Finlayson Park Kindergarten - 26/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Finlayson Park Kindergarten

How well placed is Finlayson Park 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.


Finlayson Park Kindergarten is located adjacent to Finlayson Park School and is licensed for 40 children over two years old. The kindergarten offers six hour sessions that align with school hours. It is part of the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association and operates within the policies and management framework of this organisation. A professional practice manager (PPM) visits regularly and provides leadership and curriculum support for teachers.

There have been several changes in the teaching team since mid-2015. The head teacher is new to the position and two other teachers are also new appointments. The teachers, who are all fully registered, work collaboratively to serve the multicultural community. They celebrate diversity, catering well for children with special needs and those who are new to speaking English.

In 2013 ERO identified several positive features of the service including the quality of relationships, bicultural practices and teaching strategies that challenged children's thinking. These practices continue to be strengths of the kindergarten. Teachers were developing programme planning and assessment strategies. The new team continues to strengthen its effectiveness in these areas. Teachers have also reviewed and developed their teaching philosophy which provides a framework for internal evaluation.

This review was part of a cluster of four kindergarten reviews in the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are enthusiastic learners who show a sense of belonging and feeling safe in the kindergarten. They enjoy positive and respectful relationships with teachers and contribute to conversations about their play. Children play cooperatively in small groups and are learning to persist with difficult tasks and to deepen their thinking. They benefit from the kindergarten focus on sustainable practices and having a connection with the land. They have become keen gardeners, confident cooks and interested explorers as they investigate their neighbourhood.

Teachers skilfully engage children in learning. They have very effective strategies to maintain a calm environment that enables children to focus on purposeful play and respect one another. Teachers foster oral language with meaningful conversations and questions that help to extend children’s ideas. Teachers have a strong commitment to success for all children which is reflected in their thoughtful use of equity funding, their priority focus on children with special needs and their enthusiasm for growing bicultural practices. They have identified the need to develop further their knowledge of their Pacific communities and how the programme can become more responsive to these smaller groups.

Teachers focus the programme on children's individual strengths and interests. They are involved in ongoing professional development to enhance their planning and assessment strategies. Daily team meetings enable teachers to track children's learning efficiently and respond quickly to developing interests. Teachers also reflect each day on the effectiveness of their learning plans. They document children's learning well but have recognised their next step is to improve continuity between learning stories and making their roles in extending learning more visible.

Parents and whānau are interested partners in their children's learning. Teachers actively foster family involvement through a parents’ support group, regular informal discussions and centre events. Attractive displays enable parents and whānau to be well informed about the programme and teaching practices, to share stories from home, and provide teachers with feedback when learning is celebrated in children's portfolios. Parents who were interviewed by ERO appreciate the welcoming, family friendly environment and the positive relationships their children share with teachers. They value how well teachers know their children and respond to their interests and cultural identity.

The kindergarten is well managed. The head teacher is a collaborative leader who distributes responsibilities and values the different skills and knowledge each teacher and support staff member brings to the team. Together staff work effectively to operate the centre and achieve development goals. Effective association support has helped teachers become established as a new team and confidently manage challenges as they arise. They have well established internal evaluation processes that are resulting in very positive outcomes for children.

The Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association continues to support the kindergartens well. Leaders establish overarching long term goals that enable teachers to align their centre development with the strategic direction of the Association. They are responsive to changing community needs and have prepared teachers well to face the challenges of increased competition, the intake of two year olds and providing variable session hours. Leaders continue to adapt personnel systems to meet legislative changes, including a revised appraisal process to help teachers meet certification expectations.

Key Next Steps

The teachers and the PPM agree that the key next steps for the kindergarten’s development should include:

  • ongoing development of planning, assessment and evaluation in accordance with their professional development goals
  • considering a measurable plan to guide their focus on children's oral language development
  • continuing to build relationships with the local community and marae.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

26 September 2016

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


Manurewa, 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 26

Ethnic composition





Cook Island Māori










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

June 2016

Date of this report

26 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

February 2010

Education Review

June 2005

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.