Somerset Kindergarten - 11/02/2016

1 Evaluation of Somerset Kindergarten

How well placed is Somerset 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.


Somerset Kindergarten is one of 24 administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 40 children aged over two years. Most children begin attending the service at close to three years of age. Of the 56 children enrolled, 33 are Māori.

All teachers are qualified and three have full registration. There are two part-time teachers, one is provisionally registered the other's registration is subject to confirmation.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises the importance of relationships, partnerships, community and respect for the environment underpinned by the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The October 2012 ERO review identified that teachers should continue to embed understanding and use of internal evaluation and further develop assessment for learning and programme planning. Provision of opportunities within the programme to acknowledge the culture and identity of Māori children needed further development and appraisal required strengthening. Professional support has been provided to improve these aspects of practice and the programme. Significant progress in the above areas is evident.

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 is one of a cluster of five reviews of Ruahine Kindergartens.

The Review Findings

Children spend their time at kindergarten in child initiated, play-based activity. They enthusiastically explore an environment that offers challenges and invites them to become fully involved in a wide variety of experiences.

Children experience nurturing and respectful relationships. Interactions are unhurried and relaxed. Flexible routines enable teachers to meet children’s preferences, interests and needs well. Teachers use a wide range of very effective teaching practices. These include rich conversations that affirm children’s ideas, make connections with home and prior learning, and encourage children to think and problem solve.

The language, culture, and identity of all children, including Māori, are celebrated and promoted. Self-help skills and independence are encouraged. The programme provided for children is responsive and promotes positive outcomes for all learners. Children with additional learning and teaching needs are well supported in the inclusive programme.

Assessment and planning processes show children’s learning progress over time, and how teachers support and extend this learning in the programme. A developing part of these systems is the collection and sharing of assessment information with families through e-portfolios.

Learning and development are increasingly celebrated and shared between teachers and parents. Further evaluation of the impact of teaching strategies and curriculum decisions on children’s learning to determine next development steps should enhance outcomes for children.

The kindergarten shares a strong connection and relationship with the neighbouring school. Teachers support children and their families and whānau well as they move on to school. They work together to effectively share information with new entrant teachers about each child's interests, strengths and dispositions.

Children have many opportunities to learn about Aotearoa New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Teachers are enthusiastic about exploring further ways of enhancing culturally responsive practices for Māori learners. ERO's evaluation affirms this direction.

Teachers share responsibility for internal evaluation. They increasingly make effective use of it to improve aspects of practice and promote positive outcomes for all learners. Evaluation is well used by teachers to extend the bicultural curriculum and support transitions.

The experienced head teacher has a strong commitment to making decisions that promote and contribute to programme improvements. She encourages teachers’ emerging leadership skills. Staff are well supported by leaders to grow and develop their practice. Teachers are highly reflective and collaborative.

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 operations. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality outcomes linked to agreed ‘wise practice’ should be a useful addition to the annual plan. This should enable more effective monitoring of progress in relation to learning, teaching and outcomes for children.

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

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 teacher and leadership development through appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities.

Developing and implementing appraisal for the senior teacher and operations manager is a priority.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree that teachers should:

  • continue to focus on sustaining and improving teaching and learning by building on and extending internal review processes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Somerset 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 Somerset Kindergarten will be in four years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

11 February 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 33, Girls 23

Ethnic composition











Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

11 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012


Education Review

May 2009


Education Review

May 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.