Kaikorai Kindergarten - 09/11/2015

1 Evaluation of Kaikorai Kindergarten

How well placed is Kaikorai 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.


Children’s learning and wellbeing are well supported at Kaikorai Kindergarten. Most children live in or close to Kaikorai Valley. However, some families travel across town to bring their children to this kindergarten. The kindergarten provides a mix of part-time and full-day (six-hour) sessions for up to 40 children aged between two and five years. Most days about 30 children attend. Children come from diverse family backgrounds.

The kindergarten philosophy is to offer a fun, welcoming and supportive environment and build positive relationships with children and their families. Teachers believe children should have choice and challenge as they play indoors and outside.

Parents are very supportive of the kindergarten. A parent committee actively fundraises to improve the resources and facilities at the kindergarten. From time to time they make generous donations that have enabled the children to have interesting adventures, such as a boat trip on the Otago Harbour.

Kaikorai Kindergarten is one of 24 kindergartens operating under the Dunedin Kindergarten Association (DK). The qualified teaching team is experienced. Since the August 2012 ERO review, a new teacher has joined the team. The team has sustained the good practices identified in the last report and has improved self review and planning. The indoor area has been upgraded and made more attractive for children.

This review was part of a cluster of 24 reviews in the DK. 

The Review Findings

Children and their families benefit from the very positive and caring relationships they have with the teachers. A strength in this kindergarten is how teachers go out of their way to provide additional support to families when they see a need. For example, they give practical help for children to attend regularly and extra support when some children prepare to start school.

Teachers value and recognise the diverse cultural backgrounds of children.

Children’s wellbeing is fostered by teachers. This is evident in the way teachers:

  • proactively build children’s social skills
  • have improved and adapted the environment to cater for the needs of younger children
  • are aware of children needing additional support to relate to others positively and ensure this is provided in the programme.

Teachers model appropriate language and behaviour for children. They have conversations to extend children’s thinking and oral language and revisit and build on prior learning. Teachers use some te reo and tikanga Māori. They agree they should continue to grow this aspect of their practice.

Teachers provide a programme with real and meaningful tasks for all children. In order to cater for the high number of boys they have planned special projects to capture their interest, such as building a life-sized play house.

Children enjoy a wide variety of activities including trips and outings into the local community. A recent enrichment to the programme has been a weekly expedition into a forest for the ten oldest children.

Teachers are focusing on building children’s oral language. They have found that more purposeful and recorded daily discussions about how their teaching is impacting on children’s learning has improved their planning and helped them respond more effectively to children. This good practice should be continued and strengthened.

The teachers seek specialist support for children with diverse needs and prepare detailed planning for these children. This planning is shared with all teachers, support workers and parents.

Children’s profile books are an attractive record of their learning over time. Teachers seek parents’ wishes for their children’s learning. Records could more clearly show how teachers respond to these wishes. Another next step is for teachers to show in more detail how they intend to support children’s learning and later show what difference their support has made.

This kindergarten has a dedicated team of teachers. They work well together and use each other’s strengths to enhance children’s learning. They make good use of what they have learned from attending professional development to improve programmes and practices. 

The teachers have improved their knowledge and use of self review and this has led to improvements in particular areas of their practice. For example, they now provide parents with better information about starting their children at school. The head teacher acknowledged that they can further strengthen self review by ensuring:

  • the review focus is clear
  • indicators of best practice are specific and relevant to the focus.

The team has developed a useful strategic plan outlining the priorities for the direction of the kindergarten. This could be strengthened by evaluating how well they are achieving these priorities and linking them to self-review topics when applicable.

The vision of the DK is to provide excellence in early childhood education for all children. The DK is governed by a board and managed by a long-serving general manager. The kindergarten teachers told ERO they appreciated the support they receive from the association and the advice and guidance of the senior teachers.

The board, general manager and senior teachers:

  • provide appropriate opportunities for parents and staff to contribute their ideas about matters in the association
  • are responsive to the identified needs of children and families within the association and provide funding and support to enable these to be met
  • have developed a useful framework to guide their work
  • ensure safe environments for children, teachers and staff
  • maintain their professional learning and provide ongoing professional learning for teachers in the association.

Key Next Steps

The next steps for teachers, with the support of the senior teacher, are to:

  • review and develop the philosophy to make clear what is valued as important learning for children
  • ensure the philosophy expresses their commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • refine individual planning to more clearly show children’s next learning steps, teaching strategies and how they respond to parents’ wishes
  • refine aspects of self review.

Next steps for the board, with the support of the general manager and senior teachers, are to:

  • continue to define what excellence in education looks like in the DK
  • further develop strategic planning to better show future goals and priorities and how these will be achieved in the association and in the kindergartens
  • ensure that the reports they receive show how well the association’s vision and goals are met, are evaluative and inform future planning
  • continue to strengthen the appraisal process and be assured that appraisals are rigorous and consistent throughout the kindergartens.

With the appointment of a new senior teacher it is timely for the board and general manager to review the role of the senior teachers and strengthen systems to ensure consistent, high-quality practice across all kindergartens within the association.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

9 November 2015

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 over two years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys:  24

Girls:  14

Ethnic composition

Other Ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

9 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2012

Education Review

December 2008

Education Review

June 2003

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.