Hukanui Kindergarten - 17/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Hukanui Kindergarten

How well placed is Hukanui 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.


Hukanui Kindergarten is one of 29 kindergartens operating under the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA). It is located in the north-east of Hamilton and licensed for 40 children aged two years to school age. The kindergarten offers full-day education and care, and provides flexible attendance hours to meet the needs of families. All teachers are qualified and registered, and a teaching assistant is a fluent speaker of Mandarin. The organisation provides 20 free hours for children from two years of age.

The kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA), which is a charitable trust, and does not operate for profit. The strategic direction of the Association is guided by the overarching statement, ‘Every child reaching their full potential’. The WKA has a commitment to providing quality, inclusive services that effectively meet the diverse educational needs of all children attending. All kindergartens in Waikato Kindergarten Association are involved in sustainable programmes promoting the care of people and environment, such as Enviroschools, Sport Waikato Under 5 Energise and a ‘Cool for School’ Transition programme. A kaumātua from Tainui provides advice, guidance and support to the organisation. The kindergartens’ education, operational and administrative responsibilities are well supported by Association specialist personnel.

Since the last ERO review there have been significant changes to leadership and the teaching team. The head teacher was appointed in October 2016, and maintains a focus on team building and strengthening community relationships. In response to a recommendation in the 2014 ERO report, teachers have reviewed the learning story assessment process.

The kindergarten philosophy has been reviewed by staff to reflect the many cultures of children enrolled. It emphasises that children learn best in an environment that is safe, welcoming and inclusive of all contributing cultures. The kindergarten is committed to providing opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of the cultural heritage of both parties to Te Titiriti o Waitangi. Contributions from whānau are welcomed, as partners in their child's education and care. The curriculum is driven by children's strengths and interests, to create confident capable learners.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Waikato Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are settled, happy and engaged in learning though play. They have opportunities for sustained periods of uninterrupted child-led learning, supported by a well-resourced environment. This is resulting in many examples of complex play being evident. Teachers are making effective use of learning conversations and open-ended questioning to encourage children's creativity, problem solving and thinking. High levels of oral language, used for purpose and communication, are evident. Positive guidance strategies support the kindergarten's inclusive culture, so children from diverse backgrounds, with languages other than English, are made to feel welcome and secure. Children with additional learning or physical needs are well-supported and included. Teachers are responsive to children's physical and emotional needs, and familiar routines help to foster a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Children benefit from a wide range of interesting and challenging learning experiences. The curriculum is underpinned by positive, reciprocal relationships, soundly based on Te Whāriki and Tātaiako, and clearly reflects philosophy values. The programme responds to children’s interests and strengths, and maintains an appropriate balance with intentional teaching to support and extend learning. Early literacy and experiences in art are naturally integrated. There is strong evidence of learning opportunities in mathematics, science and enviro-school. The environment supports construction play, physical challenge and exploration. Children, their parents and whānau are well-supported as they transition to a range of local schools. Children are well-engaged in learning through play in a range of areas of the programme.

Recently developed systems for assessment and planning are providing a good foundation for teachers to evaluate the impact of the curriculum. Teachers use the 'notice, recognise and respond' approach to inform each stage of planning and to record children's learning and development in individual portfolios. While parent aspirations for their children are sought and valued, teachers recognise the benefit of continuing to build learning partnerships with parents, which includes responding to aspirations in a more formalised and structured way.

The head teacher sets and models high expectations for staff and demonstrates a strong commitment to culturally responsive practice. A teacher who is fluent in te reo Māori is contributing to building local knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori in the kindergarten. There are many examples of the natural integration of te reo and tikanga Māori, especially at mat times. Visual displays and whānaungatanga practices support a sense of inclusion.

The diverse ethnicities in the kindergarten community are valued and celebrated in cultural events. The head teacher and teachers recognise that the multi-cultural nature of their kindergarten presents a particular challenge to ensure the curriculum builds each child's confidence in their own language, culture and identity. The current philosophy gives an agreed direction for teachers to respond to the socio-cultural context of each child, so they are affirmed for who they are, where they come from, and what they bring to the kindergarten.

Aspects of teaching practice and centre operations are benefiting from the leadership of the head teacher. She is building relational trust at all levels of the kindergarten community. The head teacher, with effective support from the ESM, is encouraging teacher reflection on professional practice through revised online appraisal processes and staff meetings. Several emergent and short term planned reviews have been undertaken on curriculum and centre operations. Effective leadership is leading to staff, children and whanau developing a sense of shared purpose and positive direction.

WKA provides sound, comprehensive systems, policies and procedures to guide kindergarten practice. Teachers have access to ongoing and targeted professional development to support improved practice, and lead to enhanced outcomes for children. ESMs work closely with the head teacher and provide well-informed professional leadership to support kindergarten operations.

Key Next Steps

The key next step for kindergarten leaders and teachers is to consolidate and embed the progress made in professional practice. This includes continuing to enact the agreed philosophy, and building the partnerships for learning with parents. Teaching as inquiry should provide evidence of continued improvement in educational outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

17 October 2017

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

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 36 Boys 23

Ethnic composition

Other Southeast Asian


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

August 2017

Date of this report

17 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

June 2008

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.