Raphael House Kindergarten - 01/11/2017

1 Evaluation of Raphael House Kindergarten

How well placed is Raphael House 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.


Raphael House Kindergarten is a fully licensed early childhood centre located in Lower Hutt. It is part of Raphael House Rudolf Steiner Area School. It caters for children aged four to seven years, in three mixed age classes. Of the roll of 45, four are Māori.

The kindergarten’s philosophy reflects the Rudolf Steiner approach with a strong commitment to a culturally responsive curriculum, including te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in the curriculum and teaching.

The Raphael House proprietor’s trust exercises its governance role through the kindergarten governance group which includes representatives from the trust, the area school principal and the kindergarten centre manager.

In March 2107, a centre manager was appointed to manage the day-to-day operation of the kindergarten. The role reports directly to the principal who provides strategic leadership and management oversight.

Areas identified for development in the December 2014 ERO report included: reviewing assessment, planning, evaluation practices; developing policies specific to the kindergarten; and fully implementing the appraisal process. These have been addressed and good progress is evident.

The Review Findings

Organisational conditions support positive outcomes for children and their families. Effective leadership and collaborative teaching practices are in place.

The valued learning outcomes described in the kindergarten philosophy are strongly evident in practice. Children are highly engaged and self-motivated. They confidently participate in the daily rhythms established within the kindergarten. They are given space and time to develop and test their working theories with the use of natural and open-ended resources. There are rich opportunities for creative, expressive and imaginative exploration. Social competence and respect for peers is effectively promoted.

The outdoor area reflects an emphasis on nature-based learning experiences and environmental sustainability. All children participate in a weekly programme located in the natural bush area in the school grounds. Through this programme, children enjoy opportunities to challenge themselves and take ownership of their learning.

Rudolf Steiner principles, te ao Māori concepts and Te Whāriki are effectively woven together and highly visible in the curriculum for children.

Teachers thoughtfully plan a group programme that effectively supports children’s holistic learning needs. They closely observe and monitor all children’s progress and responsively plan for individual children according to their needs, particularly those requiring additional support.

All children’s cultures are honoured through the environment and daily rituals. Cultural and seasonal celebrations with families enrich learning opportunities.

Educational success for Māori and Pacific children is well promoted. Their cultures, languages and identities are strongly affirmed and celebrated. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are highly visible within the programme. The cultural expertise of whānau is actively sought by teachers to enrich the curriculum.

Teachers use a range of suitable planning and monitoring strategies. They make clear and useful assessments of children's ongoing progress. This information is regularly shared with parents through documentation, at twice-yearly parent teacher interviews and during home visits. Leaders agree that strengthening the evaluative aspect of the assessment cycle, by making clear and specific judgements about the effectiveness of teaching strategies, will add value to the process.

Effective learning partnerships are strongly evident. Strategies are shared between home and kindergarten and parents’ aspirations are regularly revisited.

Children with diverse needs are well supported. Teachers liaise with external agencies and parents as appropriate.

Children transition into the kindergarten at the beginning of the year. A wide range of information is shared between whānau and the kindergarten. Readiness for entry into the lower school is carefully managed, with observations, child’s voice and parent feedback all taken into consideration during transition.

Self review leads to positive change for children. A range of information is gathered to inform change. The new centre manager has identified that the current framework for review is not sufficiently evaluative. The newly developed process should guide more robust internal evaluation.

A useful appraisal process is in place. The kindergarten is reviewing the policy to better reflect their new leadership structure. This also provides an opportunity to incorporate the Education Council revised standards for teacher practice into the appraisal system.

Key Next Steps

Leaders agree that strengthening the evaluative aspect of the assessment cycle, by making clear and specific judgements about the effectiveness of teaching strategies, will add value to the process.

The service has the capacity to use internal evaluation to self-identify appropriate next steps and maintain ongoing improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Raphael House 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 Raphael House Kindergarten will be in four years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

1 November 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


Belmont, Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 23, Boys 22

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

1 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

December 2011

Education Review

July 2008

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.