Ponsonby Kindergarten - 15/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Ponsonby Kindergarten

How well placed is Ponsonby 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.


Ponsonby Kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework and support personnel to assist the kindergarten. It is licensed to provide sessional education and care for up to 45 children aged over two years. Four-year-old children attend five morning sessions per week, and three-year-olds attend three afternoon sessions per week.

The head teacher is new to the kindergarten. She is supported by two other experienced, qualified teachers who have worked at the kindergarten for some years. A teacher aide and an administrator make up the staff team.

The kindergarten's philosophy is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It is important to the teaching team that the programme is play based, and that children are respected and encouraged to be confident, independent and socially competent. Family contributions and links with the community are valued.

The 2013 ERO report acknowledged the welcoming, positive tone of the kindergarten and the settled and confident children. Teachers were responsive to children's interests and had increased their knowledge and use of te reo and tikanga Māori. An effective internal evaluation process was resulting in positive outcomes for children. These aspects of good practice have been maintained and strengthened in line with the suggested next steps in the 2013 ERO report.

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

The Review Findings

The kindergarten's philosophy is evident in practice. Children are confident, capable, self-managing learners. They know the routines and rituals of the kindergarten well and share that knowledge with others. Children's developing social competence is evident in their interactions with their friends and with adults.

Children are highly engaged in their play and learning. Teachers have established positive, sensitive, respectful relationships with children and their whānau. Teachers skilfully talk with and question children, bringing complexity to their thinking. Each child is seen as unique and programmes are planned around their interests.

Teachers actively promote collaborative play to support learning. Mathematics and literacy learning opportunities are meaningfully integrated into daily activities. Teachers have high expectations of children's ability to take lead roles in directing their own learning.

Positive professional relationships have been established with the community. Parents' aspirations for their children's learning are valued, included in the programme and revisited regularly. Teachers share information about children's learning in presentations and record the learning of each child in portfolios that clearly show continuity and developing complexity.

Whole-team engagement in professional learning about programme planning has assisted the development of a positive team culture. A distributed leadership model supports each teacher to develop and share their strengths. Teachers' appraisal goals are responsive to the context and supported by appropriate professional development. An effective process for internal evaluation is guided by robust discussion and influenced by research.

Te reo and tikanga Māori are well integrated in kindergarten routines and teaching practices. Teachers see their mat times as a key opportunities for all children to hear and see te reo and tikanga being respectfully used and valued. Further whole-team professional learning is planned to support and deepen teachers' bicultural knowledge and practice.

AKA systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in kindergarten operations are well established. Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA strategic goals. The Association continues to review and refine its policies and procedures, including those for teacher appraisal and the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates.

New AKA roles were established to provide more targeted support for head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) is aligned with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans, monitors quality and promotes ongoing improvement in kindergartens. AKA support and guidance is responsive to each kindergarten's individual context.

Key Next Steps

The teaching team and AKA personnel agree that to enhance current good quality provision for children, teachers should:

  • continue to embed and evaluate systems for programme planning and evaluation

  • review the kindergarten's philosophy to reflect the priorities of the newly established teaching team

  • continue to develop ways to help children understand the cultures of others and to experience success in their own home languages and cultural identities. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 March 2017

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 


Ponsonby, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 40 Girls 38

Ethnic composition







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

15 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

June 2007

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.