Milverton Kindergarten - 15/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Milverton Kindergarten

How well placed is Milverton 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.


Milverton Kindergarten is one of 25 early childhood services administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 40 children aged over two years. Of the children enrolled, five are Māori. At the time of this ERO review, all children enrolled were aged three years or older. The kindergarten community is culturally diverse.

All five teachers are qualified and registered. Three have worked together for a number of years. In 2016, the kindergarten’s licensed hours were increased to 30 per week and staffing was increased accordingly.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises the importance of respectful, reciprocal relationships and everyone working together (whanaungatanga) to support children’s learning. Biculturalism, the needs of each learner and their family and whānau, and provision of a high quality learning environment, are all given high priority.

The October 2012 ERO report supported the teaching team’s finding that ongoing evaluation should be more focused on the effectiveness of the programme in fostering children’s learning. Progress in this area is evident.

Day-to-day management of the association's affairs is the responsibility of the general manager. A governing board sets the overall strategic direction. The senior teacher provides professional leadership for teaching and learning. An operations manager supports services’ compliance, policy development and leadership. A management restructure has been undertaken since the previous ERO review.

This review is one of a cluster of eight reviews of Ruahine Kindergarten Association early learning services.

The Review Findings

The values articulated in the kindergarten's philosophy statement are reflected in practice. A sense of whanaungatanga is highly evident in staff teamwork, the regular group gathering times and good level of participation and support of parents and whānau.

Teachers are inclusive in their practice. They work hard to encourage the participation of all families who are part of this culturally diverse learning community. Priority learners are collaboratively identified and planned for. There is good knowledge of, and liaison developed with, outside agencies should they be needed. Teachers recognise the importance of continuing to develop their understanding of Pacific cultures to support effective provision for these families.

Teachers acknowledge the importance and place of te ao Māori through the programme. This is evident in the consideration of bicultural values, some teacher development goals and professional learning opportunities. Association leaders are strongly committed to implementing a bicultural curriculum and promoting success for Māori as Māori. The revised te Tiriti o Waitangi policy, Wise Practice document and bicultural exemplars should support development of these practices.

The high quality environment supports children's investigation of, and participation in, a wide range of learning experiences. The outdoor area is well designed, presenting interesting areas for exploration and physically challenging play. Gardens provide rich authentic opportunities for investigation of the natural environment. Children are able to choose the level and timing of their participation for much of the day and have free access to learning materials. They enjoy the opportunities provided, showing confidence and independence as learners. A busy and purposeful tone is maintained.

Teachers are nurturing, encouraging and affirming. They engage well with children to support their settling, play and sustained engagement in learning experiences. Routines and expectations for behaviour are understood by children and consistently and positively reinforced by teachers. Children are encouraged, in ongoing ways, to be self-managing, resilient and to challenge themselves to try difficult things. They show enthusiasm for learning, and cooperation and friendliness towards peers and adults.

Although there are no two-year-olds presently enrolled, teachers are aware of the need to continue to develop routines and strategies that best support the learning and full participation of these children in the programme.

The programme effectively responds to children's interests, strengths and needs. Literacy, mathematics, the arts, science and physical activity are well integrated in play-based ways. Planning includes reference to learning that is valued at the service: the early childhood curriculum outcomes; children's developing learning dispositions; and the centre's philosophy. This process results in the identification of intentional teaching strategies to support individual learning. Teachers collaborate to consider the impact of agreed strategies on outcomes for children and ways of enhancing their approach. Their strong commitment to culturally responsive practice should be further enacted through increased acknowledgement of children's cultures, languages and identities, and te ao Māori in learning records.

The collection and sharing of assessment information with parents and whānau, through the use of an online programme, is improving dialogue about children's learning between teachers and families. Teachers recognise that they should continue to work on strengthening parents' and whānau partnership, including more purposeful planning to meet the aspirations they have for their children's learning at kindergarten.

Children's and their families' transitions into, and out of the kindergarten to primary school, are carefully considered. Support for new families is individualised according to their needs. Teachers continue to review and develop their approach to supporting transition to primary school. Research based on best practice is accessed to support their decision making. They agree that the development of reciprocal and purposeful relationships with the many local schools children move on to should be a priority to support the sharing of information about individuals and school and early childhood programmes.

Teachers work cohesively and collaboratively. Team work is well established. The head teacher provides strong leadership focused on improvement and outcomes for children.

The association is providing good support for teachers to use a more evaluative approach to review for improvement. Teachers should continue to build their shared understanding and use of internal evaluation to support decision making that improves and sustains positive outcomes for children. The association agrees the continued development of the Wise Practice indicators should occur to support understanding about the quality and effectiveness of practice and operation at kindergarten through to board level.

The kindergarten's annual plan outlines priorities for the year linked to the association's strategic goals of having high quality staff, coordinated services, effective partnerships and operations. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality indicators linked to outcomes for children are a useful addition to the annual plan. These should be further defined to enable more effective monitoring of progress.

The association provides effective governance and management support for this service. This includes:

  • constructive and improvement-focused support from the senior teacher

  • suitable quality assurance processes and guidelines linked to compliance with regulations and association expectations

  • a variety of operational and administrative support

  • effective and targeted support for teacher and leadership development through appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree that teachers should continue to strengthen the team's approach to:

  • supporting transition to school

  • internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

15 September 2016

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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 29, Girls 27

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




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

August 2016

Date of this report

15 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

May 2009

Education Review

June 2005

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.