Rata Free Kindergarten - 19/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Rata Free Kindergarten

How well placed is Rata Free 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.


Rata Kindergarten is one of eleven kindergartens under the South Canterbury Kindergarten Association (SCFKA) and is in Temuka. It is licensed for 33 children. Currently there are approximately 20 children attending each day between 8:30am and 2:30pm. A new head teacher was appointed in October 2014. She is supported by a teacher and a teacher aide.

The kindergarten has a large, spacious outdoor area where children can explore and develop physical skills. The indoor area is well resourced and organised.

The 2014 ERO report identified a number of significant areas for improvement, including assessment, planning and evaluation, self review, and teaching practice. Teachers, with the support of the SCFKA, have made good progress in making the improvements needed and are continuing to build on and strengthen this work.

The Review Findings

Key aspects that contribute to children's learning and wellbeing have been improved at the kindergarten.

The kindergarten philosophy has been extensively reviewed. Teachers, with parent input, have developed values which express in general terms what they want children to learn. These are being used to guide planning for individuals and groups of children. The values could be more useful if they describe more specifically what teachers intend children to learn.

Children now benefit from a richer and more interesting programme. This includes:

  • early literacy and mathematics learning integrated into play

  • dramatic play

  • a more purposeful and better resourced environment

  • opportunities for children to explore, have choice and be independent

  • regular trips outside the kindergarten.

Teachers are responsive to children's home lives and are mindful of this when planning the programme. They have links with the local rest home and have established links with nearby schools. Children enjoy a weekly visit from local high school students.

Respect for Māori and Pacific cultures is strongly evident in the daily programme and environment. Teachers have linked Māori concepts to the kindergarten values. Children enjoy:

  • waiata and karakia

  • learning their own mihi

  • listening to and retelling local legends through dramatic play and art work

  • Pacific songs and greetings

  • participating in the area cultural festival.

Teachers have developed a format to gather parents' wishes for their children and ask how they can support children's language, culture and identity. Teachers should consider how they will effectively respond to these wishes and show this in children's records of learning.

Teachers ensure children have a sense of belonging by making the kindergarten a welcoming place for them and their families. Children are well supported in their transitions into and through the kindergarten and as they move on to school. Teachers know the children and their families well.


  • effectively support children to learn the skills of being a friend

  • provide a positive environment for children to learn in

  • listen carefully to children and have genuine conversations with them

  • encourage children to follow their interests

  • carefully plan strategies to help those children who need extra support to play and learn successfully.

The teachers have identified that it would be useful to evaluate the quality of their interactions and deepen their understandings of the range and effectiveness of the teaching strategies they use. This has been identified as a priority for 2016.

Teachers have strengthened systems for planning, assessment and evaluation of children's learning. They regularly discuss all children and plan for their learning.

Teachers need to:

  • be clearer about the learning they intend to support and the strategies and experiences they will provide to support this learning

  • make evaluations more specific to show how well they have supported the learning

  • continue to explore how they can work with parents as partners in children's learning journeys.

The head teacher and teacher work well together and are strongly committed to improving the programme and their teaching practices. The kindergarten association has been very supportive of the kindergarten. It has provided extra support by way of a teacher aide.

All SCFKA kindergarten teachers have received professional learning and development to strengthen their use and understanding of self review. This is still work in progress for the association and for this kindergarten. Aspects of self review could be simplified.

To further develop self-review practice, teachers at Rata Kindergarten need to ensure:

  • the review focus is evaluative

  • indicators are simply stated and match the review focus

  • indicators are used to guide the review at all stages.

The SCFKA ensures effective day-to-day management of the kindergarten.

Key Next Steps

The teachers and ERO agree the next steps are to improve aspects of:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • partnerships for learning with parents including responding to children's language, culture and identity

  • the philosophy, to better describe the intended learning

  • self review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

19 May 2016

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

33 children over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 12

Girls: 10

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

April 2016

Date of this report

19 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2014

Education Review

June 2011

Education Review

February 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.