Owhiro Bay Kindergarten - 17/06/2015

1. Evaluation of Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

How well placed is Owhiro Bay 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.


Situated on the Owhiro Bay School site, the Kindergarten shares a strong connection with the school as part of the local community’s commitment to a ‘one learning community’ approach. It provides full-day early childhood education in a purpose-built premises for up to 40 children, and ten can be up to two years of age.

Owhiro Bay 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.

All teachers in regulated ratio positions at Owhiro Bay Kindergarten are qualified and registered. Additional staff are in training to be qualified. The well-enacted centre philosophy emphasises the value of free play and place-based learning, using the community to enhance learning experiences, and celebrating diversity.

The kindergarten’s first ERO report in December 2011 identified that assessment, planning, self review, appraisal and the outdoor environment needed further development. Many areas recognised as strengths have been sustained. There have also been positive developments to outdoor learning spaces, and good progress made in improving other aspects of practice.

Areas where the Wellington Kindergarten Association needed to strengthen its support for teachers were also identified at the time of the previous ERO report. 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 kindergartens' annual plans with the association’s strategic priorities has now been addressed.

This review was part of a cluster of 16 kindergarten reviews in He Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens.

The Review Findings

Infants and toddlers benefit from flexible, unhurried, and relaxed interactions. There are high levels of nurture and care. Staff are attuned to children’s verbal and non-verbal cues fostering children’s language learning. Children’s interests, needs and preferences are well met by teachers who view them as capable and competent.

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. Owhiro Bay Kindergarten’s curriculum positively promotes wellbeing and learning outcomes.

Older children confidently lead their learning. Teachers use practices that effectively build on their thinking and problem solving. ERO observed examples of sustained and cooperative play, and older children supporting younger children. Teachers encourage children’s social competence. Literacy and numeracy experiences are naturally integrated into the programme. Ongoing developments to the outdoor spaces promote opportunities for challenge, exploration, and discovery.

Teachers have made good progress in developing assessment processes. They use information and communication technologies well to keep families and each other informed about learning that is occurring at kindergarten. Teachers have appropriately identified further areas of assessment practice that need development.

Developments to planning processes have resulted in the ‘Ako’ framework. This approach makes clear aspects of group learning that are occurring and visible for parents and whānau. Teachers continue to explore ways of refining this practice, and extending the evaluation of teaching and learning.

Opportunities for teachers to take on leadership roles are promoted, through enabling them to use their strengths and interests to enhance the kindergarten programme. A strong culture of reflection is evident within the collaborative and collegial team. Staff are supported to develop their practice. The association has recently revised the appraisal model. This has the potential to build on the kindergarten’s own processes to strengthen teacher and leader development.

Transition processes are well considered, flexible, and responsive. Reciprocal and highly established links with the school support children and families as they move on to school.

Teachers are making good use of review to inquire into aspects of their practice. There is shared understanding of and responsibility for self review as a way of guiding decisions about improvement to teaching and learning. Continuing to extend and embed this practice is an agreed next step.

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.

Children have many opportunities to learn about Aotearoa New Zealand. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are woven through the programme and a wide range of experiences for children to know about Aotearoa New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Maintaining links with mana whenua, and an emphasis on learning opportunities that reflect the local area continue to be priorities for the team. Teachers and leaders have identified that enhancing the focus on sustainability and further exploring te ao Māori are next developments. ERO’s evaluation affirms this direction.

Key Next Steps

The senior teacher, senior head teacher, staff and ERO agree that the following are key next steps:

  • continuing to build on and embed self-review processes
  • refining aspects of assessment and programme planning.

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 individual kindergartens and regular implementation of a robust appraisal system.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Owhiro Bay 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 Owhiro Bay Kindergarten will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

17 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


Owhiro Bay, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 33, Boys 18

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

17 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

December 2011

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.