Ferndale Kindergarten - 14/04/2014

1 Evaluation of Ferndale Kindergarten

How well placed is Ferndale 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.


Ferndale Kindergarten, in Mt Albert, provides early childhood education for up to 40 children from around three years old to school age. The kindergarten has very recently changed to the kindergarten day model, which enables children to attend for six hour days or for morning sessions.

The kindergarten has started 2014 on a positive note with the appointment of a permanent teaching team, following three years of numerous but unavoidable staff changes. While the quality of the programme was maintained for children during the changes, the head teacher is looking forward to the developments that can be achieved with a stable team of four permanent qualified teachers and support staff.

Ferndale Kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) and operates within the policies and management framework of this organisation. A professional services manager (PSM) visits regularly and provides professional advice and support for teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children attending the centre are very capable and enjoy the spacious, richly resourced environment. They share their ideas confidently with each other and adults. They sustain their play well, particularly when their learning is extended through their own interests.

Teachers have warm relationships with children and families. Children have positive relationships with each other, and many play in friendship pairs or small groups. Children demonstrate good social skills such as inclusiveness, turn-taking, and empathy. They are supported very well by teachers to develop these skills.

The programme offers a wide range of choice and integrates music, performance, literacy and numeracy. The planned introduction of an enviro-school's focus should offer new opportunities for children and families to contribute to the kindergarten programme.

Good quality assessment practices are in place to monitor children’s learning. Assessment stories in children’s portfolios highlight what children are learning and how they are progressing. As many children begin at kindergarten with good competency levels, the challenge for the teaching team is to make sure that the programme provided is suitably stimulating to offer children new learning experiences. Improving the programme planning process and documentation should help them to achieve this.

The teaching team recognises that their understanding of bicultural practice needs to be further strengthened. Development in this area should help all children to understand the richness of New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage, and provide more responsive support for children and their whānau who identify as Māori. Some initiatives in this area are already underway.

The kindergarten’s focus for 2013 was making the shift from a sessional kindergarten to one that provides day-long education and care for children. Refurbishments to the indoor environment also occurred, causing some further disruption for the kindergarten. Toward the end of 2013, staff started to review their routines, practices and values with support from the PSM. The permanent teaching team is now well positioned to develop a more in-depth process for self review that will help them to make further shifts in their practice.

The Auckland Kindergarten Association continues to provide strong governance for kindergartens.  The association continues to expand its strategies to build professional leadership across the organisation. It has diversified the delivery of professional learning and development (PLD) to keep teachers up-to-date with current theory and initiatives. Teaching teams are well supported by the AKA to continue to strengthen quality outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Teachers, the PSM and ERO agree that key next steps for the kindergarten should include:

  • children having more ‘autonomy’ over their environment, the daily timetable and their learning
  • ensuring that the bicultural curriculum is based on an increasingly in-depth knowledge of te ao Māori concepts, knowledge, skills and beliefs
  • visioning PLD to help ensure that the strategic plan reflects the team’s values and is translated into action through manageable plans
  • developing effective programme planning and self review to manage and monitor improvements.

The 2014 review of the AKA strategic plan should provide an effective way for kindergarten staff to contribute to the ongoing development of the association.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

30 April 2014

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Mt Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 31

Girls 25

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā















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

February 2014

Date of this report

30 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2011


Education Review

December 2007


Education Review

November 2004

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.