Northland Kindergarten - 05/06/2020

1 Evaluation of Northland Kindergarten

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Northland Kindergarten is licensed for 41 children aged over two years. Of the 59 enrolled, six are Māori. Daily sessions are for children from two to school age. Around one third are aged under three. The kindergarten serves an increasingly diverse ethnic community.

All teachers are qualified and registered. There has been minimal staff turnover since ERO's June 2015 review.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises the importance of recognising children’s competency, and supporting their communication, curiosity, perseverance, risk taking and bicultural citizenship in accordance with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

ERO's 2015 report identified aspects of practice to further develop. These included the evaluation of teaching and learning, and strategies to support success for Māori and Pacific children. Progress is evident.

The kindergarten is governed and managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Kindergarten Association (the association). The association governs 103 early childhood services which include a diverse range of kindergartens, all day education and care services, three Pacific kindergartens and a Pacific home-based service. A team of senior teachers oversees and supports professional practice.

Progress has been made by the association to improve support for individual kindergartens, the appraisal process, and teachers' capability to work with Māori learners.

This review is one of eight in the He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Kindergarten Association, Wellington region.

The Review Findings

The learning environment is well organised and presented to invite children's interest and investigation. A comprehensive range of resources is freely accessible. Literacy, mathematics, science and the arts are thoughtfully woven through the curriculum in play-based ways. Digital technology is used effectively and creatively as a learning and teaching tool. The outdoor area promotes physical challenge and adventure. Children are motivated and self-managing learners who make the most of the opportunities available to them. Many sustain their engagement in their play for extended periods.

The curriculum is rich and authentic. Children are viewed as competent learners. They lead their own learning and have ongoing choices about what they do, when and with whom. The local area and history are valued. Parents and whānau are encouraged to be learning and teaching partners.

Teachers are respectful, responsive and well engaged with children. A priority for them is building children's social competence and purposeful participation in the curriculum. They effectively use a range of strategies to develop children's skills, knowledge and stimulate their thinking and curiosity.

There is comprehensive support for families' induction into the kindergarten. This includes the sharing of operational information, meetings with key staff, and gathering details about children's and parents' needs. Teachers work effectively to support a sense of belonging. Learning partnerships develop with many families.

An ongoing focus on strengthening teachers' understanding of te ao Māori and Treaty-based practice has resulted in a rich and well researched bicultural programme. Kawa is well known and respectfully followed. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are highly valued as parts of everyday practice. Children enthusiastically take part in haka, powhiri, pepeha, waiata, and use the language and protocols as they play. A planned next step is to work with the association kaitiaki to develop local iwi connections.

The philosophy underpinning teaching and learning has been reviewed by teachers and is now better aligned to the strong te ao Māori and environmental programme focus. The next step is to embed the revised ideas and values in practice.

Children's transitions to school are well supported. Involvement in a Ministry of Education initiative has assisted with the development of relationships with other early childhood services and schools. Comprehensive learning information about individual children is shared with new entrant teachers.

Provision for children requiring additional support is well developed. Regular team discussions effectively inform planning that removes barriers to their participation and promotes their active involvement in the curriculum. Outside agency assistance is sought as required. Teachers are highly responsive to families' cultures and languages. They continue to seek learning opportunities and tools to strengthen their approach.

Planning for learning is well considered and effectively implemented. Groups plans are informed through emerging needs and interests. Children's progress and participation are well illustrated through displayed and evolving planning stories. Assessment is meaningful and effective, incorporating a range of lenses to support the analysis of individual children's learning. Stories are translated into Māori and other home languages as required. Responding to parents' aspirations is prioritised by teachers. The approach aligns with ngā mātāpono Māori and the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Records show how teachers extend and progress children's learning over time and regularly reflect on the impact of their teaching.

Teachers work cohesively, valuing each other's expertise. The head teacher provides strong leadership and models high level reflective practice. Team work is well established, and improvement focused.

Self review is valued as a tool to strengthen practice and operation, and results in improved outcomes for children. A next step is to develop shared understanding and effective use of internal evaluation.

The association provides effective professional development and ongoing support to build the leadership capabilities of the head teacher and teaching team. Well-considered resource allocation enhances teaching and support for children’s learning and wellbeing. There is an established culture in place which values and celebrates children and their whānau.

The well-considered appraisal process continues to be reviewed and developed to better support teachers and leaders to inquire into the effectiveness of their practice. Work is ongoing to build and embed understanding of the association's expectations and processes.

Association leaders, including the senior teachers, work effectively together with shared commitment to the mission, vision, values and goals of the organisation. Strategic goals and objectives are focused on improvement for the benefit of children, whānau and community. Tūmanako, is providing high-level guidance for the association's future direction as a Tiriti o Waitangi based organisation. A range of effective tools is used well by senior teachers to monitor the quality of, and promote improvement to, individual kindergarten practice and operation.

Key Next Steps

ERO and senior leaders agree that priorities for teachers are to:

  • continue to develop their understanding and use of internal evaluation.

The priority for the association is:

  • to continue to build on and follow the strategic direction set through Tūmanako, Te Tiriti o Waitangi- based strategic priority framework.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Northland 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

5 June 2020

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

41 children aged over two

Service roll


Gender composition

Female 33, Male 26

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

March 2020

Date of this report

5 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

October 2012

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.