Nuanua Kindergarten - 29/05/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Nuanua Kindergarten is situated in Cannons Creek in Porirua. It is one of two purpose-built Pacific Kindergartens in New Zealand. The Samoan and Tokelauan cultures are nurtured within the scope of one Pacific kindergarten. Plans are in place for a new building on the current site.

Nuanua began as part of a collective of culture-based playgroups operating through the Porirua Pacific Island Presbyterian Church. It is now under the umbrella management of Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association (the association). The association is responsive to the cultural integrity and aspirations of each group and supports the centre’s focus on fostering the language and cultures of the Tokelauan and Samoan communities.

The teaching team is led by a head teacher with support of an association senior teacher and a pacific coordinator. The change in management has renewed the staff’s commitment to the vision of providing high quality education in a rich cultural environment.

Children participate in a programme that acknowledges their cultural competencies. There is a balance between the integration of Samoan and Tokelauan languages. This is clearly observed through children’s learning stories. They gain confidence with their language development through the early literacy experiences available. They are guided in a positive and supportive way to be confident, competent learners.

The environment allows children to make choices about their level of interaction with resources. They freely move and design their own spaces outdoors. Routines are well established. Children are familiar with them which reinforces their sense of place. Teachers take all reasonable steps to make the kindergarten safe for children.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Nuanua Kindergarten was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atNuanua Kindergarten.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children;
  • the learning environment; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

In addition, ERO decided to evaluate:

  • association support.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education


Nuanua Kindergarten has separate teaching spaces that support children up to two years and those over two years old. Samoan and Tokelauan languages are spoken in both spaces. Building plans are in place to develop separate Samoan and Tokelauan environments.

In 2009 the kindergarten came under the umbrella of the association. Association personnel provide support for systems and procedures, opportunities for professional development and leadership, strategic placement of staff, and induction and mentoring for provisionally registered teachers. The association is responsive to the cultural integrity and aspirations of each group.

Areas of strength


The programme is responsive and flexible and provides children with continuous opportunities for play. Within the programme there is a shared understanding and integration of diverse cultural values. Other features include:

  • singing, music and movement that are well integrated into activities

  • conversations between children occurring in multiple languages

  • planning that is firmly based on observed children’s interests, is clearly documented and well-displayed to inform staff and families. Cooperative weekly planning meetings involve team and individual teacher planning and support consistent practice across the centre

  • teachers who are responsive to children’s questions and demonstrate openness to learning alongside children

  • appropriate resources provided for children up to and over two years old

  • the programme that is responsive to the role of parents and whānau.

  • younger children freely engaging with and learning from older children

  • children’s learning and progress captured in attractive individual profile books. Teachers support each other to develop learning stories that are multi-voice and in multiple languages.


  • Children are free to design their own space in an unstructured outdoor play area.

  • The flexibility of play space facilitates clear visibility across different areas.

  • There is good flow between indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as between different rooms.

  • Samoan and Tokelauan cultures are celebrated through wall displays and artefacts.

  • The purpose of children’s learning is clearly displayed.

  • The environment is well maintained throughout the day.

  • Resources are accessible to children.


Interactions between teachers and children are underpinned by shared cultural values. Adults are nurturing, respectful and attuned to the individual needs of children. Children greet teachers with enthusiasm and are settled in their play. Other positive practices include:

  • children and whānau warmly welcomed to the kindergarten

  • strong reciprocal community relationships that are well-established

  • teachers modelling positive guidance strategies when conflict arises

  • teachers purposefully integrating both Samoan and Tokelauan languages in conversation with children, building children’s confidence to participate in both cultures.

  • teachers recognising the significance of identity for long term educational success. They strive to be inclusive of all cultures and languages, including te ao Māori and te reo Māori.

Area for development and review

Planned self review is emerging amongst staff. The head teacher and teaching staff recognise the need for systematic self review to establish a culture of continuous improvement. As part of establishing a culture of systematic self review, staff should focus on fostering teacher’s capacity to more effectively engage children through the use of critical questioning strategies.

Association Support

Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association

Nuanua is affiliated to the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association (the association). The association has a governing board and a general manager. The general manager is the licensee for the kindergarten. The association employs a team of senior teachers, one of whom is responsible for leading the professional support and advice and guidance to the teaching team. She also liaises with the kindergarten community.


The 2008 ERO review of the association identified several strengths, including the provision of professional development, sound operation plans, support for property development and the use of a range of communication strategies to keep teachers and communities informed. Areas for improvement included the quality and depth of the written feedback given to teachers by the senior teacher and strengthening the appraisal process.

Since 2008, the association has led consultation with the community to modify session times and improve the ratio of teachers to children from 1:15 to 1:10 and maintained its policy of employing qualified, registered teachers in regulated permanent positions.

The association provides expectations and guidance to the kindergarten through its strategic plan, policies and procedures and more recently, the professional development strategy Te Manawa: Criteria for Curriculum Implementation.

Areas of strength

The association continues to provide high levels of guidance and support to teachers for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. These include:

  • the strategic plan setting expectations for participation, parent/whānau involvement and quality teaching practices

  • clearly defined indicators of quality teaching and learning practice through Te Manawa

  • a wide range of professional development opportunities, including well considered support and guidance for provisionally registered teachers

  • ongoing support in property development, human resource management, finance and resourcing.

Areas for development and review

The association, senior teachers and ERO have identified areas where the association can strengthen its support for teachers. These include:

  • further developing and supporting leadership, including a review of the appraisal process

  • reviewing how kindergarten’s annual plans for teaching and learning could more explicitly show how teachers respond to the association strategic priorities.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Nuanua Kindergarten completed an ERO CentreManagementAssurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration;
  • health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management; and
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse);

physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures);

staff qualifications and organisation; and

evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

4 Recommendations

ERO and the kindergarten leaders agreed that the priorities for development and review are those outlined in the report.

5 Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years,

Joyce Gebbie

Acting National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

About the Centre


Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Roll number


Gender composition

Girls 18, Boys 14

Ethnic composition

Samoan 9, Māori 8, NZ European/Pākehā 7 Tokelauan 4, Other ethnic groups 4

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

29 May 2012

Previous three ERO reports

This is the kindergarten’s first report

General Information About Reviews

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.

Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.

Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.