Koru Kindergarten - 17/08/2018

1 Evaluation of Koru Kindergarten

How well placed is Koru 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.


Koru Kindergarten is next to the Stratford High School Teen Parent Unit (TPU). It is used by parents attending the TPU and the wider community. Education and care is provided for children aged from three months to school age and it is licensed for 42 children including 30 up to the age of two. Of the 52 children enrolled at the time of the ERO evaluation, a third identify as Māori.

The kindergarten's philosophy emphasises the importance of respect and understanding of each child's unique character, in a place where children and adults can learn and grow together.

A parent committee supports the kindergarten with fundraising, finances and community events. The kindergarten participates in the Enviroschools programme, and is a member of the Central Taranaki Kāhui Ako. All teachers at Koru Kindergarten are fully qualified.

Since ERO's 2015 report the kindergarten has increased its opening hours to include some weeks of the school term holidays. The building has been extended to incorporate a purpose built sleep room and a dedicated play space for infants and toddlers. This has addressed the non-compliance issues identified in the previous report.

Koru Kindergarten is one of 24 kindergartens governed and managed by Kindergarten Taranaki-Te Putahi Kura Pūhou Taranaki (the organisation). Day-to-day management of the organisation is the responsibility of the chief executive. A governing board sets the overall strategic direction. A professional manager and two professional leaders provide regular support and a range of learning and development opportunities for teachers. An operations manager supports kindergartens' policy development and compliance.

In 2017 the board developed a strategic plan with the intention for individual kindergartens to align their strategic plans to the organisation's goals and measures. The "Quality Evaluation Tool" was introduced in late 2017. The purpose of this document is for teachers to self-assess teaching and learning practices to inform internal evaluation and improve outcomes for children.

ERO's May 2015 report identified several areas for the kindergarten to review and develop, including measuring the impact of teaching, confidence with te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and relationships with local schools. Significant progress has been made.

ERO also identified areas for the organisation to strengthen. These included:

  • developing the annual plan

  • strengthening systems and processes for performance management

  • consistent implementation of appraisal

  • reviewing and clarifying the role of the professional leaders in building teachers’ capability.

Progress in these areas is evident.

This review was part of a cluster of five reviews in Kindergarten Taranaki-Te Putahi Kura Pūhou Taranaki.

The Review Findings

Children are empowered to lead their own learning within a carefully considered environment. Adaptable resources encourage exploration. Teachers are strengthening the bicultural curriculum and this is an ongoing focus for development. They work alongside children well and engage them in good conversations about their learning. Children play for focused periods of time as individuals and in groups.

Infants and toddlers are respectfully cared for in a calm, settled environment. Teachers have consistent and clearly defined teaching approaches that help children form strong, secure attachments. Care routines are unhurried and child led.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported to engage with the curriculum. Teachers are proactive in implementing relevant support. They work closely with parents and external agencies to progress and monitor children's learning goals.

A range of strategies help promote children's confidence and sense of belonging as they transition to school. Strong relationships with local primary schools are established.

Learning centred partnerships with parents are evident. A range of useful information about the curriculum is shared. Parents contribute meaningfully to the recently revised assessment, planning and evaluation system. They work collaboratively with teachers to identify learning goals for individual children and plans are developed to support them. Ongoing observation allows teachers to reflect on children's learning related to their goals. Teachers should strengthen:

  • how they show the impact of specific teacher strategies and children's progress over time

  • how children's culture, language and identity informs planning to progress their learning.

Teachers’ are increasingly responsive to the culture, language and identity of Māori children. This is supported by the organisation's environmental focus, consideration of localised bicultural values, and teacher development goals and professional learning opportunities. A number of new initiatives and systems have been developed by the organisation that should further develop these aspects of practice.

Exploring strategies that promote educational success for Pacific children has been identified by teachers as a next step. ERO's external evaluation confirms this.

Leaders and teachers are highly reflective and committed to improving their professional practice. They draw effectively on research and community consultation to complete meaningful reviews of centre operation. A focus on enhancing the programme to improve outcomes for children is evident. A collaborative team culture supports a strong commitment to delivering the philosophy in practice.

The organisation provides useful governance and management support for this kindergarten. This includes:

  • purposeful support from the professional leaders to build teacher capability

  • effective and targeted teacher and leadership development through an appraisal process and a range of professional learning opportunities.

Organisation leaders are purposefully building teachers’ understanding of internal evaluation through ongoing mentoring. Teachers should continue to clearly measure the impact of practices on children’s learning.

Key Next Steps

ERO, the professional leader and teachers agree the following key next steps for Koru Kindergarten are to further develop:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • strategies that support educational success for Pacific children

  • the evaluative aspect of internal evaluation.

ERO and Kindergarten Taranaki agree that the organisation should further develop:

  • quality assurance processes and guidelines linked to compliance with regulations and association expectations

  • a policy framework to support kindergartens.

Managers and leaders should consolidate newly introduced plans and processes and evaluate the effectiveness of practices and operation across all levels of the organisation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

17 August 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

42 children, including up to 30 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 29, Girls 23

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

17 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2015

Education Review

July 2012

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.