Mackenzie Kindergarten - 03/10/2014

1 Evaluation of Mackenzie Kindergarten

How well placed is Mackenzie 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.


Mackenzie Kindergarten is located in Fairlie. The kindergarten serves a large rural area where most families are involved in farming, service and tourism. Many children travel long distances to attend kindergarten, some of them independently on school buses.

The kindergarten is licensed for 40 children and provides education and care for children from two years to school age. Some children attend only once or twice a week. There is a well-established teaching team.

The kindergarten has a very spacious outdoor area with a sports ground, bike track and garden.

Teachers have continued to work on the recommendations in the 2011 ERO report.

This review was part of a cluster of eleven11 kindergarten reviews in the South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association (SCKFKA).

The Review Findings

The kindergarten receives strong support from parents and the wider community. It provides a meeting place for parents of young children and families new to the area. Children benefit from teachers’ understanding of the community and the close links teachers have with families. Children and their families are warmly welcomed. Parents are comfortable to spend time with their children in the kindergarten and share information about their children and family events.Teachers make good use of the expertise of people in the community and other visitors to the kindergarten in providing learning opportunities for children.

Teachers have a focus on supporting children to establish friendships and play well with each other. They are encouraging and calm with children and support them to settle into kindergarten and learn the routines.

Children play and learn in attractive and well-resourced indoor and outdoor spaces. They have a range of interesting learning experiences that reflects the rural community, such as hatching chickens and gardening. Children enjoy a range of engaging physical activities such as 'Rippa' rugby and riding on the bike track. Children They have easy access to resources and equipment and can make choices about their play.

Teachers record and display the stories children tell them as part of a strong focus on literacy. Other aspects of the programme that support children’s learning include:

  • learning about mathematics in meaningful ways

  • small-group experiences where children enjoy familiar songs and stories

  • a focus on children’s painting and drawing

  • experiences that encourage creativity and imagination

  • strategies to support children’s successful transition to school.

As part of the review ERO investigated how well the programme supported children to develop early mathematics concepts. Children enjoy learning about mathematics throughout the day. Teachers have an interest in promoting children’s mathematics learning and use specific mathematics language to help children understand mathematics concepts.

Teachers value the children’s cultural identities. They seek Māori and Pacific parents’ wishes for their children and respond to these in children’s profiles and in wall displays.

Teachers regularly plan for all individuals and for groups of children. They gather parent input into these plans. Children’s profiles clearly show children’s learning and development related to the individual plans.

The experienced head teacher fosters close relationships within the community. The teaching team has a commitment to professional development and improvement. Teachershey find ways to share new knowledge with families and the community.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the teachers agree, that there are some key next steps to improve outcomes for children.

Teachers need to review the philosophy so it better reflects the learning priorities that teachers and families have for their children. They need to describe what the philosophy looks like in action and use this to guide their teaching practice.

Aspects of assessment, planning and evaluation require refining. Planning needs to respond to the priorities identified in the philosophy. Evaluation of group planning should show how well the intended learning has been achieved.

To better support toddlers, teachers should develop an understanding of the curriculum requirements for this age group and develop shared expectations of suitable teaching practices.

To improve self-review practices, teachers need to develop a shared understanding of rigorous self review. This should include using an evaluative question and indicators of best practice.

Teachers need to continue to plan to increase their use of te reo and tikanga Māori practices in the programme.


The SCFKA is governed by a board and managed by a newly appointed general manager. The board:

  • has a strong commitment to teaching and learning

  • seeks parents views about important matters in the association

  • has made changes to the roll size and opening hours of the kindergartens to be more responsive to community needs and maintain the financial viability of the association

  • is very responsive to important government initiatives such as ensuring educational success for all children.

Next steps for the board are to:

  • know more about their roles and responsibilities as governors

  • develop strategic planning

  • ensure that reporting is more evaluative to show how the goals of the association are being met and used to inform future planning

refine appraisal systems to ensure that staff and teachers more formally receive critical feedback about their work.

The senior teachers provide useful ongoing professional development and a strong focus on teaching and learning to the kindergartens within the association. They have shared with the teachers at Mackenzie Kindergarten the expectations they have for teaching and learning and how well they think the team is meeting those expectations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

30 September 20143 October 2014

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: 26 Girls: 17

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā









Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

30 September 20143 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2011


Education Review

November 2007


Education Review

November 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.