Matapihi Kindergarten - 26/08/2013

1 Evaluation of Matapihi Kindergarten

How well placed is Matapihi 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.


Matapihi Kindergarten is located at Te Mata about five kilometres from Whāingaroa/Raglan. The kindergarten is a privately owned and operated service providing education and care for up to 30 children from two years to school age. It provides an all day service and is open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. At the time of this ERO review, the roll was 42 children and 11 identify as Māori and whākapapa to a number of iwi.

The kindergarten management group has set high expectations for the delivery of education and care and they support teachers’ professional learning and practice. The kindergarten has a positive ERO reporting history and the teaching team has remained consistent. Management and teachers continue to provide children and their families with high-quality teaching and learning experiences.

Matapihi Kindergarten is located in the countryside on eight acres of land which is covered in native bush and a stand of kahikatea. Te Taiao (the natural world) is the primary focus and Te Ao Māori values and beliefs interweave throughout the centre programme.

The Matapihi Kindergarten philosophy for learning encompasses Te Taiao and connects children to Papatuanuku (Mother Nature). The enacting of this philosophy assists children to develop a deeper understanding of Te Ao Māori. Teachers view themselves as partners and facilitators in the learning process. They aim to develop children’s emotional, physical, spiritual, social, intellectual and cultural wellbeing.

Since the last ERO review, management and teachers have further strengthened kindergarten self-review practices. This has included involvement in action research about best practice in early childhood education. The implementation of Uru Taiao, three days a week where children spend the day learning and playing in the natural environment, is a significant development. There has been national and international interest in this initiative. This interest has led to the provision of professional development within the early childhood education sector and includes regular observations of the programme in action. Developing children’s social competencies within the Uru Taiao programme has been the major focus of professional learning.

The Review Findings

Matapihi Kindergarten is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children. Centre managers provide a high standard of professional leadership and insight. They have worked collaboratively with teachers to establish a community of learners with shared values about early childhood education and care. The centre’s philosophy, the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and whanaungatanga (embrace, support and caring) are strongly embedded in centre systems, practices, teaching and learning.

Teachers provide a high-quality holistic education that promotes positive and trusting relationships with people and the natural living word. This is demonstrated through teachers’ interactions with children and the relationships that evolve as a result of successfully supporting the concept of manaakitanga (nurture) and aroha (compassion and respect). Children’s sense of wellbeing and belonging is nurtured and fostered by teachers, who know them and their families well. Parents are kept well informed about their child’s learning through high-quality communication processes and individual child portfolios.

Teachers are strong advocates for children and contribute a high level of expertise and skills to their roles. Children benefit from teachers ability to skilfully tune into their interests, strengths and engage in learning conversations that affirm their contributions and extend their thinking.

Children experience a high-quality curriculum that encourages them to problem solve, think critically and to be socially competent. Particular strengths of the kindergarten programme provide opportunities for children to:

  • develop their social and communication skills
  • experience an integrated programme that supports their developing understanding of literacy, mathematical and science concepts
  • be involved in self-directed sustained and complex learning, individually and in groups
  • learn in authentic and meaningful contexts that are responsive to the knowledge, interest, skills and dispositions of the learning community
  • be creative and use their imagination
  • develop the language and tikanga of te ao Māori, which are interwoven into daily practices
  • affirm their own cultural identity and enhance their appreciation and understanding of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Children are developing essential life-long learning dispositions such as resilience, perseverance, empathy and respect for others. These attributes and attitudes contribute to children's life-long learning experiences.

Another outstanding feature of the kindergarten curriculum is the implementation of the Uru Taiao programme where children can actively explore, investigate and make sense of the natural living world around them. This includes learning in the native bush and forest on the centre property. This learning supports children to develop curiosity about the world around them, to be adventurous, take informed risks, learn to respect the views and opinions of others and be comfortable with routines and change. A centre parent describes Uru Taiao as 'a classroom that has no walls, very few rules and infinite possibilities'.

Rich experiences are supporting children to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators healthy in mind, body and spirit, and secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution.

Key Next Steps

ERO affirms the centre’s current direction which is based on highly effective self-review. ERO is confident that management and teachers have the capacity to continue to achieve ongoing improvement and continue to provide increasingly positive outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Matapihi 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 Matapihi Kindergarten will be in four years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

26 August 2013

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


Te Mata, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 28 Boys 14

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Cook Island

Other European





Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2013

Date of this report

26 August 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2010

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.