Raphael House Kindergarten - 09/12/2014

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. Forty children aged five to seven are on the school roll and participate fully in the kindergarten programme.

The kindergarten’s philosophy has been recently reviewed. It continues to reflect 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.

Self review and extending ways to involve parents in children’s learning were areas identified for development in the December 2011 ERO report. These have been addressed.

The proprietor’s trust board has responsibility for the property and the special character.

The kindergarten has a positive ERO reporting history.

The Review Findings

The philosophy statement is strongly evident in practice. Children are welcomed in to a homely environment where they experience predictable daily and seasonal rhythms and routines. They are nurtured. Self-directed play using natural, open-ended materials is very evident. Children interact positively with one another and with the adults, who appropriately role model the philosophy values.

Teachers use a wide range of assessment approaches to gather information about individual children. A deeper analysis of this information should assist teachers to identify ongoing learning pathways for children and better support learning and development over time.

The kindergarten has extended ways to involve parents and to communicate the purpose of aspects of the programme. Home visits and participation in festival and other social activities facilitate teachers’ knowledge of the children and their families and enable strong connections between home and the kindergarten.

Children's development of life skills is supported through participation in and observation of, purposeful work experiences. Teachers have developed useful guidelines for approaches to teaching English and mathematics in this setting. The next step is for the kindergarten teachers to review the impact of their mathematics approach and to reflect each child’s knowledge and skills growth in their learning journals.

The culturally responsive curriculum is particularly evident in the commitment to bicultural education. This is reflected in te ao Māori elements in the curriculum, such as karakia, waiata, legends retold and promotion of te reo Māori. Teachers are guided by the school’s Māori support group, Te Rōpū Tautoko i te Kaupapa. The principal and teachers are continuing to promote practices where Māori children enjoy success as Māori.

The kindergarten teachers have identified a next step is to have a greater cultural awareness and inclusive environment for Pacific children and families. Opportunities have been given for families to share aspects of language and culture. Further aspects are currently being built into programmes.

The teacher appraisal system is now more robust and has clear expectations related to meeting the Registered Teacher Criteria. Teachers are behind the timeframe for this year. Better oversight of this process is needed to ensure teachers work with the expected timelines.

Teachers demonstrate a commitment to reviewing the curriculum. They are involved in a post-graduate paper which provides a means to review Steiner philosophy practice. The purpose is to consider a curriculum which facilitates preparedness for a 21st century Waldorf education in Aotearoa.

The principal and teachers have addressed the areas identified for development in the 2011 ERO report. Teachers continue to be reflective and are more confident in formal review of the programme. They have completed a number of impromptu reviews and are currently enquiring into the effectiveness of the garden environment in supporting the kindergarten philosophy. The next step is to continue to strengthen the review process by having a stronger evaluative lens.

The area school’s strategic plan includes goals and aspirations for the kindergarten. The principal reports progress towards meeting the strategic goals monthly to the board of trustees. Teachers, including the lower school-kindergarten coordinator, contribute to these reports. The board and proprietors are sufficiently informed to make appropriate resourcing decisions.

The kindergarten is guided by a range of policies, many of which are in common with the school. The lower school coordinator and the teachers should review these policies and procedures to ensure that they are appropriate and up-to-date. In particular, there needs to be a more considered set of procedures related to planning and assessment. This should provide a stronger alignment between planning and assessment.

Key Next Steps

The next steps are for the senior leaders and teachers to:

  • review the planning and assessment procedures to enable better assessment practice
  • improve the analysis of assessment information
  • review the policy and procedures documents to ensure they are current and relevant to the kindergarten setting
  • implement the revised appraisal system within the expected timelines.

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 three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

9 December 2014

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


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children over the age of 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 14, Boys 6

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Cook Island Māori

Other ethnic groups





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

October 2014

Date of this report

9 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2011


Education Review

July 2008


Education Review

April 2005

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.