Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten - 14/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten

How well placed is Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten teachers require support to provide a programme that leads to positive learning outcomes for all children, and to embed Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Support is also required to build stronger leadership.

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


Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten provides education and care for a culturally diverse community in East Auckland. It is licensed for 40 children over two years of age and offers six-hour days. The kindergarten is situated at the foot of Ōhuiarangi. The Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority has invited the kindergarten staff and children to be part of the kaitiakitanga/guardianship of the mountain, to preserve its historical and archaeological value and mana.

A head teacher, three qualified teachers, a teacher aide, a teaching assistant and an administrator operate the kindergarten. The teaching team have worked together for some time. They have collaborated to develop the philosophy statement to reflect their ambitions for quality outcomes for children.

The positive aspects of teaching practice highlighted in the 2015 ERO report contribute to children's learning. The teaching team continues to address next steps around extending learning, assessment and strengthening self review.

The kindergarten operates as part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA). The association provides a framework of policies and operational guidelines, support personnel and programmes of professional learning and development. The AKA is establishing new roles and responsibilities at management and governance levels. Recruitment of appropriate personnel to fill identified roles is underway.

This review was part of a cluster of nine kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Teachers have established a culture that is respectful and friendly. Parents spend time with their children at the start of the day, and engage in conversations with teachers. The older children play together, are respectful with adults and each other, and join in group times.

Children and teachers respect the expectations of the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority, and help to keep the maunga free of litter. Children's investigations into local Māori legends are helping to broaden their bicultural knowledge and understanding.

Children are familiar with and are able to use te reo Māori in their group interactions. Teachers have made efforts to increase their own use of te reo. It is now timely for teachers to consider ways of including aspects of tikanga Māori as part of daily practice, throughout the programme. There are many ways for children and their families to see their cultures represented and valued in the centre environment.

Some children settle quickly to play, making choices from a range of activities and experiences provided for them. However, a number of children do not engage in activities for any period of time and remain unsettled. Teachers could increase the extent to which children make decisions about what they want to do, and what they want in the environment to support and extend their play.

The planning cycle is not working effectively. Recorded assessment reflects the group events and activities that children experience. Portfolios are not yet a record of individual children's learning over time. Many portfolios have little content that explains children's learning, or the teaching strategies that help their learning. While teachers sometimes include children's ideas in planning, they have yet to establish processes to evaluate the quality of the programme for all children.

Teachers support children and their parents to prepare for transitioning to school. They invite primary teachers to talk to parents about ways of supporting their children to develop independence. Teachers support parents to understand about school enrolment procedures.

The head teacher has distributed leadership roles to the teachers. To improve her curriculum leadership, she should support teachers to share their thinking about children's learning experiences and outcomes. This would help them to plan collaboratively and provide a more cohesive learning programme for children. Professional development for teachers to learn about the 2017 revision of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, is yet to be reflected in documentation or teachers' evaluation.

Teachers find the professional development offered by the AKA useful and informative. This support has helped them to develop a vision and to contribute to the priorities for the kindergarten.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for teachers are to:

  • increase their understanding and use of Te Whāriki, through evaluation of their philosophy, and the appropriate inclusion in assessment and appraisal documentation, to help identify priorities for their local curriculum
  • continue the journey of embedding te reo me ōna tikanga Māori in daily practice
  • develop a culture of ongoing improvement as part of collaboration with each other, whānau and children
  • seek assistance to improve the quality of assessment, programme planning and evaluation, including consideration of ways to encourage children to make more meaningful decisions about their play.

It would be useful for AKA to:

  • monitor that all part time or relieving teachers are well informed about AKA policies and procedures
  • increase support to improve assessment practices, planning and evaluation
  • continue to support teachers to fully implement Te Whāriki 2017.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pigeon Mountain 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 the programme in action and in documentation. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • planning, implementing and evaluating a curriculum that is designed to enhance all children's learning and development
  • ensuring that the curriculum is informed by assessment, planning and evaluation that demonstrates an understanding of children's learning and interests
  • giving children the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori including the tikanga that frames te reo Māori.
    Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, 1 (a), (i), (ii), (iii), C2, C5

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 Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten will be within two years.

Steve Tanner
Director Review and Improvement Services Northern
Northern Region

14 February 2019 

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 


Bucklands Beach, Auckland

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       29
Boys      28

Ethnic composition

Middle Eastern
other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

14 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2015

Education Review

May 2012

Education Review

March 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.