Onerahi Free Kindergarten - 28/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Onerahi Free Kindergarten

How well placed is Onerahi Free 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.


Onerahi Free Kindergarten operates under the governance of the Northland Kindergarten Association. It is a well-established service, licensed for 40 children over two years of age. The kindergarten serves a multi-cultural community and offers six-hour sessions in response to community needs.

The kindergarten's philosophy acknowledges children's capability and recognises them as independent learners. It promotes an environment that incorporates bicultural practices and celebrates the multicultural diversity in the community. The teaching team values partnerships with families and the community.

The Association provides a framework of policies, procedures and expectations that guides kindergarten management and curriculum practices. Teachers are supported in their practice by Association personnel. A Pou Whakarewa Tikanga Māori Advisor supports teachers to strengthen their bicultural understanding and practices. An Association Speech Language Therapist and Social Worker also provide valuable support for children, whānau and teachers. A Professional Practice Manager (PPM) visits regularly and provides leadership and curriculum guidance for teachers through professional discussion and written reports.

Previous ERO reports have identified high quality practices in curriculum, management, self-review and partnerships with whānau. The team has responded to ERO's 2013 recommendations regarding inclusion, cultural diversity and extending children's learning.

This review was part of a cluster of three kindergarten reviews in the Northland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

The children at Onerahi Kindergarten lead the programme. They are capable, confident, enthusiastic learners. They settle quickly, play alongside each other and eagerly join in group learning activities. Their creativity and physical development are fostered in a spacious and very well resourced environment. They display independence and self-management skills that enable them to work independently and cooperatively without the aid of an adult. The calm, unhurried pace and periods of uninterrupted play enable children to sustain their interest in activities.

The programme aligns well with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers extend children's learning through an inquiry-based programme and learning provocations. Literacy, numeracy and science are integrated into activities throughout the day. Information and communication technologies are used effectively to help children explore ideas and build on prior knowledge.

Experienced teachers nurture respectful relationships. An inclusive culture is evident and promoted in all areas of the programme. Children initiate conversations easily. Their oral language is strengthened through meaningful discussions and learning experiences. Thoughtfully considered spaces promote imaginative play and encourage children to make choices and solve problems.

Children's individual learning progress is documented in portfolios that allow them to revisit their learning experiences. Parents can access and contribute to their children's learning journey and can share them with the wider whānau. Transitions into the kindergarten and to school are tailored to suit the child. Learning opportunities embedded in programmes build children's readiness for moving on to school.

The Association has a strong commitment to bicultural practices and working in partnership with Māori whānau to achieve educational success for Māori children. Teachers are well supported by the Pou Whakawera Tikanga Māori. Bicultural perspectives are woven into learning experiences. Kindergarten practices and the environment acknowledge children's bicultural heritage. Teachers use te reo and tikanga Māori in the context of children's play and at mat and kai times.

Teachers are reflective practitioners and there is a very strong focus on continual improvement. Professional learning programmes and internal evaluation have impacted positively on the programme and outcomes for children. Strengthening curriculum-based evaluative questions will add more depth to internal evaluation.

Very good Association support and effective management practices help to sustain quality practices. Leaders continue to adapt personnel systems, including teacher appraisal, in response to changes in legal requirements. The Association is responsive to the changing needs of the community. Effective use of Government Equity Funding contributes to good provision for children with additional learning needs.

The Association has a strong commitment to continuous improvement in educational outcomes for children. Teachers are able to access regular professional development through the Association and are also supported to attend learning opportunities provided by external providers. This support fosters the Association's expectations of high quality, evidence-based teaching practices.

Key Next Steps

Kindergarten leaders have recognised that in order to sustain and enhance current practices, next steps are to:

  • consider ways to extend children's participation in planning and evaluation processes

  • use evaluative questions more explicitly in internal evaluation to focus on curriculum and learning outcomes for children

  • continue to strengthen cultural inclusion and responsiveness in the kindergarten.

Association leaders agree that their next steps are to:

  • simplify and align long-term and annual plans

  • continue to build evaluation capability among the teaching teams.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Onerahi Free 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 Onerahi Free Kindergarten will be in four years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

28 May 2018

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


Onerahi, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 34 Girls 24

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

28 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

February 2007

Education Review

April 2004

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.