Merrilands Kindergarten - 04/11/2013

1 Evaluation of Merrilands Kindergarten

How well placed is Merrilands 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.


Merrilands Kindergarten is one of sixteen kindergartens managed by the North Taranaki Kindergarten Association (the association). The association governing board is responsible for setting overall strategic and policy direction for the organisation. Senior teachers are employed by the association to support teaching and learning.

Since the June 2010 ERO report the kindergarten has diversified to an all-day licence and caters for 34 children aged mainly three and four years. The teaching team consists of four qualified teachers. Three staff are fully registered and one is working towards registration.

The centre philosophy is based on valuing and providing a learning community that recognises the curriculum as including people, the physical environment and resources. Partnerships with parents and whānau are strong, warm and respectful. Their opinions and aspirations are valued, actively sought and used as a basis for future decisions.

The kindergarten has a positive reporting history with ERO. Areas for development identified in the previous ERO report have been addressed and teachers, committee and community have worked together to redevelop the outdoor area. The playground is inviting, acknowledges different cultures and encourages children’s exploration and investigation.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews in the North Taranaki Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Board members undertake regular training and have developed useful processes to support governance roles and responsibilities. The senior teacher provides ongoing support and guidance for teachers. She promotes regular professional development opportunities and use of systems that focus on fostering positive outcomes for children.

The curriculum, strongly underpinned by the concept of respect and empowerment, enables teachers to nurture and build positive, trusting relationships with children and their families. Teachers use deliberate, successful teaching strategies to guide and build on children’s developing competencies. Responsive teachers support children’s social and emotional progress.

Children are confident and active participants in learning. They make choices about play and set challenges for themselves. Children initiate interactions and conversations with their peers and adults. They develop cooperative relationships through their engagement with others and are competent and enthusiastic learners.

Well designed and resourced environments invite children’s participation in a wide range of learning opportunities. A rich variety of experiences for children to increase their understanding of reading, writing and mathematics are successfully included in programmes in meaningful ways. Children’s active exploration is stimulated and encouraged. They demonstrate positive attitudes and take increased responsibility for their own learning.

Teachers positively recognise and celebrate cultural diversity. The programme clearly reflects parents’ aspirations for their children. Bicultural perspectives are valued and Māori whānau expertise is sought and valued. Te reo Māori is naturally interwoven into conversations with children. Teachers support Māori children within a learning environment and meaningful experiences that celebrate their language, culture and identity.

Teachers clearly recognise the value of providing an inclusive education. Those children identified as requiring extra support are carefully monitored. Observations form the basis of individual development plans that are developed collaboratively with parents and whānau to maximise children’s learning potential.

Teachers work collaboratively with parents to support children’s seamless transition to school. The neighbouring school and service work closely together. Reciprocal visits between kindergarten and school occur where possible. Teachers and parents share information with new entrant teachers so that children’s confidence and capability at kindergarten transfers to the classroom at school.

Leadership is collaborative and improvement focused. The experienced head teacher has a clear vision for the kindergarten that is well communicated. The new teaching team is developing a culture based on mutual respect and skills that successfully encourages children’s learning. Teachers engage in purposeful learning conversations. They effectively use evaluation and robust self review to sustain and improve outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Self review results in positive change for children and their families. The teaching team is focused on enhancing the existing self-review processes by continuing to build their evaluative capacity. ERO agrees that using the kindergarten’s well developed review process to evaluate all aspects of teaching and learning should continue to promote positive outcomes for children.

The association should continue to review appraisal and consider formal critique of teaching practice and feedback processes to enhance teaching and learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

index-html-m2a7690f7.gifJoyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

4 November 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


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

34 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 31

Girls 26

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


Choose an item.


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

4 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2010


Education Review

December 2005


Accountability Review

October 2002

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.