Doris Nicholson Kindergarten - 17/10/2013

1 Evaluation of Doris Nicholson Kindergarten

How well placed is Doris Nicholson 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.


Doris Nicholson Kindergarten is situated at the north end of Māoribank, Upper Hutt. It attracts families from as far as Kaitoke through to the southern end of Upper Hutt. It is licensed for children aged two years and over, 40 children in the mornings five days per week, and 20 children in the afternoon three days per week.

The teaching team has been together since the May 2010 ERO report. Significant developments have been made in response to ERO’s previous report. The kindergarten is part of an assessment project funded by Rimutaka Kindergarten Association (the association). Teachers, in consultation with parents and the wider community, have reviewed the philosophy. This strongly underpins the programme for children, parents and whānau, and teachers.

The association coordinates the Upper Hutt Professional Learning Community (UPLC) cluster. This focuses on teachers from both the early childhood and primary sectors regularly meeting to support positive transitions to school for children. Doris Nicholson Kindergarten is part of this cluster.

The Rimutaka Kindergarten Association governs the kindergarten effectively, and provides senior teacher support. The association is committed to maintaining the ratio of 100% qualified teachers. Well-developed policy guidelines clearly outline association expectations for developing the programme and managing day-to-day operations.

This review was part of a cluster of eleven kindergarten reviews in the association.

The Review Findings

Teachers are welcoming, positive and respectful. They have developed effective partnerships with parents and families and are highly responsive to children’s individual needs, strengths and skills. Teachers use a range of strategies to support, encourage, challenge and extend learning. Movement and dance, problem solving, literacy and numeracy are well integrated in the programme. A strong culture of children being valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning is highly evident.

Children play well both independently and in groups of their choosing for sustained periods of time. The environment provides ample opportunities for children to challenge themselves, take safe risks, explore, be creative and imaginative. It is calm, and conducive to learning. Children and teachers have fun as part of the learning process.

Te reo Māori is used by teachers throughout the programme and appropriate tikanga practices are well implemented in routines. Sign language is highly valued and regularly used by teachers and children.

Children with special needs are planned for and well monitored. They are supported effectively and included in the daily programme. Teachers work with parents and families, external agencies and teachers of local schools to support these priority learners in their learning and development. Some teachers have expertise in early intervention and provide support and leadership across the association. Teachers support all parents and children during transitions to school.

Self-review processes are well understood and outcomes of self review are evident in practice. A focus on assessment and planning through the association funded research project supports teachers to make more relevant, purposeful and focused observations of children’s learning. Assessment practice is strong and related to the individual needs of children and shows good progress over time. It is very well aligned to the kindergarten’s philosophy.

The head teacher is a strong leader and provides many opportunities for teachers to share leadership roles and work collaboratively. All teachers have the opportunity to lead in areas of their expertise with other kindergartens in the association.

Senior teachers provide well-targeted, ongoing support and guidance for staff. They promote regular professional development opportunities and useful systems that are focused on positive outcomes for children. The recently implemented performance appraisal process has the potential to better promote teachers' practices.

Key Next Steps

ERO’s external evaluation, teachers and leaders agree that key next steps are to:

  • evaluate the research project, at its completion, to identify how it has improved learning outcomes for children and strengthened teaching practice
  • continue to strengthen teachers’ understandings of success for Māori, as Māori, and success for Pacific children, and continue to support these priority learners to experience success through their own identity, language and culture.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Doris Nicholson 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 Doris Nicholson Kindergarten will be in four years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

17 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


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged 2 and over (morning)

20 children aged 2 and over (afternoon)

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 33, Girls 31

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

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

August 2013

Date of this report

17 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2010


Education Review

January 2007


Education Review

April 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.