Murdoch Park Kindergarten - 20/09/2017

1 Evaluation of Murdoch Park Kindergarten

How well placed is Murdoch Park 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.


Murdoch Park Kindergarten, in Papatoetoe, offers education and care for up to 40 children over the age of two years. In April 2017 the kindergarten increased its sessions to seven hours a day. The kindergarten serves a very culturally diverse community. Most children are of Pacific or Indian heritage.

Children are cared for and learn in a mixed-aged setting. The learning environment is spacious, attractive and well organised. The indoor area has been renovated and upgraded, and includes a large porch area for further play opportunities.

The kindergarten's philosophy focuses on respectful and responsive relationships as the foundation of learning and wellbeing. Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpin responsive, child-led programmes.

The teaching team consists of three fully qualified teachers, a teacher assistant, teacher aide and administrator. The head teacher was appointed from within the team and is an able leader. The previous head teacher is also on staff and adds to the wealth of experience, skills and knowledge within the teaching team. A fourth full-time, permanent teacher is currently being appointed. Teachers have diverse cultural backgrounds and are able to support many children in their home languages.

The 2014 ERO review identified many positive features that have been sustained. These include child Independence, relationships with whānau and effective teaching practices. Children with English as an additional language were well supported, and the teaching team worked collaboratively. Very good progress has been made to strengthen bicultural practices, plan for children's individual interests and embed professional learning. Good progress has also been made in evaluation and planning to achieve appraisal goals.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) and operates within the policies and strategic goals of this organisation. Association personnel provide professional support to assist teachers with curriculum, management and property matters.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and settled. They have a strong sense of belonging and are confident to lead their own learning. Children's home languages and cultural identities are valued and affirmed, and used well to establish trust and build relationships with families. Māori and Pacific children are well supported through the curriculum.

Children are friendly and caring towards their peers, often working cooperatively in culturally mixed groups and showing tuakana/teina support for each other. They select resources and equipment independently and choose what they will do. Many persist at activities for prolonged periods.

Teachers skilfully engage children in play that prompts them to collaborate and investigate ideas.  They use open questions well to facilitate reciprocal conversations and challenge children's thinking. Some teachers provide very good support for children in their home languages. Teachers are highly inclusive of children who are two years old, and have reviewed the quality of transition processes for these younger children.

Teachers have undertaken in-depth professional learning to help them integrate bicultural practices in daily programmes and the learning environment. Teachers integrate te reo Māori, sing waiata and retell Māori stories at mat time. Their next step is to increase the use of te reo Māori throughout the programme.

Teachers follow the 'notice, recognise and respond' approach to planning. They now focus more on individual learning stories that acknowledge children's interests and strengths. They have also started to plan for children with additional needs. An in-depth evaluation around deepening children's learning in early science and maths is building teachers' capability to extend learning opportunities and enrich the curriculum.

Parents are encouraged to be involved in their children's learning, and to work in partnership with teachers to support their aspirations for their children. They have good opportunities to contribute to curriculum planning and evaluation. An online programme has been a very useful communication tool that has helped teachers to build relationships with parents and whānau. Teachers continue to explore ways to strengthen their partnerships with parents.

The newly appointed head teacher is skilfully building on the very good practices in the kindergarten. The teaching team is cohesive and collaborative. Teachers have good opportunities for professional learning, most recently in bicultural practices, early science and mathematics and internal evaluation. They are measuring the impact of new learning on teaching practices and outcomes for children. A framework for internal evaluation has been developed and teachers have a deeper understanding of the process. 

Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA’s strategic goals. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) also aligns with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. It enables the AKA and teachers to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement. The AKA continues to review its management and leadership structure. It has begun a process of internal evaluation to establish how effectively the four pillars of its strategic plan are resulting in more positive outcomes for children, their families, and the organisation

Key Next Steps

Leaders agree that the next steps for development are:

  • to embed effective planning practices that respond to the strengths and interests of individual children
  • to plan more specifically for, and evaluate the impact of teaching strategies on children's learning outcomes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

20 September 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 


Papatoetoe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over two years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 27, Girls 23

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

20 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

July 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.