The kindergarten's philosophy is influenced by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers aim to foster a programme for children to grow as confident and competent lifelong learners who make a valuable contribution to society. The philosophy emphasises the team's commitment to having responsive and reciprocal relationships with parents and whānau.

The 2014 ERO report identified many positive features. Good progress has been made in relation to ERO's recommendations to continue to develop programme planning. Teachers have also strengthened internal evaluation and enhanced strategies for extending children's learning.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework. Professional support personnel assist teachers with curriculum, management and property matters.

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

The Review Findings

Children settle quickly into the programme when they arrive in the morning. They are familiar with the kindergarten routines and expectations that they will choose their play activities. Children are confident and play well together. They ask teachers for help and assistance as needed.

Teachers design the daily programme carefully. They set up the indoor and outdoor environments to support children's interests and learning. Teachers meet daily to discuss what learning they have noticed and what needs to be continued. They set up 'provocations' to stimulate learning and challenge children. Teachers may want to consider further ways to provoke children's curiosity and encourage children to contribute to daily programme design.

Children learn about gardening and how to look after their environment. Natural resources are highly valued. Teachers promote literacy, mathematics, science and technology as part of children's play.

Intentional teaching strategies supports different age groups, especially the younger children. Teachers could continue to consider balancing the programme so that older children are more challenged in their play. Teachers' strong partnership with the neighbouring school supports smooth, seamless transitions for children and families.

Teachers recognise and value community diversity and are committed to reflecting diverse cultures in their daily programmes. They aspire to be inclusive of children with diverse learning needs and cultural backgrounds. They are developing ways to increase their understanding and knowledge of whānau and the wider community. Teachers have a strong commitment to bicultural practices. They are working with whānau Māori to strengthen the bicultural programme and build on their professional knowledge.

Teachers have developed a programme template to promote positive outcomes for children and strengthen partnerships with parents and whānau. They revise assessment and planning processes regularly so they are more meaningful and contextualised.

Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA strategic goals. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) also aligns with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. It enables the AKA and teachers to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement for positive outcomes for children. The AKA continues to review its management and leadership structure. It has begun a process of internal evaluation to establish how effectively the four pillars of its strategic plan are resulting in more positive outcomes for children, their families, and the organisation.

Key Next Steps

The teaching team agrees that useful next steps to strengthen the programme include:

  • increasing the extent to which the programme and children's records reflect their cultural identity and language, and link to parents' aspirations

  • continuing to develop assessment and planning processes that show how children’s individual interests are noticed, responded to, and extended over time

  • evaluating how the programme supports children from diverse Pacific nations and other cultural backgrounds

  • strengthening and aligning the strategic plan to the annual business plan and measuring progress towards strategic goals.

The AKA has useful processes for supporting teachers’ ongoing professional development. This process could be strengthened by ensuring that teachers’ individual goals are measurable and based on the evaluation of teaching practices and their impact children’s learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Don Buck 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 Don Buck Kindergarten will be in three years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

27 October 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged from two years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26

Boys 16

Ethnic composition

South East Asia
Middle Eastern
other Ethnicities
other European


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

27 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

November 2011

Education Review

November 2008

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.