Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam - 31/03/2015

1. Evaluation of Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Kidsfirst Kindergartens is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam is one of 62 kindergartens governed and managed by Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association Incorporated, trading as Kidsfirst Kindergartens. All Kidsfirst Kindergartens share a common vision and values.

Children from two years old to school age can attend kindergarten for up to six hours a day during the four kindergarten terms.

Since the 2012 ERO review, planning and assessment processes have been strengthened and the kindergarten’s curriculum has been developed to meet the changing needs of children.

This review was part of a cluster of 18 kindergarten reviews.

The Review Findings

The kindergarten’s vision and values are strongly evident in the positive ways teachers work with children and parents, the high-quality programme and the well-developed environment. Teachers take time to warmly welcome whānau and to listen to their aspirations for their children. These close links between teachers and children’s families support a strong community culture.

Children’s diverse learning, language and cultural needs are well respected and valued. Teachers know the families well.

The child-centred learning areas have interesting activities and well-organised resources that engage children in learning. Opportunities for real-life play support children to develop literacy and mathematics knowledge and skills.

A range of technologies support teaching and learning. This includes, children and teachers naturally using iPads for a range of teaching purposes in the environment. Electronic portfolios enable parents to be more involved with their children’s learning.

Teachers work collaboratively. Leadership is valued and shared and teachers’ strengths and interests are well used. The head teacher and the Education Service Manager work well together. Teachers have high expectations for quality teaching and learning. They are reflective about their practices and are strongly committed to improving the way they teach and interact with children.

The Kidsfirst Kindergartens Association

All kindergartens in this cluster have spacious indoor and outdoor areas and are well resourced to meet the interests and learning needs of their children. In most of these kindergartens, environments and resources:

  • encourage children’s critical thought, wonderment and inquiry
  • provide challenges, stimulation and social support for children, families and the wider communities
  • promote opportunities for children to learn about sustainable practices.

Kidsfirst Kindergartens provides significant support for priority learners and their families. Teachers in kindergartens with priority learners receive considerable extra training and funding to ensure the needs of these learners are well met.

Kidsfirst Kindergartens has a strong commitment to te ao Māori (the Māori world view) and ensuring that their Education Service Managers (ESMs) and teachers are competent and confident in te reo and tikanga Māori. In this cluster of kindergartens, a bicultural curriculum is in place and bicultural practices are highly evident. The contribution from parents of Māori children is highly valued and Māori children are well supported to achieve success as Māori.

The association has a well-understood vision, and highly effective strategic and annual planning systems, policies and procedures. It has strong leadership and collaboration across all levels of the organisation.

There is a thorough and well-understood process of self review at all levels of Kidsfirst Kindergartens.

The skills and knowledge of the CEO, board and senior leaders are regularly sought by other kindergarten associations and early childhood services nationally and internationally.

The highly experienced and skilled trustees bring a good range of expertise to support their decision making. They have a wide knowledge and understanding of Kidsfirst and are very focused on achieving their goals. Their priorities are strongly linked to providing high-quality learning and care for all children.

The strategic leadership team members have a good breadth and depth of knowledge across their various areas of expertise. They value each other’s contributions and use their wide range of knowledge and skills to ensure effective operation of the service.

The ESMs show a high level of commitment to Kidsfirst and the implementation of the Kidsfirst vision, policies and expectations. They successfully challenge and use each other's strengths to meet the goals of Kidsfirst for high-quality learning and teaching in each kindergarten.

Kidsfirst has a well-developed evaluation process that is effectively used to identify the strengths, progress and areas for further development in each of its kindergartens. This allows the ESMs to successfully monitor how well each kindergarten is providing high-quality outcomes for children.

High-quality professional development is closely aligned to leaders and teachers achieving the Kidsfirst vision and goals. In this cluster, this is most evident in the well-developed, understood and useful self-review processes, child assessment and planning practices and effective use of a range of technologies.

Key Next Steps

The Kidsfirst Kindergartens’ managers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the key next steps are:

  • to further align the existing appraisal process for ESMs, head teachers and teachers to recent developments in Kidsfirst Kindergartens' quality improvement programme ensuring it is consistently achieving its vision to provide high-quality learning and teaching for all children
  • to continue to review kindergarten practices and premises to make sure that they meet the changing needs of their communities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam 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 Sunbeam will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer-Southern Southern Region

31 March 2015

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, aged two years and over

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 37;

Girls 29

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



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

November 2014

Date of this report

31 March 2015

Most recent ERO reports

These are available at

Education Review

March 2012


Education Review

November 2007


Education Review

March 2005

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.