Highland Park Kindergarten - 20/03/2018

1 Evaluation of Highland Park Kindergarten

How well placed is Highland 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.


Highland Park Kindergarten in Howick is licensed for 40 children over two years old. The kindergarten currently provides four-hour morning sessions, and six-hour sessions that align with school hours. Only 30 children remain for the afternoon programme.

The teaching team of four fully registered teachers is supported by an assistant who speaks Mandarin and Cantonese, and several aides who support children with special learning needs. They all work as a collaborative team and have established positive relationships with the multicultural kindergarten community. Teachers are committed to ongoing professional development which is consistent with the kindergarten's and their personal goals. These goals are influenced by the kindergarten's philosophy and aim to grow independent children who are resilient, resourceful and reflective learners.

In 2013 ERO identified several positive features of the service. Inclusive relationships, a high quality environment, and skilful teaching which enabled children to confidently engage in activities, communicate well and develop their creativity, curiosity and problem solving abilities. These features continue to be strengths of the kindergarten. Teachers have worked to address ERO recommendations relating to some aspects of assessment and partnering with schools to support children's transitions.

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. Staff are in the process of adapting to changes in AKA operational practices.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are capable learners who lead their own learning. They are confident to work independently or to collaborate in groups. They often sustain their interest for prolonged periods. Children communicate effectively to make choices, investigate resources, problem solve, and develop friendships. Children engage in planning their learning, undertaking research and evaluating the outcomes of their experiences. In this environment children expect to be challenged and engage in meaningful learning.

Inclusive practices support children to respect and value others. Children benefit from the strongly bicultural programme that enables them to become familiar with some te reo Māori, waiata and aspects of tikanga Māori. Children with special learning needs are warmly included. The diversity of the multicultural community is acknowledged, valued and celebrated.

Teachers believe children are competent learners. They have high expectations that children will make choices about what they do, undertake difficult tasks, and explore their interests. Teachers skilfully prompt children with open-ended questions. They also trust children to independently decide the direction of their play and negotiate with peers. When needed, teachers make timely interventions to refocus children's interests and guide purposeful play.

Teachers know children very well and plan programmes that are responsive to children's individual interests. Teachers deliberately integrate opportunities for literacy and numeracy in the context of play. They document children's learning very well with detailed records of children's own planning and research. Teachers skilfully analyse learning experiences to identify the dispositions that support children to become lifelong learners. They have established an inviting environment that is extensively resourced with interesting play areas that foster imaginative, creative and social play.

Parents are partners in their children's learning. They share their aspirations for their children's learning with teachers. Most parents make good use of an online digital portal that enables them to read and comment on their children’s learning stories. Teachers keep families well informed through frequent informal discussions, electronic communications, and attractive wall displays. Teachers value the skills and knowledge that families bring to the kindergarten and share during cultural celebrations and other programme activities. Parents have recently contributed to a survey about children's transition to school. Teachers are preparing to strengthen this aspect of their service using this information.

Together, the teachers manage the kindergarten effectively. Robust documentation, and a collaborative environment have enabled the head teacher to have a prolonged absence recently without significant disruption to kindergarten operations. Teachers value each other's skills, share responsibilities and decision making, and work together as a reflective team.

Teachers engage in thorough internal evaluation. This helps them to address spontaneous issues and to deepen their knowledge in areas such as bicultural practice. Annual business plans are strongly linked with AKA strategic goals, ERO's recommendations, and teachers’ professional development.

The AKA is reviewing its appraisal processes to align with new Education Council Standards. As part of this development, leaders should ensure that there is depth and an improvement focus in teachers’ reflection and professional goals.

Key Next Steps

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

  • strengthening the visibility of the teachers' role when documenting children's learning
  • continuing to review processes for transitioning children within the kindergarten and to school, including developing a relationship with the local Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning
  • building team resilience as teachers respond to AKA changes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Highland 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 Highland Park Kindergarten will be in four years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

20 March 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 


Howick, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       28
Boys      28

Ethnic composition

other Asian
other European


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

20 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

June 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.