Ferndale Kindergarten - 14/09/2017

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 is licensed to provide care and education for 40 children between two and five years of age. Most children enrolled attend full-day sessions similar to school hours. Some places are reserved for children to attend morning sessions only, in line with parents' wishes. The roll includes low numbers of Māori and Asian children.

The qualified teaching team has three full-time teachers, including a new head teacher who has held this leadership role for a year. One part-time teacher has also been appointed. The teaching team is supported by an administrator, a teacher aide and a teaching assistant.

The kindergarten's philosophy values respectful relationships and child-led learning through play. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, guides the philosophy, and promotes inclusion of all children and their families. The philosophy expresses a strong commitment to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, through meaningful integration of te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme.

The 2014 ERO report noted that children were capable, confident learners who sustained their play well and extended their own interests. The well-resourced environment offered children a wide range of choice and new learning experiences. The report identified development priorities that included increasing bicultural practices, and further developing programme planning and evaluation. Good progress has been made in these areas.

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 11 reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children and their parents and whānau are welcomed into the kindergarten. Teachers develop positive and responsive relationships with children. They listen to children's ideas and opinions, and explore deeper meaning and learning opportunities with them. Children are articulate and skilled communicators who develop and maintain friendships.

Teachers provide a well-organised environment to encourage children to lead their learning. They are designing resource catalogues to help children to choose resources to support their play, and sustain their learning. Extended periods of uninterrupted play allow children to develop their thinking and play, and explore their own learning theories.

Teachers know the children well. They identify children's interests and learning dispositions, and develop plans to extend children's learning. Assessment records show an increasing complexity in children's learning. Children's learning experiences are shared with parents through assessment portfolios and online learning stories.

Teachers provide a broad curriculum based on the principles of Te Whāriki. Teachers provide meaningful opportunities for children to learn about literacy, make sense of their world, and be creative and imaginative. Natural science and environmental sustainability practices are relevantly integrated in the programme. Teachers have begun to use children's perspectives to contribute to programme planning, and to extend children's learning.

Teachers' commitment to bicultural teaching practices has resulted in enriched learning environments that reflect both Māori and Pākehā world views. Teachers provide meaningful opportunities for children to learn about tikanga and te reo Māori through pōwhiri, karakia, pepeha, waiata and story-telling. Teachers are mindful of including parents' perspectives through consultation, to gain their ideas about changes and improvements. Parents who spoke with ERO support the implementation of bicultural practices.

The head teacher provides strong leadership for the kindergarten. She is building teaching capacity through professional development for teachers, and makes opportunities for individual teachers to lead projects. Teachers are deepening their knowledge about effective teaching and learning through readings, research, and sharing one another's professional experiences.

Teachers are improvement focused. They use evaluation well to adapt learning environments, resourcing, and teaching approaches to provide meaningful learning experiences for children. The team reviews policies, practices and systems with a focus on embedding effective practice and shared understandings. The team's evaluation of the philosophy has resulted in positive outcomes for children's learning. The philosophy is being enacted well in teacher practice, children's learning, and the kindergarten's environment.

Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA’s strategic goals. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) aligns with the AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. The QIP helps the AKA and teachers to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement. 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 to enhance their current good quality provision for children, they should:

  • make children's cultural identities more visible in the environment and programmes

  • continue to grow teachers' leadership capacity.

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 four years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

14 September 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


Mount Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over two years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 22, Girls 40

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

14 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

December 2007

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.