Pohutukawa Kindergarten - 09/10/2015

1 Evaluation of Pohutukawa Kindergarten

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Pohutukawa Kindergarten is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Pohutukawa Kindergarten, a family owned and operated service, provides early childhood education and care for up to 34 children over the age of two years. It operates in an adapted house located in the central Auckland suburb of Ellerslie. The programme’s purpose is to support and challenge children to become confident, competent learners.

Children attending Pohutukawa Kindergarten are treated with dignity and respect. The centre’s philosophy is guided by the Magda Gerber practices. It is underpinned by trusting and respectful relationships. These are highly evident throughout the centre. As a result, there is a vibrant family atmosphere that supports children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging.

The owner has formed a strong professional teaching team of four registered teachers, one of whom is provisionally registered. The head teacher and one experienced teacher have been working together since the beginning of 2013. The other teachers joined in 2014. They work effectively as a collaborative team and are supported by targeted professional development.

ERO’s 2012 review noted that the kindergarten was well managed with a good framework for self review. Partnerships had been established with whānau and teaching practices were effective. ERO noted there was a need to increase the use of Māori language and perspectives. ERO also identified development priorities to do with supporting more complex play and reviewing the structured programme for four year old children.

The Review Findings

Children are self-motivated explorers who actively lead their own play. They enthusiastically contribute to conversations and express opinions about how they want their play to develop. Children are friendly and caring towards each other. They often work collaboratively in meaningful play scenarios. Children benefit from a very well-resourced environment that supports their sustained play and learning.

Teachers view children as capable learners. They skilfully engage children in authentic learning experiences guided by children’s strengths and interests. Teachers listen well to children and are responsive to shifts in their interests and ideas. Early literacy, numeracy and science are purposefully integrated through project work and spontaneous play.

Teachers use well established and effective processes for planning and evaluating the programme. Evaluations guide teachers to plan further experiences that provoke children’s thinking and extend their learning. Planning for children’s developmental stages provides appropriate learning activities as children develop their skills, understanding and dispositions over time.

The “Fabulous Four” afternoon programme provides further learning opportunities for children to develop project work. This learning may be sustained over time. Within this programme children are contributing their ideas to influence the structure and outcomes of the programme.

Assessment portfolios provide very good information about children’s individual characteristics and involvement in the programme. Teachers analyse learning, particularly in relation to children’s dispositions and learning progress.

Centre leaders and teachers are committed to increasing teachers’ bicultural practices. Steps have been taken to further integrate te reo me ōna tikanga Māori into the programme. Teachers are integrating the dimensions of Te Wheke, a Māori health approach, to better reflect te Ao Māori perspectives. This focus is included as a goal in the kindergarten’s annual and strategic plans.

Parents express a very high level of satisfaction with the programme. They value teachers’ knowledge of individual children. Parents appreciate opportunities to discuss their children’s learning and contribute to learning portfolios and parent surveys. Regular conversations enable families and teachers to implement shared approaches to enhancing children’s learning. Parents report that they are well informed about, and increasingly involved in, the centre programme.

The owner and head teacher lead the kindergarten very well. They have developed a trusted team of highly professional teachers. Regular, planned self review that is linked to strategic goals results in positive developments to the kindergarten’s programme, environment and operation. Teachers’ regular discussions about the effectiveness of the programme contribute to their responsive work with children. Sound appraisal processes support teachers to improve teaching practices.

Key Next Steps

The owner and teachers could enhance the centre’s current high quality practices by:

  • further developing the long-term strategic plan and goals to include progress indicators that help leaders to monitor progress and guide improvement
  • extending older children’s critical thinking through goal setting and assessing their own progress
  • consolidating the integration of the Te Wheke approach to enhance teachers’ understanding of te ao Maori
  • strengthening self review by deepening evaluative thinking and improved documentation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pohutukawa 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.

In order to improve current practice the service management should improve the procedures for managing risk on excursions.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Pohutukawa Kindergarten will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 October 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


Ellerslie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

34 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 33 Girls 31

Ethnic composition



Sri Lankan






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

July 2015

Date of this report

9 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012


Education Review

May 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.