Meta Riddiford Kindergarten - 16/02/2017

1 Evaluation of Meta Riddiford Kindergarten

How well placed is Meta Riddiford 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.


Meta Riddiford Kindergarten is situated in Featherston, South Wairarapa District. It 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.

The service is licensed for 30 children aged over two years. Of the children enrolled, 15 are Māori. Since the July 2013 ERO report, the kindergarten has diversified to offer five, six hour sessions for a mixed-age group weekly. Parents also have the option of whānau grouping for their children.

Significant changes to the kindergarten's staffing and the association's senior teacher team have occurred over the past two years. Both permanent full-time teaching positions are currently held by relief staff. All teachers are qualified and certificated. One teacher has provisional certification.

The recently reviewed kindergarten philosophy reflects teachers' shared values and beliefs. It underpins teaching practices and priorities for learners and emphasises the importance of seeking whānau aspirations for children and having fun.

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 the exRimutaka Kindergartens occurred during 2015, with kindergartens adapting it to respond to their community. The Meta Riddiford teaching team are at the early stages of using this document to guide practice in this area. 

The previous ERO report for Meta Riddiford Kindergarten identified that building shared understanding of self review, assessment and planning was needed. Progress in addressing these areas has been impacted by staffing changes.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 reviews in the He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua kindergartens.

The Review Findings

Children experience positive and responsive relationships with teachers. Staff have a clear emphasis on ensuring teaching practice and the environment are supportive and inclusive. They encourage respectful behaviour and support children's developing social competencies. A carefully considered setting contributes significantly to children’s and whānau sense of belonging.

Assessment is increasingly responsive to children's immediate and emerging strengths, interests and skills. Narratives and photographs show their engagement and, at times, dispositional learning and progress. These observations of learning are reflected in portfolios and a variety of visual displays within the kindergarten. Evaluation of the impact of teaching strategies and curriculum decisions on children’s learning is in the early stages of implementation.

Teachers view each family and its knowledge of their child as an important part of the kindergarten’s learning community. Increasing communication with whānau about children’s learning programmes, progress and achievements is a developing focus for teachers.

Teachers increasingly incorporate te ao Māori into the programme as a part of children’s daily experiences. The acting head teacher is a confident role model of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and provides valuable support for staff understanding and using bicultural practices. Promoting the wairua of whanaungatanga and aroha for whānau and the community continues to be embedded within teaching and learning.

A current review of children's transitions out of the kindergarten should provide useful guidance in supporting teachers to enhance outcomes for children as they move to school. Transitions into the service are flexible and responsive to the needs of individual children and families.

The acting head teacher provides supportive leadership and, in a short time, has helped to refine and develop the team's shared understanding of assessment and planning. Strategic teaching and learning plans, and emergent reviews provide useful direction. Teachers take time to reflect on their effectiveness. Internal evaluation for improvement continues to evolve and should contribute to positive changes and outcomes for children and whānau.

The senior teacher provides termly written feedback that outlines agreed development priorities and progress in relation to the quality of teaching and learning. They complete an annual internal evaluation that supports strengthening of these termly reports. There is a deliberate focus on outcomes for children and teacher/leader performance.

The previous report identified that the association needed to improve the appraisal processes. Managers undertook an internal review of the appraisal system. The revised model is being implemented across the kindergartens. The process includes focused goals that build teacher and leader capability and clearer links with the Practising Teacher Criteria.

Key Next Steps

The senior teacher, senior head teacher, staff and ERO agree that the following key next steps for Meta Riddiford Kindergarten are to further develop and:

  • embed newly introduced assessment, planning and evaluation practices to support future teaching and learning

  • strengthen teachers' capacity for internal evaluation to promote their inquiry into the impact of teaching practice on outcomes for children.

The association should continue to support the development of formal critique of teaching practice.

Progress against an action plan, that addresses the key next steps will be monitored by ERO.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

16 February 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 22, Boys 18

Ethnic composition









Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

16 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

July 2013

Education Review

May 2010

Education Review

February 2007

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.