Pathways Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten - 15/11/2018

1 Evaluation of Pathways Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten

How well placed is Pathways Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The service needs support to strengthen aspects of governance and management related to compliance with legislatives requirements for personnel management, annual planning and self review.

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


Pathways Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten is located in a central, residential area of Rotorua. The kindergarten caters for children from two years to school age. The roll of 22 includes 6 Māori children.

The kindergarten’s philosophy is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and incorporates Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Through the philosophy, teachers aim to give children time and space to learn and be involved in imaginative and creative play in a natural homely environment.

The centre is owned by a community trust that sets policy, and provides governance and management of the centre. The head teacher has been at the centre for many years and there have been changes to the teaching team this year. The head teacher and two part-time staff are qualified and registered early childhood teachers.

ERO’s last review in June 2015 identified next steps for centre development in teacher appraisal, strategic planning for sustainability and te reo and tikanga Māori. These areas continue to be significant areas for kindergarten development.

The Review Findings

Trustees show dedication in promoting the kindergarten’s Rudolf Steiner philosophy. This philosophy is underpinned by shared values and beliefs. The trust is currently restructuring kindergarten operations to strengthen sustainability of the service, in response to needs of current families. An appropriate range of regularly reviewed policies guide centre operations and contribute to a well-maintained environment for children, teachers and families.

Capability to work effectively in the Rudolf Steiner philosophy is developing. Professional networking with other Rudolf Steiner kindergartens is providing opportunities for professional sharing and reciprocal support. The head teacher and teachers prioritise respectful relationships with parents and children. Families are encouraged to participate in regular kindergarten festivals, celebrations and events. Many families have a long association with the kindergarten. They value opportunities for their children to engage with the natural environment, imaginative and creative play.

The curriculum is effectively designed to promote the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Within this approach children experience a calm, natural and unhurried environment. Through active engagement in real life experiences children are developing a sense of care and respect for themselves, each other and the environment. There are meaningful opportunities for children to explore literacy, mathematics and natural science in the context of their play. A strong feature of the curriculum is the emphasis teachers place on growing children’s oral language. This approach fosters children’s confidence and provides a sound foundation for literacy learning. Children are confident and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging at kindergarten.

Teachers’ interactions model respect and inclusion for all children. They foster children’s independence and leadership through regular and predictable routines. Teachers are intentional in their approach to providing models worthy of imitation that encourage children’s participation in every-day activities. The learning environment provides many opportunities for children to use their imagination and engage in exploration and play with and alongside others.

Thoughtful transition practices benefit children and families. Regular play group sessions provide opportunities for teachers to know children and identify additional needs. Children form relationships with the teacher, other children and develop a sense of belonging in the environment that fosters positive transition into kindergarten sessions. Teachers support parents and children to build positive connections with their local school that foster the confidence to effectively transition from kindergarten to school.

Key Next Steps

As the kindergarten moves into the restructuring process it is necessary for the trust to establish strategic priorities to strengthen sustainability and ongoing improvement of the service. These priorities should include the development and implementation of effective systems and practices for:

  • strategic and annual planning

  • performance management and teacher appraisal

  • self review for improving practices that result in positive learning outcomes for all children

  • increasing the presence of parents in kindergarten governance, and assessment and planning for their children

  • a more intentional approach to enacting the requirements outlined in the kindergarten’s Treaty of Waitangi policy

  • review of the kindergarten philosophy and Rudolf Steiner curriculum to develop shared understandings among the teaching team, trustees and families

  • alignment of the kindergarten's local curriculum and philosophy to Te Whāriki.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pathways Rudolf Steiner 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

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance, management and administration. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • develop, implement and consistently document an ongoing process of self review

  • implement a system of regular appraisal that meets current legislative requirements

  • develop and implement annual plans to guide service operations.
    Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6, GMA7, GMA8

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Pathways Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten will be within two years.

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

15 November 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 11 Girls 11

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

15 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

May 2012

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.