KiNZ Otara - 07/10/2019

1 Evaluation of KiNZ Otara

How well placed is KiNZ Otara to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

KiNZ Otara is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


KiNZ Otara operates in the culturally diverse community of Otara. It is licensed for 50 children over the age of two years. Māori children make up 29 percent of the roll and 51 percent have Pacific heritage.

The centre manager is responsible for day-to-day centre operations. The lead teacher is responsible for curriculum implementation. The long-serving teachers are fully qualified and are supported by an in-training teacher, a Learning Support teacher assistant, a cook and an administrator.

The centre's philosophy references Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a guiding document. It also highlights play as the major catalyst for children's learning. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpins teachers' practices. The centre is part of the Ōtara ō te Rererangi Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

The 2015 ERO report for the centre identified quality provision for children and their families. Skilled professional practice was assisting children's engagement in learning, and their mastery of language. These aspects are still highly evident in practice. The report also acknowledged teachers' aim to continue their professional journey.

The centre is a subsidiary of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides leadership, a framework of policies and operational guidelines, support personnel and programmes of professional learning and development. Strategic planning supports the kindergartens’ development and future focus. A new AKA structure has been established and new personnel appointed. Many of these roles have recently been established.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children receive education and care that has a very positive impact on their learning. A significant number of children need additional support with speech and language development, social competence and health issues. Teachers access a high number of support agencies and supportive programmes that are providing opportunities for children's development. High ratios of teachers to children are diligently maintained to ensure children receive attention and support for their learning.

Teachers know whānau well, understand children's home contexts and issues, and are willing to offer support. Their strong, open relationships with whānau and parents promote good levels of children's attendance. Whānau provide information about their aspirations for their children and are well informed about their children's progress. The establishment of key-teacher roles has helped to reassure whānau and provide more opportunities for conversations. As a result of these relationships, children are trusting with teachers and play with enthusiasm.

Children choose their own play from the wide range of interesting resources and experiences. They are grouped in small numbers for mat-times during the morning. Teachers use these times to foster children's thinking and language skills. Children engage in respectful interactions with teachers and their friends. Teachers generate a calm, inclusive atmosphere and respond promptly to any disturbances with firm kindness.

Learning environments are attractive, well organised and spacious. Teachers' effective practices are well established and attract children's engagement. Mathematical concepts and early literacy are integrated into children's play. Science learning includes a strong focus on the natural world. Teachers manage children's transitions into the centre and on to school well.

Teachers assess children's learning and write learning stories both online and in portfolios. Planning is recorded and displayed. Teachers could now revisit these processes to lift the quality of the writing, make links between stories and ensure that the individual child's dispositions and learning are clearly evident.

Teachers' aim to be inclusive of all is highly evident in the programme. They have a strong focus on using te reo Māori, recognising tikanga and reflecting te ao Māori in the environment. Teachers are also dedicated to strengthening their understanding of the cultures of families from Pacific nations and are reflecting this in the centre environment. Regular cultural festivals are highlights for families.

Centre leaders have identified that their future focus areas are around establishing a parent/whānau group for consultation and supporting the goals set by the kāhui ako.

The AKA continues to provide support for its services to strengthen bicultural practices. In many instances this has made a significant difference to confidence and capability. Specialist support impacts positively on teachers’ confidence and inclusion of children with additional learning needs. Specific programmes that help teachers to support children’s developing social competencies can now be extended across all services. The strategic direction being established by new AKA leaders is providing a positive framework for services' annual planning.

Key Next Steps

Managers agree that they should continue to place more emphasis on:

  • streamlining assessment and planning processes to more clearly reflect individual children's dispositions and learning over time

  • improving strategic planning by using evaluative questions to guide processes.

It would be useful for AKA managers to:

  • clarify new roles and engage teaching teams in the implementation of the new structure across the AKA

  • increase the rigour of monitoring and quality assurance, and strengthen Internal evaluation at all levels of the AKA

  • identify and implement strategies for achieving greater consistency of the practices that are strengths in some services, across the AKA.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of KiNZ Otara 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

7 October 2019

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


Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 32 Girls 16

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Cook Island Māori
other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

7 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2015

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

April 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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.