Matariki Kindergarten - 06/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Matariki Kindergarten

How well placed is Matariki 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.


Matariki Kindergarten is in Wallaceville, Upper Hutt. The kindergarten operates for a full day to meet the needs of its community. It caters for children from birth to five years, providing opportunities for siblings to play and learn together. Infants and toddlers have their own designated space, Tipu Room, alongside the over two year old learning area, Puawai.

The revised kindergarten philosophy is built on the principles of Te Whāriki and commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Relationships, manaakitanga and the importance of whānau experiencing kindness and respect are central to centre beliefs.

Matariki Kindergarten is one of 85 kindergartens and three home-based education and care networks governed and managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). This is a new kindergarten association created from joining the Rimutaka and Wellington Kindergarten Associations in 2014. This is the first review for this kindergarten since the merger.

Since the October 2013 ERO evaluation, there have been several changes to the teaching and kindergarten leadership. In October 2015, an experienced head teacher was appointed to lead the team.

The board and managers provide governance for the organisation. Senior teachers have delegated kindergartens. Their role is to provide regular support and a range of professional learning and development opportunities for teachers.

In 2012, the Wellington association developed a framework to guide the implementation of its curriculum, Te Manawa. This document outlines criteria for curriculum delivery including expectations for assessment and planning for children’s learning. Its introduction within this and other ex-Rimutaka Kindergartens occurred during 2015 with each kindergarten adapting it to respond to their community.

The previous ERO report for Matariki Kindergarten identified a number of areas for review and development. These included: continuing to strengthen and embed assessment and planning; and defining what success for Māori and Pacific children means. Teachers have made good progress in responding to these key next steps.

This review was part of a cluster of nine reviews in the He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy the company of their peers. There are many opportunities for them to problem solve, take risks, make decisions and lead their learning. They show confidence to approach others and share their ideas. Many sustain their interests for extended periods. Literacy and numeracy is naturally integrated into children's play. Tuakana teina relationships are evident.

Infants and toddlers experience unhurried, flexible and respectful interactions. Teachers are attuned to their needs and support consistency of care and familiarity for children and families. They recognise the importance of building trusting relationships and supporting children’s social learning.

Relationships are responsive, warm and nurturing. Teachers know children well. They make good use of a wide range of practices that effectively support children's interests and learning. Resourcing is purposeful and promotes children's curiosity and exploration.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported through inclusive approaches.

Children have opportunities to hear te reo Māori and experience tikanga Māori. Teachers are well placed to consider and respond to what success as Māori means at Matariki Kindergarten. Growing practice and involving Pacific aiga in the programme are identified next steps.

Teachers make good use of reflection, evidence and research to support decision-making to improve their teaching. Considerable emphasis has been placed on establishing and growing a collaborative culture where teamwork is highly evident.

Expectations for teaching and learning have significantly strengthened. Leadership is strongly relationship based. Well established systems and processes support teachers to grow their practice. The senior head teacher encourages teachers to develop their leadership to contribute to the programme.

Teachers are clear about the purpose and use of assessment and planning for learning. They successfully use Te Manawa to guide curriculum implementation. Recent developments are making teacher planning more visible. Parent aspirations are sought and highly valued. The use of an online assessment tool is enhancing their contributions to their children's learning. Teachers recognise some aspects require further strengthening.

Transitions across the centre are sensitively managed, in response to children's routines and needs. Parents and teachers share information and work together to support these processes. Teachers are actively involved in external networks and professional learning groups to support transition to school across the Upper Hutt community.

The senior teacher provides termly written feedback on agreed development priorities and the quality of teaching and learning. An annual internal evaluation supports strengthening of these termly reports. There is a deliberate focus on outcomes for children and teacher/leader performance.

A strengthened appraisal model is being implemented across the kindergartens. This includes focused goals that build teacher and leader capability and clearer links with the Practising Teacher Criteria.

Teachers understanding of self review/internal evaluation has deepened. They have made good use of this process to strengthen how they support children's social competence. Leaders are promoting inquiry and effectively leading reviews that make improvements to teaching and learning. They continue to explore ways to involve all staff in leading evaluations.

Key Next Steps

The senior teacher, senior head teacher, staff and ERO agree on the following key next steps, to:

  • build on practices that support Māori and Pacific children's success

  • further develop assessment and planning practices

  • continue to build teachers' capacity to undertake internal evaluation.

The association should continue to support the development of formal critique of teaching practice and strengthening responsiveness for Māori children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Matariki 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)

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

To improve current practice, management should make sure that all non-registered personnel, are police vetted every three years. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Matariki Kindergarten will be in three years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

6 June 2017

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


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 18, Girls 17

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

April 2017

Date of this report

6 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

Supplementary Review

May 2011

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.