Hokowhitu Kindergarten - 10/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Hokowhitu Kindergarten

How well placed is Hokowhitu 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.


Hokowhitu Kindergarten is one of 25 early childhood services administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 40 children aged over two years. Of the 55 children enrolled, six are Maori. All teachers are qualified and registered. Since the January 2013 ERO review the outdoor spaces have been redeveloped to further support children’s exploration and investigation.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises the importance of responsive, reciprocal relationships that value each child's uniqueness and foster curiosity, confidence, risk taking, fun and exploration for all children.

The previous ERO report identified strengthening self-review to inquire into curriculum decisions and improving bicultural practices as areas for development. Progress is evident.

Day-to-day management of the association's affairs is the responsibility of the general manager. A governing board sets the overall strategic direction. The senior teacher provides professional leadership for teaching and learning. An operations manager supports kindergartens' compliance, policy development and leadership. A management restructure has been undertaken since the previous ERO review.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews in the Ruahine Kindergartens.

The Review Findings

Well designed and resourced environments invite children's participation in a wide range of learning opportunities. A rich variety of experiences for children increases their understanding of reading, writing and mathematics in meaningful ways. Children's active exploration is stimulated and encouraged. They show positive attitudes and take increased responsibility for their own learning.

Children confidently take part in learning and are competent and enthusiastic learners. They make choices about play and set challenges for themselves. Use of digital technology enhances programme opportunities. Children initiate conversations and interactions with their peers and adults. They develop cooperative relationships through their engagement.

Assessment is responsive to children's immediate and emerging strengths, interests and skills. Teachers' approach to assessment for learning is a current focus for the teaching team. An on-line programme supports improved parent communication about children's plans, progress and achievements. Further evaluation of the impact of teaching strategies and curriculum decisions on children's learning to determine next steps should enrich outcomes for children.

Teachers effectively support children to settle into kindergarten sessions. Positive, reciprocal relationships with the local school help children and families with the move to the new entrant classroom. Planned review of transitions processes is timely to support teachers to enhance outcomes for children as they move to other schools.

Teachers increasingly acknowledge and value the cultural identity of Māori learners, linked to place and identity. Te ao Māori is becoming a meaningful part of children’s daily experiences. Teachers recognise they should continue to develop their understandings of culturally responsive practices.

The head teacher provides collaborative leadership and values the skills and knowledge of the kindergarten team. Staff are very reflective and improvement focused. Effective use is made of current best practice to support developing shared understandings of internal evaluation.

The kindergarten's annual plan outlines priorities for the year linked to the association's strategic goals of having high quality staff, coordinated services, effective partnerships and operations. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality indicators linked to outcomes for children are a useful addition to the annual plan. These should be further defined to enable more effective monitoring of progress.

Progress has been made in developing a bicultural perspective in the programme. This is supported by an environmental focus, bicultural values, teacher development goals and professional learning opportunities. Association leaders are strongly committed to implementing a bicultural curriculum and promoting success for Māori children as Māori. The revised Te Tiriti o Waitangi policy, Wise Practice document and bicultural exemplars should support development of these practices.

The association provides effective governance and management support for this service. This includes:

  • constructive and improvement-focused support from the senior teacher

  • suitable quality assurance processes and guidelines linked to compliance with regulations and association expectations

  • effective and targeted support for teacher and leadership development through the appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities

  • a variety of operational and administrative support.

The association agrees the continued development of the ‘Wise Practice' indicators should occur to support understanding about the quality and effectiveness of practice and operation at kindergarten through to board level.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree that teachers should be supported to continue to develop:

  • understanding and use of internal evaluation

  • bicultural curriculum and strategies that promote success for Māori as Māori.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

10 June 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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 31, Girls 24

Ethnic composition







Other ethnic groups








Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children



Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

10 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2013

Education Review

May 2009

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.