Holmes Kindergarten - 24/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Holmes Kindergarten

How well placed is Holmes 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.


Holmes Kindergarten, located in south Oamaru, is one of five kindergartens in the Oamaru Kindergarten Association (OKA). It provides education and care for up to 30 children from two years of age, for up to six hours each weekday. Forty-five children share the spaces over the week. Some families travel from farms some distance away.

The head teacher and teachers share the leadership and teaching roles in the kindergarten. Almost all teachers have worked together at this kindergarten for a number of years. Over the past three years upgrades and improvements have been made to the kitchen and outdoor areas. An external Education Services Manager (ESM) supports professional practice in the team. The OKA oversees the governance and management of the kindergarten.

The focus of the kindergarten's philosophy is on developing children's social skills, including their relationship building, and their ability to lead their own learning in an environment that values the language, culture and identity of all learners.

Since the last ERO review in 2014, the kindergarten has continued to refine its teaching practices and programmes for better outcomes for children.

This review was part of a cluster of five reviews in the OKA.

The Review Findings

Holmes Kindergarten continues to be high performing.

Records of learning show that children make good progress against their set goals and the kindergarten's curriculum priorities. This progress is well supported by the high-quality practices in place throughout the kindergarten. These include:

  •   working with children to provide a very calm and settled environment
  •   a curriculum responsive to their learning priorities
  •   clear and useful planning that supports intentional teaching
  •   strong links between home and kindergarten.

Children who identify as Māori learn and play in an increasingly bicultural environment. Over the last two years the teaching team has had a major focus on developing and embedding practices that are consistent with tikanga Māori principles. Some of these principles are becoming highly evident within the kindergarten. The head teacher and teachers are building their confidence and competence in using te reo Māori with the children.

Children of Pacific heritage experience an environment where their cultures are valued and respected. Their cultures are part of their learning activities and the kindergarten's overall programme for all. Teachers have a growing awareness of the various cultures represented within the kindergarten.

The teaching team is highly improvement focused. Teachers demonstrate a genuine commitment to deepening their knowledge and understanding of other cultures. A useful framework leads to focused and relevant evaluations for improved practices. Evaluations/reviews are well embedded and aligned to Te Whāriki and the kindergarten's priorities. The teachers make very good use of research and professional readings to improve outcomes for children and their teaching practices.

The long-established teaching team has collective capability as a group to improve children's outcomes. Teachers collaborate well as a team in their planning for children and in professional conversations. They have a sound knowledge of early childhood education and children as learners. There is a strong alignment from identified learning priorities to curriculum design, teaching and assessment practices, and internal evaluation/self-review. Expectations for practice are regularly updated to ensure newly developed practices are sustained.

Teachers carefully design the curriculum to maximise the learning for all children. Curriculum decisions are well informed by the aspirations of parents and analysed assessment information. Teachers empower children to take increasing control of their own learning.

Holmes Kindergarten receives targeted and well-planned professional learning and development. The team is well supported by the ESM to identify what is working well and areas for further development to improve outcomes for children.

The OKA effectively supports the kindergarten. It provides a useful strategic and operational framework for the kindergarten's management. There is strong alignment from the OKA strategic priorities to the kindergarten's priorities and plans. The OKA is committed to equity for all children, providing targeted resources to enable participation and inclusion of all children and their whānau. The OKA board is well informed about how well each kindergarten is progressing and contributing to the strategic direction.

The OKA strongly supports ongoing improvement across its kindergartens. It has effective evaluation and assurance practices that inform change and development. The OKA also supports its kindergartens to have constructive partnerships with other agencies and providers. Teacher capability across the OKA is being strengthened through an improved appraisal system.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers continue to implement and refine their practices from the recommendations they identify in their evaluations and from the ESM reports.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Holmes 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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 Holmes Kindergarten will be in four years.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

24 May 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

30 children from 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys:   25

Girls:   20

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

24 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2014

Supplementary Review

June 2011

Education Review

May 2010

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.