Milverton Kindergarten - 18/10/2019

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

Milverton Kindergarten is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Milverton Kindergarten is located in Palmerston North. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 2.30pm. Full day places are available to children from two to six years old. At the time of this review, there were 56 children enrolled and nine identify as Māori.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises relationships as the foundation to connect children, family and whānau, teachers and community. Te ao Māori is celebrated alongside the diverse cultures of children who attend. The values of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are integral to promote a sense of belonging to the service. Curiosity and creativity are nurtured and encouraged.

The kindergarten is administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association (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 chief executive officer who is responsible to the board. An operations manager supports the service’s compliance and policy development. Two senior teachers provide educational leadership across the teaching teams.

The September 2016 ERO report identified that the team approach to supporting transition to school and internal evaluation required strengthening. Good progress has been made to address these areas.

This kindergarten is part of the Palmerston North City and Rural Schools Kāhui Ako One (now known as Te Oro Karaka Tahi Kāhui Ako).

This review was part of a cluster of twelve kindergartens and one early learning service in the Ruahine Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

The philosophy and the service's priorities for learning are highly evident in practice. Children's sense of belonging is fostered within an environment that prioritises whanaungatanga. Strong, respectful and reciprocal relationships are formed with each family. Their languages and cultures are valued and contribute to the provision of an inclusive learning environment.

A wide range of activities and resources provides ample opportunities for children to explore their interests. Rich conversations and interactions between children and adults promote language development. Teachers connect with children in meaningful ways and celebrate their achievements. Intentional teaching strategies are interwoven in children's play to extend thinking, curiosity and problem solving.

Māori children's identities are acknowledged as the foundation for promoting their success. Teachers acknowledge whakapapa as integral to the development of a sense of self and connectedness. Parents and whānau contribute to their children's learning and work in partnership with teachers to support their children's success.

Children are well supported to experience and learn about the dual heritages of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Te ao Māori concepts are woven throughout the curriculum. Daily hui provides meaningful opportunities for children to learn pepeha, mihi, karakia and local iwi stories. Teachers continue to deepen their understanding of te ao Māori alongside children, whānau and the community.

Teachers identify potential barriers that may inhibit children's access and participation in learning. Relevant external support is accessed, as required, to meet the wellbeing and learning needs of children.

Effective partnerships with families and local schools nurture children's sense of belonging as they move on to school.

Assessment records highlight and build on children's strengths, dispositions for learning and interests. Learning narratives successfully show children as successful and competent learners. Their social and cultural worlds are acknowledged and appropriately responded to across the curriculum. Further evaluation of the impact of teaching strategies and curriculum decisions on progressing children's learning should enrich the individual planning process.

Senior teachers work collaboratively to build teacher and leadership capability. There is a strong commitment to growing staff knowledge and skills through ongoing professional learning, research opportunities and the sharing of good practice.

The service effectively uses the association-wide internal evaluation framework to engage in systematic internal evaluation. Teachers are reflective of changes that are made and the impact they have on improving children's wellbeing and learning. Extending the use of evaluation to identify actions for improvement should further support decision making to enhance learning outcomes for all children.

Association leaders have a well-considered approach to progressing strategic objectives. Robust systems and processes are in place for reporting, monitoring and evaluating the quality of operations. Information is used to inform decision making and to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

At kindergarten level, priorities are to continue to use evaluation to:

  • enrich the development of individual learning pathways

  • monitor the effectiveness of implemented initiatives on promoting equitable learning outcomes for children.

At the governance level, the Ruahine Kindergarten Association have identified that their priorities are to continue to:

  • strengthen and build their knowledge and understanding of tikanga Māori and seek engagement with local iwi, with kaumatua support.

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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

18 October 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


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

Female 28, Male 28

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
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

August 2019

Date of this report

18 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2016

Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

May 2009

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.