Kidsfirst Kindergartens Ilam - 23/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Kidsfirst Kindergartens Ilam

How well placed is Kidsfirst Kindergartens Ilam to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Kidsfirst Kindergarten Ilam is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Kidsfirst Kindergartens Ilam is one of 72 early learning services governed and managed by Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association Incorporated, trading as Kidsfirst Kindergartens.

The kindergarten provides education and care for children from two years old to school age within a culturally diverse community. The association education manager (EM) provides consistent professional advice and guidance to support the effective operation of the service. All teachers/kaiako are qualified and certified early childhood education teachers/kaiako.

Since the previous ERO report in 2013 there have been significant changes to the leadership and teaching team due to leadership opportunities within the Kidsfirst Kindergartens. A relieving head teacher/kaiako has provided continuity for children and their families over her 16 years at the kindergarten.

In 2017 the kindergarten was relocated to a local hall for two terms to allow for the strengthening and improvements to the kindergarten buildings and facilities. The kindergarten returned to its Ilam site at the end of term four 2017.

The teaching team has made some progress with the areas for development identified in the previous ERO 2013 report. This includes reviewing and trialling different methods of documenting planning for children’s learning and developing understandings of internal evaluation.

The acting head teacher/kaiako has been an active participant in the Burnside Learning Cluster, which established a collaborative approach to supporting education for children in the community. The kindergarten is in the early stages of joining the Pūtaringamotu Kāhui Ako l Community of Learning (CoL) which is building on the work of the learning cluster.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 kindergartens governed and managed by the Canterbury Westland Kidsfirst Kindergartens Association. 

The Review Findings

Teachers/kaiako warmly welcome children, parents and whānau. They foster respectful and inclusive relationships and promote a positive sense of wellbeing and belonging for children and families.

Culturally responsive practices underpin the way that teachers/kaiako work with families and the value placed on home culture, language and identity. Contributions from families are highly valued. Children's rich cultural backgrounds are respectfully displayed in the kindergarten.

Teachers/kaiako demonstrate confidence in naturally integrating te reo and tikanga Māori into the bicultural curriculum in ways that are meaningful to children and respectful of the Māori culture.

Children with diverse needs are well supported through sensitive and supportive interactions. Teachers/kaiako promote a positive view of the child as competent, capable, independent and able to make choices within their learning. They work in partnership with parents, whānau and external experts to ensure positive outcomes for children, within an inclusive learning environment.

Parents are well informed about their children's learning and participation in a wide range of interesting learning experiences through detailed learning records, photographs and newsletters.

Teachers/kaiako thoughtfully present resources to inspire children’s curiosity, creativity and engagement in learning, within a responsive curriculum. They encourage the development of oral language (including English language learning) and social skills to support children to express their ideas and to enjoy friendships.  

The spacious and natural outdoor environment provides many opportunities for children to:

  • explore and make their own discoveries
  • be involved in physical challenges that build courage and resilience
  • learn about sustainable practices and the natural world.

Leaders promote a strongly shared philosophy and clear valued outcomes for children. Leaders make good use of teachers' strengths to enhance practices and the curriculum offered to children. Teachers/kaiako have a positive attitude to challenge and change. They are reflective and open to new learning.

The Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association has a well-developed and clearly understood vision. It is underpinned by targeted strategic and annual planning systems. There are close links between the kindergarten plans, internal evaluation, appraisal and professional development. The teachers/kaiako are well supported by association managers and leaders to achieve the priorities of the kindergarten and to promote high quality learning outcomes for all children.

The board is committed and highly skilled. The association has a very strong commitment to providing high quality professional development to build on leadership capacity and teacher/kaiako capability. It has high expectations for teaching and learning and equitable outcomes for all children. This includes a strong focus on promoting understandings of and respect for te ao Māori (the Māori world) at all levels of the organisation. The association's internal evaluation practices are being well used to inform decision making and support the strong focus on continuous improvement.

Key Next Steps

The education manager and teaching team have identified, and ERO agrees, that the key next steps are to:

  • further develop planning and evaluation documentation
  • strengthen and embed complex internal evaluation processes and practices across the teaching team.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kidsfirst Kindergartens Ilam 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 Kidsfirst Kindergartens Ilam will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

23 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

40 children, over the age of two years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23 ; Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


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

March 2018

Date of this report

23 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

November 2007

Education Review

June 2004

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.