Freemans Bay Kindergarten - 20/09/2017

1 Evaluation of Freemans Bay Kindergarten

How well placed is Freemans 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.


Freemans Bay Kindergarten offers both sessional and all day education and care for up to 40 children over the age of two years. The roll includes a small number of Māori, Pacific, and children from other cultures.

A new teaching team of fully certificated teachers has been established this year. Teachers are building a strong and cohesive team and have amended the kindergarten's philosophy to reflect their beliefs. The changes that they have made are well supported by parents.  

Children are cared for and learn in a mixed-aged setting. A well organised, attractive outdoor area offers natural environmental experiences to challenge children. The indoor area is separated into spaces for children to explore, including a newly established area for parents and children. The kindergarten has reached Enviroschools silver status. Enviroschools kaupapa is grounded in Māori perspectives, which are valued in the kindergarten.

In 2014 ERO identified many positive features of the service.  Effective relationships and curriculum opportunities supported children to make choices about their play and sustain their learning. Good progress has been made in relation to ERO's recommendations to deepen self review and enhance bicultural practices.    

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 are confident and capable. They are well engaged in play and sustain their play for long periods of time in the child-directed programme. The practice of having empty table tops encourages children to make choices about their play. Children demonstrate cooperation and negotiation during play activities. Children with additional educational needs are well supported through individual educational plans. Appropriate use is made of external agencies.

Parents and whānau are encouraged to participate in the kindergarten and in their child's learning. Many parents and whānau take advantage of the opportunity to share and update their aspirations for their children's learning. This information is increasingly used to inform the programme.

The programme offers many opportunities for children to be challenged and to develop more complex learning. The programme incorporates literacy, maths and science activities in the context of children's play. Teachers notice children's individual and group interests throughout the day and discuss ways to extend their learning. This process could be strengthened by teachers identifying children's dispositions in each of their observations and planning ways to respond. Teachers could also identify and document specific outcomes for children along with their planned teaching strategies, so that they can evaluate the impact their teaching.

Children's portfolios of learning are useful narratives of their interests and learning over their time at the kindergarten. Teachers use the portfolios to make children’s learning visible for parents. Improvement in this area is a very good example of the use of in-depth internal evaluation overtime and across teaching teams. 

Aspects of internal evaluation help to successfully guide and focus kindergarten practices. Teachers use suitable evaluation questions, good practice criteria and evidence-based illustrations. There are some good examples of teachers thinking evaluatively when considering the impact of initiatives, rather than simply describing actions taken. Teachers could more clearly document their discussions about the impact of initiatives on outcomes for children, and about ongoing improvement. 

Teachers continue to include bicultural practices in the programme. Some tikanga Māori is evident in daily routines. Teachers and children celebrate cultural events. Te reo Māori is heard in the daily programme and is visible in the environment. Teachers are planning to research significant local histories and weave these into the programme. Teachers acknowledge that the programme does not yet reflect Pacific cultures well.

The head teacher acknowledges that she will require more professional development around leading and implementing an effective appraisal system focused on building leadership, professional practice and collective capacity.

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 kindergarten teaching team has identified useful key next steps. These include enhancing:

  • bicultural practices, by including the history and stories of the local area
  • internal evaluation processes for ongoing kindergarten improvement
  • the extent to which the programme responds to Pacific cultures
  • relationships with parents and whānau, to benefit outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

20 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 


Freemans Bay, 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

27 Girls, 18 Boys

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

20 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

January 2011

Education Review

October 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.