Northland Kindergarten - 19/06/2015

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

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


Northland Kindergarten is situated in a western suburb close to Wellington city. The service offers flexible, daily education and care for children aged over two years. Most children attending are three to five years old.

Northland Kindergarten is one of 85 kindergartens and three home-based education and care networks governed and managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). This is a new kindergarten association created from joining the Rimutaka and Wellington Kindergarten Associations in 2014. The transition to the new association is expected to be a three-year process.

The board and managers provide governance for the organisation. Senior teachers have delegated kindergartens. Their role is to provide regular support and a range of professional learning and development opportunities for teachers.

In 2012, the association developed a framework to guide the implementation of its curriculum, Te Manawa. This document outlines criteria for curriculum delivery including expectations for assessment and planning for children’s learning.

The October 2012 ERO report for Northland Kindergarten identified that components of self review, assessment and te ao Māori needed further development. Many aspects of good performance continue to be strengths of the service. Areas where the association needed to strengthen its support for teachers were also identified. Improvement continues to be needed in these areas and feature as key next steps in this report. The alignment of individual kindergartens' annual plans with the association’s strategic priorities has now been addressed.

All teachers at Northland Kindergarten are qualified and registered. The head teacher has been at the kindergarten for several years. Significant staffing changes have occurred since the previous ERO report. The kindergarten currently has five permanent fulltime teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of 16 reviews in the He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua kindergartens.

The Review Findings

The kindergarten philosophy is strongly evident in teaching and learning. Teachers have clearly identified the attributes of a Northland Kindergarten learner, where the programme, based on the notion of whakamana (facilitating empowerment) supports children to develop as confident, coindependent, lifelong learners. ERO observed these aspects of the philosophy being enacted in practice and through centre documentation.

Secure, child-teacher-family relationships encourage the development of children's identity. Assessment is highly responsive to their immediate and emerging strengths, interests and skills. Learning stories show children's engagement and progress. Observations of learning are well reflected in profile books, on DVDs and in visual displays within the kindergarten. Documentation shows evidence of teachers’ analysis of observations and their increased understanding of a range of learning styles.

Children are provided with a wide range of opportunities to meaningfully use information and communication technologies (ICT) as an integral part of teaching and learning. Literacy and mathematical learning features significantly within a variety of experiences throughout the curriculum.

Children have fun as part of the learning process, supported by warm, nurturing adults. Teachers mostly use an effective range of strategies to encourage the development of children's ideas about how the world works. Teachers frequently engage with children in one-to-one, sustained interaction. Adults work sensitively and effectively in partnership with parents of children with special needs. Teachers recognise and respond to individual learning.

Recent review guides effective transition-to-school processes. Teachers share children’s learning through the preparation of a “pūrongoronga boundary object” that is passed on to the new entrant teacher. Teachers work collaboratively with parents to support children’s seamless transition to school.

The head teacher confidently leads teachers. Staff use self review to strengthen teaching and learning and to meet the strategic objectives that support building capacity and sustainability. Regular consultation with parents encourages their contribution to decision-making processes and enhances outcomes for children.

The senior teacher provides termly written reports that outline agreed development priorities and progress in relation to the quality of teaching and learning. The association has recently implemented new reports that should more deliberately focus on outcomes for children, teacher and leader performance. ERO's evaluation affirms this development.

The 2012 ERO report identified that the association needed to improve the appraisal processes. These continue to require development. A recently revised appraisal model, yet to be implemented, includes: more focused goals that build teacher and leader capability; more regular and targeted feedback and feed forward about teaching practice; and clearer links with the Registered Teacher Criteria.

Kaupapa Māori concepts of manaakitanga and kotahitanga are evident in centre practice. Children have frequent opportunities to learn about Aotearoa New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Association leaders acknowledge that they need to build teachers’ capability to be responsive to Māori children’s culture, language and identity. This development should include establishing relationships with mana whenua and making use of Ministry of Education resources such as, Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

Key Next Steps

The senior teacher, head teacher, staff and ERO agree that the following key next steps for Northland Kindergarten are to continue to:

  • use the kindergarten’s effective review process to evaluate all aspects of teaching and learning

  • enhance teaching strategies to provide further opportunities for Māori and Pacific children to enjoy success as Māori and Pacific.

The senior management team of He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua should continue to further improve processes for growing and developing the practice of teachers, head teachers and senior teachers. This should include:

  • improvements to the quality and monitoring of processes to support individual kindergartens and regular implementation of a robust appraisal system

  • building teachers’ capability to be more responsive to Māori children’s culture, language and identity.

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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Northland Kindergarten will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

19 June 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


Northland, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 33, Boys 32

Ethnic composition





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

April 2015

Date of this report

19 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012


Education Review

April 2008


Education Review

June 2005

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.