Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) - 30/10/2019

1 Evaluation of Riverdale Kindergarten (PN)

How well placed is Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) is located in Palmerston North. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am until 2:30pm. Full day places are available for children from three to six years old. At the time of this review there were 55 children enrolled and four identify as Māori. The centre serves a culturally diverse community.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises care and inclusion and that children are kaitiaki of their environment.

The kindergarten is administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association. The governing board is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for the organisation. The day-to-day running of the association is the role of the chief executive officer who is responsible to the board. An operations manager supports the service's compliance and policy development. Two senior teachers provide educational leadership across the teaching teams.

The March 2016 ERO report identified that understanding of internal evaluation and bicultural curriculum needed development. Good progress has been made to address both these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of twelve kindergartens and one early learning service reviews in the Ruahine Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

The kindergarten philosophy is evident in practice. Teachers have developed an inclusive culture in which children are celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning.

A child-centred approach is evident in daily interactions. The set-up of play areas is well considered, allowing children to engage in individual, small group and larger group activities. Children are challenged to be creative, problem solve and enjoy the complexities of an environment that has been constructed to offer a range of learning experiences.

The curriculum provides opportunities for children to negotiate, discuss and contribute to decisions about their learning. They are able to make choices, attempt new challenges and manage themselves. Teachers engage in genuine conversations with children. They foster language development and through deliberate teaching strategies promote learning. The effective use of the local reserve as an extension of their programme provides further opportunities for children to explore the natural environment and to take risks.

Whānau and families are welcomed and warmly invited into the centre. Families actively communicate with teachers about their child's learning. Children's portfolios are a valuable record of their participation in a wide range of experiences. Teachers use a range of appropriate assessment approaches to support planning, identify progress and provide additional support where necessary. Teachers are considering ways to strengthen the gathering of family aspirations and this should better align the philosophy to teaching and learning.

Children who identify as Māori are known by teachers. The knowledge they bring to the centre is valued. Te ao Māori concepts are respectfully woven through environmental literacy and access to the living world. Kupu Māori are promoted in the programme. Children benefit from regular opportunities to see, hear and experience aspects of te ao Māori through waiata, karakia, praise and basic commands. Teachers are supported and demonstrate commitment to growing their cultural competence. This provides a strong foundation for teachers to understand and promote educational success for Māori children.

Educators work closely with the families to support children identified as having additional needs. Liaison with appropriate agencies occurs when required. The kindergarten has developed positive relationships with local schools. They have identified transition as an area for internal evaluation to build a learning partnership that should benefit all children.

Senior teachers work collaboratively to build teacher and leadership capability. There is a strong commitment to growing staff knowledge and skills through ongoing professional learning, research opportunities and the sharing of good practice.

Teachers have continued to build their understanding of internal evaluation. A range of completed reviews align to kindergarten and the association priorities. Shifting the focus from review to evaluation, should support teachers and leaders to know what is working for children more clearly.

Association leaders have a well-considered approach to progressing strategic objectives. Robust systems and processes are in place for reporting, monitoring and evaluating the quality of operations. Information is used to inform decision making and to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

At kindergarten level, priorities are to continue to strengthen:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation to be more inclusive to all children's language, culture and identity

  • internal evaluation to measure the impact of teaching and learning on outcomes for children.

At governance level, the Ruahine Kindergarten Association have identified that their priorities are to continue to:

  • strengthen and build their knowledge and understanding of tikanga Māori and seek engagement with local iwi, with kaumatua support.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

30 October 2019

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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 29, Female 26

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

30 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

November 2012

Education Review

May 2009

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.