Ruahine Early Learning - Pahiatua - 09/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Ruahine Early Learning - Pahiatua

How well placed is Ruahine Early Learning - Pahiatua 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.


Ruahine Early Learning is one of 25 services administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). Significant changes since the November 2012 ERO report include a change of name and function and a new manager and team in early 2016.

Previously operating as Pahiatua Kindergarten the refurbished, relicensed building is able to provide education and care for 50 children, including up to 18 children up to two years old. Thoughtfully organised, separate learning areas cater for the needs of infants, toddlers and young children. Of the 47 children enrolled, 21 are Maori.

Five teachers are qualified and four have full certification. One teacher has provisional certification, another is in training and one staff member is untrained. All but one of the seven team members are new.

The service’s recently developed philosophy statements emphasise the importance of children being viewed as capable, competent, resilient and having an inherent desire to investigate and discover.

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

This review is one of a cluster of eight in the Ruahine Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Programmes and resources provide children with an inviting range of experiences. The learning environment is beginning to be influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. It is well organised and aesthetically pleasing. A focus on including elements of the natural world in play and in creative opportunities underpins the programme. Children’s creativity is celebrated and they are confident and independent learners.

Educators support learners to follow their interests. They encourage children’s language development, mathematical and science understanding and sustained attention to both child-initiated and adultinitiated activities. Young children welcome opportunities to actively explore, talk about, and participate in, these experiences.

Programme provision for infants and toddlers effectively focuses on nurturing their wellbeing through responsive care giving. Play is increasingly viewed as an occasion for learning and providing opportunities for young learners to become active communicators and explorers.

Educators work collaboratively to develop and improve consistency of teaching and learning practices. Regular discussions and planning meetings support these ongoing developments. Staff are aware of the need to continue to develop assessment, planning and evaluation processes and documentation of children’s learning. A useful planning sheet has the potential for educators to formally evaluate programmes and enhance outcomes for children.

Bicultural respect and the unique place of Māori are interwoven within the sustainable curriculum. Educators show a willingness to increase their capability to be responsive to Māori children’s culture, language and identity.

Educators work closely with the families of children identified as having additional needs. External agencies, families and centre staff work together to support the progress and development of these children. An inclusive culture with acknowledgement of and respect for all ethnic groups is evident at this place.

Children’s sense of belonging is fostered when beginning at this service. Adults support parents to settle children according to their needs. Educators’ participation in cluster meetings with local schools and centres supports establishing and building closer links with a range of schools. This involvement should help children moving to school.

The manager provides capable professional leadership and welcomes initiative. The teaching team is collaborative. Each teacher plays an active role in the service's development.

Educators are developing a shared understanding of the purpose of, and process for, internal evaluation. They are in the early stages of using evaluation, as a team, to strengthen current practice and to meet the objectives in their strategic teaching and learning plan. Internal evaluation to guide improvement and sustain best practice should be strengthened by deepening the analysis of the information gathered.

The association is providing good support for teachers to use a more evaluative approach to review for improvement. Teachers should continue to build their shared understanding and use of internal evaluation to support decision making that improves and sustains positive outcomes for children. The association agrees the continued development of the Wise Practice indicators should occur to support understanding about the quality and effectiveness of practice and operation at centre through to board level.

The centre'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 operations. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality indicators linked to outcomes for children are a useful addition to the annual plan. These should be further defined to enable more effective monitoring of progress.

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

  • a variety of operational and administrative support

  • effective and targeted support for educator and leadership development through appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree that educators should be supported to continue to develop:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation practices to guide future curriculum emphasis and decision making

  • shared understanding of internal evaluation to enhance teaching and learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Ruahine Early Learning - Pahiatua 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 Ruahine Early Learning - Pahiatua will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 September 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

50 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 27, Boys 20

Ethnic composition





Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

9 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

This is the first report of this centre

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.