Rhona Day Free Kindergarten - 01/10/2014

1. Evaluation of Rhona Day Free Kindergarten

Rhona Day Free Kindergarten How well placed isto 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.


Rhona Day Free Kindergarten is licensed for 30 children. Children attend the school-day model, with the oldest 20 staying on for the afternoon sessions. The children who attend are from Temuka and the surrounding rural district. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds. The head teacher oversees the day-to-day management of the centre and is supported by two teachers.

The teachers aim to build strong partnerships with children to support them to develop a sense of self belief, self identity and a curiosity to learn. They want the children to learn in a sustainable environment and one that celebrates New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. They want children to know that it is their kindergarten.

A key feature of the curriculum is developing children’s knowledge, respect and awareness of their environment. Teachers work hard with the children to create and maintain sustainable practices as part of their commitment to being an enviroschool.

Children learn and play in a spacious, well-resourced indoor and outdoor environment.

Parents and whānau feel welcome to be part of the life of the kindergarten.

The kindergarten is part of two educational groups. The first is a cluster of early childhood centres and schools supporting children’s transitions to school. Teachers are also part of a Ministry of Education (MOE) cluster, working with their local marae to support Māori tamariki.

Since the June 2011 ERO report, considerable progress has been made in:

  • managing the change to different session hours and the increased numbers of children and teachers
  • incorporating tikanga and te reo Māori as part of kindergarten programme and practices, and strengthening partnerships with local Māori whānau
  • the centre’s assessment practices to better identify children’s learning.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 kindergarten reviews in the South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association (SCFKA).

The Review Findings

Children work and play well together in an attractive and carefully set out environment. There are positive relationships amongst the children. Teachers are caring, supportive and nurturing to children. Teachers are collaborative and value each other’s strengths and interests.

Children benefit from respectful and meaningful interactions with adults. Children lead their learning and are well supported by their teachers. The programme and interactions help children to develop social skills. Teachers encourage children to be independent and make decisions for themselves.

Children’s learning and development is greatly assisted by the wide range of experiences provided for them. Many of these are instigated by the children. Children work and play in an unhurried, settled but stimulating environment. They have many authentic opportunities to develop skills and knowledge, including the ‘real work’ teams taking responsibility for the gardens. Teachers are responsive to children’s interests and to children’s backgrounds.

Teachers have been involved in ongoing professional development on assessing, planning and evaluating for children’s learning. They have built a shared understanding within their teaching team about assessment, planning and evaluation. Teachers have increased the amount of information they gather that reflect children’s thoughts and ideas, including what the children think about their progress.

Through play, children explore and are exposed to a range of mathematical concepts, including sorting, counting, measuring, problem solving and geometry. Teachers are familiar with the MOE resource Te Aho Tukutuku. They see the value in exploring this resource more fully to make their mathematical teaching more intentional.

All children learn and play within a bicultural environment. This includes:

  • learning local legends
  • developing a sense of turangawaewae/belonging to this place.

Key Next Steps

Since the June 2011 ERO report teachers have made improvements in planning processes and systems for running the kindergarten. To build on these improvements, teachers should continue to strengthen the planning processes for individual children and groups of children. In particular they need to ensure:

  • more clarity when indentifying the learning outcomes
  • that they show how they response to parents’ wishes about their child’s learning
  • teaching is planned to meet the set learning outcomes
  • the learning that has occurred and the effectiveness of their teaching is evaluated.

The teaching team, with the support of the senior teacher, needs to make better use of self review to monitor the effectiveness of their curriculum, programmes and practices, including the mathematics learning area.


The SCFKA is governed by a board and managed by a newly appointed general manager. The board:

  • has a strong commitment to teaching and learning
  • seeks parents’ views about important matters in the association
  • has made changes to the roll size and opening hours of the kindergartens to be more responsive to community needs and maintain the financial viability of the association
  • is very responsive to important government initiatives such as ensuring educational success for all children.

Next steps for the board are to:

  • know more about its roles and responsibilities as the governing body
  • develop strategic planning
  • ensure that reports review how well the association's goals are met, are more evaluative and are better used for future planning
  • refine appraisal systems to ensure that staff and teachers more formally receive critical feedback about their work.

The senior teachers provide useful ongoing professional development and maintain a strong focus on teaching and learning to the kindergartens within the association. They have shared with the teachers at Rhona Day Kindergarten the expectations they have for teaching and learning and how well they think the team is meeting those expectations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Rhona Day Free Kindergarten completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they  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 Rhona Day Free Kindergarten will be in  .

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

1 October 2014 

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

30 children over two years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 23

Girls: 20

Ethnic composition

Māori 10 

NZ European/Pākehā 30 

Other 3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable

Over 2


Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

1 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review June 2011

Education Review February 2008

Education Review September 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.