Hokowhitu Kindergarten - 24/01/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Hokowhitu Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.


Hokowhitu Kindergarten is a sessional kindergarten providing early childhood education for children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. The centre is licensed for 40 children with four-year-old children attending in the morning and three-year-olds in the afternoon. All teachers are fully qualified and they actively support children to engage in learning programmes underpinned by Te Whāriki, New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum. A well resourced and stimulating learning environment focuses on the natural world. A large oak tree dominates the outdoor area and acts as a metaphor for the centre’s philosophy of care, responsibility, respect and a sense of belonging.

This review was conducted as part of a cluster approach to the reviews in 25 early childhood education services within the Ruahine Kindergarten umbrella organisation.

The Review Findings

Warm and respectful interactions occur between children and teachers promoting individuals' positive sense of self. Teachers have sensitive and responsive relationships with children. Children are confident and articulate. They lead their learning. Frequent meaningful interactions contribute to their language development.

The free flowing learning environment provides spaces that are inviting and stimulating. Spacious verandas increase outside space for all weathers and recent building extensions create additional indoor areas. Outdoor areas offer a variety of physical challenges that support the development of motor skills. Children select from a range of high quality accessible resources that develop their interests and knowledge. Creativity, music and imaginative play are encouraged.

Teachers know children well. Connecting learning to previous knowledge and experiences outside the kindergarten promotes a sense of belonging. Developing children’s confidence and maturity is a priority. Teachers effectively encourage children to be adventurous, curious and independent.

Children’s interests and strengths guide the programme. Literacy and numeracy are successfully integrated. Daily evaluation and reflection lead to collaborative planning. Parents and the community are given opportunities to contribute.

The well presented learning portfolios are a positive record of children’s experiences. They include a range of situational and group stories, with some examples showing learning progress over time.

Leaders and teachers are developing self review to identify ongoing areas for improvement in planning and assessment. Intentions are to:

  • make assessment more meaningful and to include next steps for learning
  • make planning more responsive to individual children’s interests and needs
  • improve the link and continuity between assessment and planning

Through this process, leaders' understanding of self review is likely to strengthen and should have greater impact in improving outcomes for children.

Children benefit from teachers enhancing their pedagogical knowledge through engaging in professional learning. The capable and confident team of teachers demonstrate an understanding of early childhood best practice through effective teaching.

There is a developing awareness and understanding of different cultures and what they contribute to the curriculum. The centre’s philosophy includes a commitment to embracing and promoting Te Tiriti O Waitangi. Recent professional development and the support of the association’s bicultural advisers should further develop teachers’ capacity to respond to all students’ cultural needs. Next steps are to increase:

  • the pace of enacting the centres philosophy through the curriculum
  • the integration of bi-cultural practices in teaching and learning.

Children’s transitions into and out of the kindergarten are supported through partnerships with parents. Reciprocal visits between school and kindergarten assist children to settle in their new entrant class.

Children benefit from warm relationships between teachers and whānau. Teachers’ knowledge and understanding of their community is a feature. Parents receive good quality information and their high involvement in children’s learning is valued by staff. Kindergarten leaders have identified exploring further strategies to engage parents and include more of their views and aspirations in the centres curriculum as a next step.

2 Legal Requirements

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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

24 January 2013

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 between 3 and 5 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 42, Female 33

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnic groups





Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

24 January 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

May 2009

April 2005

December 2001

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.