Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) - 31/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Riverdale Kindergarten (PN)

Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) 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.


Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) is one of 24 administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 40 children aged over two years. Of the 49 children enrolled, 11 are Maori. All five teachers are qualified and registered.

Since the November 2012 ERO report there has been extensive renovation of the kindergarten building and significant development of the outdoor area.

The recently reviewed kindergarten philosophy emphasises reciprocal relationships, developing dispositions for learning and sustainable practices. Key virtues have been identified to support the enactment of the philosophy.

The November 2012 ERO report identified the need to improve teaching practices, give greater significance to te reo and tikanga Māori and increase the use of self review. Teachers, leaders and the association have responded effectively to these areas. Priorities have been in building relationships and establishing a culture based on supporting learning. The kindergarten is now better placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

Day-to-day management of the association's affairs is the responsibility of the general manager. A governing board sets overall strategic direction. The senior teacher provides professional leadership for teaching and learning. An operations manager supports kindergartens' compliance, policy development and leadership. A management restructure has been undertaken since the previous ERO reviews.

This review was part of a cluster of 8 reviews in the Ruahine Kindergartens. 

The Review Findings

A positive tone promotes constructive interactions that supports the learning of all children. Learners self-manage and play cooperatively. They enjoy high levels of interest in learning experiences. The calm and purposeful environment enables children to sustain their involvement in activities.

The environment offers challenge and interest that invites children to explore and become involved in a wide range of activities. Imaginative and creative play is well supported by the many resources that can be adapted to suit children's current interests.

Teachers provide meaningful contexts for children to use and build their literacy and mathematics knowledge and understanding. Regular opportunity is provided for children to extend their oral language and thinking skills. Effort and success is regularly affirmed by teachers.

Teachers develop and maintain positive relationships with parents and whānau. Families are welcomed and participate in the programme as partners in promoting children's learning. Teachers flexibly respond to children with higher needs. An on-line programme records teachers' and parents' communication about learning. Teachers have identified a next step is to develop a more systematic response to aspirations parents have for their children.

Māori concepts, values and te reo Māori are increasingly evident in the curriculum. Teachers actively build their capability and confidence in te reo me ngā tikanga through professional learning.

Teachers and association leaders agree implementation of a bicultural curriculum and promotion of success for Māori as Māori need further development. The recently revised Tiriti o Waitangi policy, and ‘Wise Practice’ document, and the establishment of enduring connections with mana whenua should support these aspects of practice.

Professional learning has supported review and improvement in assessment and planning. There is increased focus on identifying and supporting learning. This continues to develop. Ongoing discussion between teachers allows more meaningful extension of individual children's current interests.

Teachers are reflective and improvement-focused. Internal evaluation is guided by a process developed association-wide. Leaders and teachers should continue to build the use of internal evaluation to inquire into the impact of curriculum decisions on children's learning.

The kindergarten’s annual plan outlines priorities for the year linked to the association’s strategic goals of having high quality staff, coordinated services, effective partnerships and operation. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality outcomes linked to agreed ‘wise practice’ are a useful addition to the annual plan. This should enable more effective monitoring of progress in relation to learning, teaching and outcomes for children. 

The association provides effective governance and management support for this service. This includes:

  • constructive and improvement-focused support from the senior teacher
  • suitable quality assurance processes and guidelines linked to compliance with regulations and association expectations
  • effective and targeted support for teacher and leadership development through the appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities
  • a variety of operational and administrative support.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree, teachers should be supported to continue to develop:

  • understanding and use of internal evaluation to enhance teaching and learning
  • the bicultural curriculum and promotion of success for Māori as Māori.

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. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Riverdale Kindergarten (PN) will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

31 March 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


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

Boys 27, Girls 22

Ethnic composition

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

February 2016

Date of this report

31 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2012

Education Review

May 2009

Education Review

January 2007

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.