Northcote Kindergarten - 27/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Northcote Kindergarten

How well placed is Northcote 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 Kindergarten on Auckland's North Shore is a well established service and is licensed for up to 40 children aged over two years old. The kindergarten is next to Northcote Primary School and teachers are developing closer links with other local schools. The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework to support kindergarten operations. It has recently changed to a Kindergarten Day Model which enables children to attend sessions similar to school hours.

The teaching team has recently reviewed the kindergarten's philosophy statement. It promotes a rich learning environment and inclusion of all children and their families/whānau.

The 2013 ERO report noted positive relationships between children and adults, and children's capable management of their own imaginative play. These aspects remain features in the programme. ERO recommended that teachers strengthen their partnership with whānau to develop a more meaningful curriculum through children's cultural identities and languages.

The AKA restructure in 2015 has introduced new responsibilities and ways of working for both AKA and kindergarten personnel. A period of transition is continuing for staff as they develop their understanding and competence in relation to new roles and systems.

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

The Review Findings

Northcote Kindergarten promotes positive learning outcomes for children. Children make choices in their play and have opportunities to take ownership of their learning. They actively participate in all aspects of the learning programme and teachers are close by to support them.

Children settle quickly into the programme. They are friendly and play well with each other and with adults. They explore the environment and resources in creative and imaginative ways. The large outdoor environment is inviting and supports children to experience physical challenges and risk taking. Children learn about gardening and how to look after their environment, and natural resources are highly valued. Teachers promote learning in literacy, mathematics, science and technology as part of children's play.

Teachers' strong partnership with the neighbouring school benefits children and their families as they transition to school. Children sometimes join the school's assemblies. Teachers hold information evenings for parents to help them prepare their children for school.

Teachers are becoming more confident in their evaluation processes that have resulted in improvements to the programme. They recognise the need to refine planning, assessment and evaluation processes to better support children’s individual interests. Teachers also acknowledge the value of including parents’ and children's perspectives in their evaluation.

AKA support and guidance is responsive to each kindergarten's individual context. New AKA positions are providing more targeted support for head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A new Quality Improvement Process is aligned with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. This process monitors quality, and promotes ongoing improvement in the kindergartens.

Key Next Steps

To support ongoing improvements, teachers could continue to:

  • strengthen internal evaluation by including indicators of effective practice, and clearly documenting the impact of teaching practice on children’s learning
  • build on their bicultural practices through the AKA Whakamanawa programme
  • develop an annual plan to guide and monitor progress towards strategic goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

27 May 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


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 34, Girls 28

Ethnic composition











Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

27 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2013

Education Review

December 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.