Pathways Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten - 30/06/2015

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

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’s philosophy is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and incorporates Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The philosophy aims for children to ‘learn life, from life in a warm, loving, homelike environment, incorporating qualities of truth, beauty and goodness.’ The spirit and fellowship of community is valued as essential in the running and continual growth of the kindergarten.

The kindergarten caters for children from two years to school age. At the time of this ERO review 19 children were enrolled. It is owned by a community trust that sets direction and provides governance, management, support and strategic direction for the service.

Since ERO’s last review in May 2012:

  • the long-standing and experienced teaching team has remained constant
  • the outdoor environment has been further developed, increasing opportunities for children to grow and harvest produce for use in the programme
  • self review has informed aspects of governance, management and teachers’ practice.

The Review Findings

The clear priority for trustees is for children and families to receive the best possible quality Rudolf Steiner education. The trust board use a range of self review approaches and have an open and consultative approach to kindergarten improvement, governance and management. They value the inclusion of teachers, parents and community in decisions about the direction and development of the service. Families’ active contribution to the centre results in a strong sense of community and belonging.

The long-standing and dedicated head teacher continues to provide inspirational educational leadership that is grounded in the philosophy and teachings of Rudolf Steiner, and Te Whāriki. She leads by example and alongside teachers is highly skilled at working effectively with children, the trust and families. The head teacher and her team contribute complementary knowledge and skills to the life of the kindergarten. Children and families benefit from the strong continuity and purpose that is highly evident.

The kindergarten curriculum provides rich opportunities for children to be imaginative, creative, learn about themselves, gain an appreciation of others, and explore how the natural world works. Children confidently initiate their own play, set their own challenges, take risks and support each other to be successful. They demonstrate familiarity and a strong sense of security within the regular rhythms of the kindergarten programme.

Teachers create and maintain a warm, caring home-like setting. They work and interact with and alongside children as role models who are worthy of imitation. They are attuned to and listen to children who are confident to express their ideas and feelings. Respectful and reciprocal relationships among teachers, children and their parents are highly evident.

Teachers have in-depth knowledge of children. Their regular planning, reflections and evaluation contribute to each child’s assessment and continually informs the highly responsive curriculum and teaching practices. Journey books provide important insights about children from teachers and parents. They are valued by families and capture the complexity and continuity of children learning over time.

Key Next Steps

Continued development of the teacher appraisal process is an important area of growth for the kindergarten. Such development should strengthen opportunities for teacher’s goal setting and the trust’s strategic and annual plans.

The trust is currently reviewing its strategic direction, roles and responsibilities of trustees, and succession planning for sustainability. This direction aims to sustain the service for children and families.

Teachers acknowledge the need to strengthen the presence of te reo and tikanga Māori in the daily rhythm of the kindergarten.

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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Pathways Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 11

Girls 8

Ethnic composition




Other European

Latin American






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

May 2015

Date of this report

30 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012


Education Review

February 2009

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.