Northcote Central Kindergarten - 19/11/2015

1 Evaluation of Northcote Central Kindergarten

How well placed is Northcote Central 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.


Northcote Central Kindergarten on Auckland’s North Shore was previously known as Northbridge Kindergarten. It provides education and care for up to 40 children over two years old. The Kindergarten Day Model (KDM) hours were modified in May 2015 in response to community requirements. Most children attend at least three full days. Four teachers and two teacher aides support children in their learning. Recently, a new teacher and a teacher aide have joined the team.

The kindergarten’s philosophy places a high value on respectful relationships that welcome and celebrate cultural diversity.

The kindergarten has a positive ERO reporting history. In 2012, ERO noted the responsive programme, positive learning interactions and relationships with parents/whānau were strengths. The report identified assessment and planning, professional development, and self review as areas for development. Much progress has been made in these areas.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association, which provides considered leadership, a management framework, support personnel and a programme of professional development for teachers.

In 2015, after extensive review, consultation and development, the Auckland Kindergarten Association launched a new 10-year strategic plan with four key strategic objectives. The Association’s approach to rolling out a substantial change in its organisational structure has been carefully considered.

New Association roles have been established to provide more targeted support for kindergartens. Professional development supports kindergarten head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) is being implemented to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement in kindergartens.

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

The Review Findings

Teachers support children’s development by affirming their identity and building on their ideas. Positive relationships contribute to children’s confidence as socially competent learners. Children are curious about the world around them and independently access resources to support their play. The programme provides opportunities for children to follow their inquiries and revisit their play ideas. Teachers notice and respond to children’s learning dispositions that they show through their deep engagement in play.

Children are warmly welcomed by staff and quickly settle to their routines. Displays of children’s different languages and experiences reflect responsive teaching. Teachers support children to pursue their passions and interests. The well-developed outdoor environment supports children’s connection to nature. Teachers provide a well configured indoor environment that invites children to engage with a variety of areas of play. These aspects of the curriculum contribute to the children’s strong sense of belonging to the centre and connection with each other and their teachers.

Teachers have very good relationships with parents/whānau. They incorporate parents’ aspirations for their children in programme planning. This process has been enhanced by teachers' focus on identifying children’s learning dispositions. Children’s learning stories link well to each other and show progress over time. Parents/whānau have responded positively to this form of planning and assessment by providing more information and feedback about their children’s progress. This valuable information helps them to support teachers’ work by catering for and extending their children’s interests at home.

Children are provided with opportunities to participate in meaningful literacy and science experiences. They are very confident in speaking to other children and adults about their working theories and their play. Teachers encourage children to use their home languages to support their acquisition of additional languages.

Māori children are well supported in their learning. As a result of in depth review and professional development, bicultural practices are very evident in the centre’s programme. Teachers use and promote te reo me ona tikanga Māori. Children’s diverse and special learning needs are catered for well. The centre’s inclusive tone and the use of the expertise of external agencies identifies and supports children’s particular requirements.

Self review in this kindergarten is increasingly embedded in teachers' practice and resulting in positive change. It is guided by clear future planning and a shared vision. Teachers would like to continue to enhance self review by evaluating the impact of their teaching practices on outcomes for children.

Association systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in kindergarten operations are well established. The Association has a strong commitment to biculturalism and in embracing diversity. Resources and personnel have been targeted to ensure that the specific needs of children and their families are met.

Key Next Steps

Teachers could be further supported to enhance their understanding of their role in extending children’s thinking. The development of more evaluative self review would contribute positively to this key next step.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Northcote Central 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 Northcote Central Kindergarten will be in four years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

19 November 2015 

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 


Northcote, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      30
Girls       22

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori
Sri Lankan


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

September 2015

Date of this report

19 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2012

Education Review

October 2009

Education Review

October 2006

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.