Nelson South Kindergarten - 29/04/2019

1 Evaluation of Nelson South Kindergarten

How well placed is Nelson South Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Nelson South Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Nelson South Kindergarten provides all-day education and care for up to 45 children, aged over two years. The kindergarten's roll is very diverse. At the time of this review 12 children identified as Māori.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises a nurturing environment where exploration is encouraged. Creativity, curiosity, social competence, literacy, mathematics, socio-dramatic and physical play, emotional development, and music and movement are valued. The kindergarten is a member of the Nelson Kāhui Ako and the Enviro-Schools programme, achieving silver status.

Since the August 2013 ERO review there have been ongoing developments to the outdoor environment, including the building of a wharenui, a water run, and mud and sandpit kitchens. Indoor renovations include building a whānau room.

Nelson South Kindergarten is governed and managed by the Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association (the association). Since the August 2013 ERO reviews, a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has been appointed. The CEO and a board of trustees are responsible for the governance of the kindergarten. A team of senior education advisors (SEA) oversees and supports professional practice.

The association provides a range of external expertise to help all children succeed in their learning. This includes te ao Māori expertise, teacher aides, a speech language therapist, whānau support and parent education opportunities.

ERO's previous report identified some key next steps for the kindergarten, these included assessment, planning and evaluation practices and internal evaluation. Progress in these is evident.

The ERO reviews undertaken in 2018 identified a number of key next steps for the board. These included improving their planning to support the achievement of the board’s strategic objectives, and ensuring that reporting is evaluative and focuses on outcomes for children. These remain priority areas for development. This review was one of five in the Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children participate in a rich, child-centred curriculum. Thoughtfully planned learning experiences, visitors into the kindergarten and excursions out to the local community add depth to the curriculum. Literacy and numeracy learning experiences are well integrated into the programme. A purposeful focus on the Enviro-Schools programme supports children to learn about water conservation, caring for the living world and promoting sustainable environmental practices.

Relationships with children and parents are warm, welcoming and respectful. Teachers work alongside children drawing on a range of intentional teaching strategies to extend children’s learning. Children engage in their chosen activity for sustained periods of time.

The teaching team has recently reviewed their philosophy. It is now timely to consult with parents and whānau Māori and their Pacific community to determine what educational success looks like for their child in this context. Once completed, a next step will be to develop indicators of high quality practice to guide implementation. These indicators can then be used to measure the effectiveness of the curriculum in action through internal evaluation.

Bicultural practice is valued and highly promoted and whānau expertise is drawn on to enrich tikanga practices. The use of te reo Māori is evident. Teachers have identified that continuing to strengthen their bicultural practice, including reflecting places of significance to Māori and increased use of te reo are next steps. ERO's evaluation findings agree.

Children with additional learning needs are identified and effectively supported in the programme. Leaders and teachers work alongside their family and whānau to access external agencies when required. These children are well supported to effectively transition to school through well considered systems and processes.

Group planning provides a shared focus for children and enhances the curriculum. Developing this approach further by determining the learning outcomes for the group and regularly evaluating the impact on children’s learning to inform next steps should strengthen this practice.

Assessment documentation shows teachers noticing children’s interests and recognising the significant learning evident. Learning goals are developed in consultation with parents and whānau and over time, children’s progress in their learning is highlighted. Key next steps include teachers:

  • drawing from the parent aspirations to develop meaningful learning outcomes for the child

  • showing intentionality in their approach to supporting the child to meet their learning outcome

  • evaluating children’s learning and progress over time.

A recent parent survey has provided useful feedback for leaders and teachers. Teachers have been proactive in identifying areas for ongoing improvement resulting from this information. The next step is for leaders and teachers to develop an appropriate communication strategy to share the findings from this survey and the kindergartens' response.

Transition to school processes are purposeful and supportive of parents and whānau. Teachers have developed working relationships with many of the local schools and work collaboratively to promote a smooth transition to school for their learners.

Teachers are improvement focused and, through self review, are investigating aspects of their practice. Self review should be strengthened through teachers clearly establishing priorities for action from the initial review. Then over time, evaluating the impact of their changed practice against the predetermined indicators on outcomes for children.

Collaborative leadership is fostered in the teaching team. Leaders and teachers have a strong commitment to teaching and learning that contributes to positive outcomes for children.

The board is well informed about outcomes from association-wide strategic reviews and the progress being made to achieve strategic goals.

The board and association are taking deliberate action to support Māori and Pacific children and children with diverse learning needs. The association has developed strong relationships with community organisations to support children and their whānau.

Appraisal is supporting growth in teacher capability. The association should update the performance management policy and the appraisal procedure. In addition, the association should introduce the Teaching Council appraisal summary annual report as part of the endorsement process.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for teachers are to:

  • consult with parents, whānau Māori and their Pacific community about the kindergartens' philosophy and educational success for their children

  • continue to build bicultural practice

  • strengthen group planning and children's individual assessment

  • further their understanding of internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Nelson South 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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

29 April 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

45 children, over two years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 27, Boys 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

29 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

March 2010

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.