Portobello Kindergarten - 29/04/2020

1 Evaluation of Portobello Kindergarten

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Portobello Kindergarten provides early childhood education for children aged two years old to school age. It is licensed for 21 children and currently has a roll of 27. Six children identify as Māori. Sessions operate from 8.30am to 2.30pm.

Teachers aim to support children to develop social and emotional competence, build positive relationships, understand te ao Māori, the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, and have agency in their learning. They seek to achieve this through working closely with parents, having respectful relationships, embracing diversity, enacting ako, whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga, and encouraging learning through play.

The teaching team has made good progress in addressing some of the areas for development in the kindergarten's December 2015 ERO review. These include improving planning for individual children, deepening teachers' inquiry into their practice, and identifying what learning matters most in this kindergarten. Some areas require further work.

Portobello Kindergarten is one of 24 kindergartens governed by Dunedin Kindergartens (DK). Day-to-day operations are led by a head teacher, with the support of two experienced, qualified teachers. A senior teacher from DK provides support for professional and operational practice. Since the 2015 ERO review, there have been some changes in the teaching team.

This review was part of a cluster of seven DK kindergartens.

The Review Findings

Children play and learn in an environment where whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are very evident. Teachers are respectful, caring and inclusive in the way they interact with children and families. Families feel welcome and valued.

The programme is deliberately child centred. Teachers know the children very well as individuals and as learners. They recognise and foster positive learning dispositions. Children show a strong sense of belonging and confidently initiate play. Routines are responsive to their needs and invitational. Teachers deliberately promote children's opportunities to lead their learning and make choices. ERO discussed with teachers the importance of ensuring a balance between children's agency and teachers' provocations for learning.

Links and partnerships with parents and the wider community have a positive impact on children's learning and wellbeing. Teachers work closely with parents, seek and value their voice. Whānau share their knowledge and expertise to enhance children's learning. Children also benefit from regular excursions to local places.

Priority learners are very well supported. Teachers deliberately find opportunities for Māori children to stand proud, share and lead in their culture. They work closely with parents and external agencies in order to best support children with additional needs. Children transitioning into the kindergarten and on to school are sensitively supported.

Teachers have strengthened aspects of assessment and planning for individual children. In children's profiles they regularly include parents' voice, acknowledge children's cultural backgrounds and capture significant learning moments. They are working towards making the role teachers play in supporting children's learning more visible, ensuring next steps are included and showing progress over time. Further work is needed to strengthen group planning and evaluation.

Teachers are reflective and improvement focused. They engage in meaningful professional learning and inquiries. These put children at the centre and have resulted in changes to teaching practice. With parent input they have developed a well-considered philosophy and more recently identified the kindergarten's priorities for children's learning. Teachers and ERO agree that they could deepen internal evaluation processes.

The DK board has made good progress in addressing the governance recommendations from ERO's 2016 reviews. The DK's mission and strategic priorities are well known and reflected in each kindergarten's strategic and annual plans. It has a sound policy and procedure framework that provides guidance for kindergartens and sound systems to monitor health and safety. Leaders and teachers benefit from relevant professional development and leadership support. The DK actively supports equity of outcomes for all children by funding additional teaching resources to support children with additional needs.

Key Next Steps

To further improve outcomes for children, the next steps for teachers are to:

  • ensure regular group planning, that includes intended learning outcomes and relevant teaching strategies
  • further challenge children’s language, thinking, problem solving and curiosity through teacher provocations
  • strengthen aspects of planned internal evaluation.

The DK board has clearly identified, and ERO agrees, that the key next steps for DK to further improve outcomes for children are to ensure that:

  • reporting and monitoring at all levels are evaluative, to clearly show how desired outcomes for children have been improved in relation to the DK and kindergartens’ priorities for learning and other strategic priorities
  • a robust and systematic quality assurance framework is implemented to inform and monitor ongoing improvements in each kindergarten.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Portobello 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

29 April 2020

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


Portobello, Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

21 children aged over two years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 14

Boys 13

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2020

Date of this report

29 April 2020

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

December 2015

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.