Maxwell and Districts Kindergarten - 24/05/2019

1 Evaluation of Maxwell and Districts Kindergarten

How well placed is Maxwell and Districts Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Maxwell and Districts Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Maxwell and Districts Kindergarten is situated in the rural district of Maxwell, several kilometres north of Whanganui. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8.15am until 2:45pm. Full day places are available for children aged from two to six years. The service, previously a community based and run preschool, has been operating for four years under the management of the Whanganui Kindergarten Association. Many families travel some distance to enable their children to attend. Most children attend part time. From the beginning of 2019 the kindergarten operates a 50 week service. At the time of this ERO evaluation there are 37 children enrolled, with seven identifying as Māori.

The kindergarten has established an educational relationship with the local iwi, Ngā Rauru. They have entered into a research project to implement Te Koo iwi Roa, the education plan for Nga Rauru.

The kindergarten philosophy is based around the concepts of whanaungatanga.

Maxwell and Districts Kindergarten is one of 15 kindergartens governed and managed by the Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). The governing board is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for the organisation. The day-to-day running of the association is the role of the general manager, who is responsible to the board.

Since April 2018, the association's programme of professional learning and development and curriculum implementation has been managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated. An association senior teacher and two senior teachers from Whānau Manaaki provide regular support for teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of 15 in the Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated.

The Review Findings

Children engage in a wide range of well planned curriculum experiences. They are viewed as capable and competent learners. Self management and creativity are fostered by caring adults who work positively alongside children to extend learning. The principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, are highly visible in the service. Most children do not attend the kindergarten every day and teachers are very mindful to support their sense of belonging.

Teachers take time to know children and their families well. They plan appropriate learning experiences based on children's emerging and known needs and interests. Parents contribute to their children's learning plans and teachers incorporate their aspirations within the programme.

Assessment, planning and evaluation have been strengthened. Families are active participants in the planning process. The visibility of planning informs children's ongoing learning and curriculum development.

Children's language, culture and identity are enhanced through the value that teachers give to the knowledge and aroha that whānau bring to the centre. The kindergarten is an active participant in the local Ngā Rauru iwi education initiative, Te Koo iwi Roa. This focus is contributing to building teacher capability to deepen their knowledge of te ao Māori. Ongoing development of a place-based curriculum is supported.

Inclusive practices support children's participation and engagement. Teachers work positively to identify and use appropriate teaching strategies to engage children with diverse learning needs. They confidently liaise with external agencies to ensure that children and their families are well supported to achieve positive outcomes.

Children's transitions in to and out of the kindergarten are well managed. The relationship and partnership links made between the kindergarten and children's homes is a feature. Teachers have taken a well considered approach to making those connections so that children and their families know teachers value what they bring to children's learning. Teachers participate in transition meetings at local schools to support learners and their families. They share transition information about children with their new entrant teachers. They make links between the early childhood and school curriculums.

Internal evaluation is clearly focused on change and improvement leading to positive outcomes for children. Ongoing priorities are informed by evaluation. The service is responsive to the changing needs of its rural community. Evaluation includes a strong parent voice.

The governing board is future-focused and has taken appropriate steps to strengthen opportunities for teachers’ professional learning and development. An association-wide appraisal process is in place to support teacher practice in promoting positive learning outcomes for children. Consistency of its implementation across all kindergartens requires strengthening.

Key Next Steps

Association leaders and ERO agree that for ongoing and sustained improvement, staff at Maxwell and Districts Kindergarten should continue to strengthen assessment practices. This should focus on clearly identifying the learning and evaluating the impact on children's learning outcomes.

The senior management team of Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated should continue to strengthen the implementation of teacher appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Maxwell and Districts 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

24 May 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 22, Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

24 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2015

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.