Otaki Kindergarten - 05/06/2015

1.Evaluation of Otaki Kindergarten

How well placed is Otaki 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.


Otaki 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.

The February 2012 ERO report for Otaki Kindergarten identified that assessment and planning for children’s learning needed further development. Areas where the Wellington Kindergarten Association needed to strengthen its support for teachers were also identified. Improvement continues to be needed in some of these areas that the association has plans to address. These feature as key next steps in this report. The alignment of individual kindergarten’s annual plans with the association’s strategic priorities has now been appropriately addressed.

All teachers at Otaki Kindergarten are qualified. The teaching team is long established. The head teacher has been in her post for 20 years. An increase in the enrolment of younger children led to the permanent appointment of a provisionally registered teacher in 2013.

This review was part of a cluster of 12 kindergarten reviews in the He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua kindergartens.

The Review Findings

Children actively participate in a playbased programme for sustained periods. Their sense of belonging is fostered through the regular routines. The outdoor area is well resourced to engage children’s interest in the environment and natural world.

Teachers know children well within the context of their family. They successfully draw on parents' skills to enhance the curriculum. The kindergarten is inclusive of all families and ethnicities. Teachers are developing strategies to support Pacific children.

Self review is in the very early stages of development. The head teacher and teachers need support to strengthen their understanding of the self-review process and knowledge of evaluation. This should aid the team to monitor the effectiveness of centre operations and practice and guide future decision making.

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. This continues to require strengthening at Otaki Kindergarten.

Children’s pukapuka show their participation in the programme and at times highlight their emerging interests. Teachers should strengthen these records to better illustrate learning over time. Developments should also include a focus on how programme planning responds to individual and group interests and strengths, and how teachers add challenge to children’s learning.

The February 2012 ERO report identified that the association needed to improve appraisal processes to better support teaching and leadership capability. These processes continue to require strengthening. A recently revised appraisal model, yet to be implemented, has the potential to improve processes to better support the development of teachers and leaders. This 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.

Children at Otaki Kindergarten have opportunities to learn about Aotearoa New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. They are learning in a bicultural environment that includes Māori skills, concepts, language, customs and beliefs. Teachers and association leaders acknowledge they need to build their capability to be more culturally responsive. This includes making greater use ofKa Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

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.

Key Next Steps

The senior teacher, head teacher, staff and ERO agree Otaki Kindergarten teachers should seek support from the association to strengthen:

  • self review and its purpose in promoting improved outcomes for children
  • appraisal for improvement and accountability
  • assessment, planning and evaluation for children’s learning.

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 Otaki 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.

Since the on-site phase of the review, the kindergarten has addressed concerns ERO had about documentation related to excursions; and about meeting requirements of the Privacy Act 1993 in relation to information about children and parents/caregivers of those children who attend the service. The service provider must ensure that these recent improvements to practice are maintained.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

5 June 2015

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

40 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 48,

Boys 31

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Other ethnic groups





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

February 2015

Date of this report

5 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

February 2012


Education Review

June 2008


Education Review

September 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.