Hamilton West Kindergarten - 22/01/2018

1 Evaluation of Hamilton West Kindergarten

How well placed is Hamilton West 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.


Hamilton West Kindergarten is one of 29 kindergartens located in the Hamilton Region, and licensed for 40 children from two years to school age. The kindergarten offers full-day education and care, and provides flexible attendance hours to meet the needs of families. All teachers are qualified and registered. The organisation provides 20 free hours for all children.

The kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA), which is a charitable trust, and does not operate for profit. The strategic direction of the association is guided by the overarching statement, ‘Every child reaching their full potential’. The WKA has a commitment to providing quality, inclusive services that effectively meet the diverse educational needs of children attending.

All kindergartens in WKA are involved in sustainable programmes promoting the care of people and environment including Enviroschools, Sport Waikato Under 5 Energise and a ‘Cool for School’ Transition programme. A kaumātua from Tainui provides advice, guidance and support to the organisation. The kindergarten's education, operational and administrative responsibilities are well supported by Association specialist personnel.

Since the last ERO review there have been changes to leadership and the teaching team. The head teacher was appointed in January 2016 and she has focused on team building and strengthening community relationships. In response to a recommendation in the 2014 ERO report, teachers have reviewed the learning story assessment process.

The centre philosophy was reviewed in 2017 and emphasises the kindergarten as a community of life-long learners. Children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things. Te reo and tikanga Māori are woven into the everyday curriculum, which is underpinned by strong whānau relationships.

This review was part of a cluster five reviews in the Waikato Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children experience responsive, sensitive, and empowering relationships with adults. A high level of relational trust is evident between teachers, children and their families. Routines, including mat-times, foster children's sense of belonging and support their self-management skills. Children are able to engage in long periods of uninterrupted play supported by high-quality learning conversations with teachers. Intentional teaching and learning practices are highly effective in promoting positive outcomes for children. Children enjoy extensive opportunities for physical challenge, exploration and risk taking. This allows their confidence, curiosity and working theories to develop strongly. Children are very well supported to develop their dispositions for learning, self-management and self-care skills, and social competencies.

Children are highly engaged in a child-initiated curriculum that is responsive to their interest’s strengths and capabilities. A feature of the kindergarten is the expansive and attractive environments which enable children to enjoy an extensive range of purposeful learning opportunities. Play spaces are very well designed and children have ready access to high-quality equipment and resources. This ongoing accessibility supports children to be able to make choices and decisions about their own learning.

Literacy is strongly promoted through print-rich environments and the use of effective strategies to enhance children’s early communication skills. High levels of support for oral language development are evident within the kindergarten. Early mathematical language and concepts are highly evident, and skilfully woven into meaningful play. The extensive natural environment provides an ideal setting for the strengthened focus on the enviroschools initiative. Children can be actively involved in caring for plants, recycling schemes and science experiments to develop working theories of the living world. Children are well supported as they prepare for transition to school. The Cool 4 Schools programme runs weekly for children within six months of transition to school. The inclusive and stimulating curriculum is highly effective at supporting children to become competent and confident life-long learners.

Bicultural practice is highly evident through teacher and children’s use of te reo, tikanga practices, waiata and karakia. Māori literacy is shared regularly and reinforced through cultural wall displays. Children's language, culture and identity are valued and celebrated. Tuakana/teina relationships are evident and fostered between older and younger children. Strong whānau relationships and the kindergarten’s commitment to weaving te reo and tikanga Māori into the programme is enhancing the bicultural curriculum and success for Māori children.

Partnerships with parents as partners in their child’s learning are being strengthened. Parents are made to feel welcome to stay and contribute to the programme. Their aspirations for their children are sought, valued and built on. Priorities for children’s learning are developed and shared with parents to inform planning, assessment and evaluation practice. The kindergarten is inclusive of children with additional learning and development needs. Staff have developed effective strategies, which include the use of 'phrase cards', to support children whose first language is not English.

The head teacher is successfully building the capability of the kindergarten community to promote improved learning outcomes for all children. Significant positive progress is evident in the collaborative work of the teaching team, who regularly share reflections on practice, through the internal evaluation, appraisal and attestation processes. The head teacher and staff are engaged with the revised Te Whāriki 2017 curriculum, and implementation is well underway.

There is a systematic approach to long term and emergent internal evaluation focused on sustaining high-quality practice and outcomes for children. The effective use of documented evidence to inform the evaluation of positive outcomes for children is a next stage of development. Highly-effective leadership is strengthening the shared sense of purpose and direction for the kindergarten community, and enhancing positive outcomes for all children.

WKA provides sound, comprehensive systems, policies and procedures to guide kindergarten practice. Teachers have access to ongoing and targeted professional development to support improved practice, and lead to positive outcomes for children. The Education Service Manager works closely with the head teacher to provide well-informed professional leadership to support kindergarten operations. Effective governance by WKA is contributing to high quality, inclusive and equitable learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO has confidence that kindergarten leaders and teachers have well developed systems and capability to sustain high-quality practices. Internal evaluation processes can be further enhanced by increasing the quantity and quality of some documented processes, such as planning and self-review. These should clearly link to community aspirations, research, current theories and teaching practice in early childhood education.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Hamilton West 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 Hamilton West Kindergarten will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

22 January 2018

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



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

Girls 33 Boys 18

Ethnic composition



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

November 2017

Date of this report

22 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2014

Education Review

May 2011

Education Review

May 2008

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.