Fossil Bay Kindergarten - 22/08/2014

1 Evaluation of Fossil Bay Kindergarten

How well placed is Fossil Bay 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.


Fossil Bay Kindergarten, on Waiheke Island, provides sessional education and care for up to 44 children from three to six years of age. The kindergarten’s community is culturally diverse. The kindergarten operates in several age-related groups in rooms designed to promote aspects of Rudolf Steiner educational goals.

Fossil Bay Kindergarten operates under a proprietors’ trust with a centre manager taking responsibility for decisions about the daily operation of the centre. Partnership with parents is an intrinsic feature of the centre and is a current focus of self review. Since the 2011 ERO review, more parents have been invited to join the trust.

Steiner education has a focus on developing the whole child. The programme places significant emphasis on imaginative, self-directed play, children’s emotional growth and oral language. These features blend well with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The majority of teachers are fully qualified. Teachers in each room work with an assistant teacher and roles are clearly defined to ensure a smooth flow to the day. Children attend a minimum of two days a week.

The Review Findings

Children are settled, engaged and comfortable in the centre. Teachers’ greetings to children and their families set the quiet, calm tone to the day. Children quickly settle on arrival and participate well in their chosen area of play. Games are often shared with other children. Open-ended and natural materials generate imaginative play. Creativity is especially valued, with the focus being on homely crafts, food preparation and art work. The seasonal festivals celebrated by teachers, children and families add to the pleasing predictability and community spirit evident in the centre.

Children respond to and enjoy the routines and rhythm of the day that support the centre's focus on children’s wellbeing and emotional safety. The blend of more formal opportunities and the freedom at other times provide an easy pattern to guide the day. Children are made aware of their own capabilities through teacher expectations that they will be independent and self managing.

Children’s love of stories is strongly fostered in story-times. Teachers’ use puppets and small props to lend extra drama and excitement to their stories. Children frequently replay these stories and use the props to further develop their imaginative play.

Teachers successfully integrate a focus on te reo and tikanga Māori in their programmes. Children sing waiata, hear and respond to te reo Māori and are told Māori legends as part of group times. Teachers are aware of the need to continue to develop these good foundations for celebrating the language, identity and culture of Māori children, as well as for all children.

Teachers have used self review effectively to identify positive outcomes of the programme, using their philosophy as a starting point for the review. The philosophy explains the beliefs of the service and the underpinnings of the programme. It may be useful, however, for teachers to now review and refine the centre’s philosophy statement in order to make it more easily understood by parents.

Teachers consistently discuss and evaluate the effectiveness of daily programmes, and share with each other information about individual children’s ideas and interests. This work includes the evaluation of how well the programme supports children’s development. Teachers maintain detailed records of children’s growth and development in the programme. Journey books describe the programme and children’s participation and interests.

The trust has upgraded the kindergarten’s outdoor area and children use this playground with delight. Teachers provide opportunities for them to nurture gardens and to explore the natural environment that surrounds them. There is both challenge and adventure in the playground, and the tranquillity of the setting adds to children’s peaceful approaches to their games.

Teachers are well placed to continue to sustain the good practices and enjoyable programmes they have developed. They are a highly reflective team who place high priority on the wellbeing of children in their care. The trust continues to provide commitment, planning and a sound framework of policies and procedures to guide practices and developments within the service.

Key Next Steps

ERO and managers agree that the next key steps for the service are to continue:

  • enhancing partnerships with whānau based on the results of the self review being undertaken
  • building Māori and Pacific children’s identity, culture and language through the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Fossil Bay 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 Fossil Bay Kindergarten will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

22 August 2014

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


Waiheke Island, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

44 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 43

Boys 32

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā




Cook Island





















Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

22 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2011


Education Review

April 2008


Education Review

April 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.