Howick Kindergarten - 14/12/2016

1 Evaluation of Howick Kindergarten

How well placed is Howick 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.


Howick Kindergarten, is a well established service, licensed to provide for 40 children aged over two years. The Kindergarten Day Model (KDM) allows children to attend longer sessions, similar to school hours. The kindergarten is staffed by four qualified teachers, a teacher aide and an administrator. The new head teacher was appointed in term 1, 2016.

The kindergarten has a positive reporting history with ERO. The 2013 ERO report noted positive aspects in the curriculum and the good relationships between teachers and children. These positive aspects have been maintained. It also identified areas teachers could improve in their self review to be more evaluative about the impact of their practice and making children's interests more visible. There has been good progress in these areas.

The current teaching philosophy clearly outlines the team's commitment to providing a service that is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It focuses on the provision of quality experiences and opportunities for exploration, being inclusive of all children and their families, and embracing the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Howick Kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework and support personnel to assist the kindergarten. The 2015 restructure of AKA leadership roles has been reviewed and has resulted in further re-allocation of roles. There continues to be a period of transition for all AKA staff as they adapt to new systems and responsibilities.

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

The Review Findings

Children settle quickly as they arrive and freely explore the newly renovated indoor environment. Teachers are available for conversations with parents at drop off and pick up times. These exchanges are often about children's wellbeing. Families can stay and play with their children. As a result, children have a strong sense of belonging.

The curriculum is inclusive and the environment is resourced with good quality equipment. Children know they can contribute to and can take the lead in designing programmes. Children's learning is recorded in portfolios which are complemented by an online assessment tool. Parents' aspirations for their children's learning are recorded, regularly revisited and included in learning stories. Dispositional learning, creativity, challenge, relationships and developing knowledge of literacy and maths concepts, underpin the programme.

Teachers work well together and provide learning experiences that are exciting and extend children's thinking. Children engage in activities for sustained periods and play well together, on their own and with adults.

Teachers use te reo Māori and waiata, mostly at mat-time. Children are familiar with, and confidently sing, waiata and use kupu Māori to respond to teachers' questions. Teachers have identified that the ongoing development of their understanding about te ao Māori and bicultural practices will further support success not only for Māori, but for all children.

Parents who spoke to ERO appreciate the positive changes in the curriculum and the environment since the new head teacher was appointed and talked about their children's progress. They say that children are excited and talk about what they are learning, and that teachers really care about children. It is timely for the kindergarten to strengthen their partnerships with parents so they can contribute more meaningfully to the kindergartens strategic goals and their children's learning.

The highly experienced head teacher leads her team well and works with teachers to develop robust internal evaluation as a way to identify and support ongoing improvements. Teachers share strengths and have opportunities for leadership.

AKA systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in kindergarten operations are well established. The AKA shared vision and a comprehensive strategic plan guide kindergarten developments. New AKA roles were established to provide more targeted support for head teachers in their leadership and management roles.

Key Next Steps

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

  • building their knowledge of children's cultures and making their cultural identity and languages more visible in learning stories and portfolios

  • strengthening assessment practices to ensure that children's learning is more clearly recorded to show their learning and development over time

  • reviewing the quality of their bicultural practices throughout the programme

  • strengthening the evaluative nature of their self review.

The AKA is continuing to review and refine its policies and procedures, including those for teacher appraisal and the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

14 December 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


Howick, Auckland

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

Boys 29 Girls 28

Ethnic composition



Cook Island Māori






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

September 2016

Date of this report

14 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

April 2010

Education Review

February 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.