St John's Hill Kindergarten - 28/03/2019

1 Evaluation of St John's Hill Kindergarten

How well placed is St John's Hill Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

St John's Hill Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


St John's Hill Kindergarten is in Whanganui. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30am until 3:30pm. Full day places are available for children aged from two to six years.

The philosophy statement emphasises children's sense of belonging where parents are valued as partners in their child's learning.

The October 2015 ERO report identified that assessment, planning and evaluation for children's learning, understanding and inclusion of te ao Māori and self review required improvement. While some progress has been made in relation to these areas, further development is required.

St John's Hill Kindergarten is one of 15 kindergartens governed and managed by the Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the 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 general manager, who is responsible to the board.

Since April 2018, the association's programme of professional learning and development and curriculum implementation has been managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated. An association senior teacher and two senior teachers from Whānau Manaaki provide regular support for teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of 15 in the Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated.

The Review Findings

Learners are highly engaged in a curriculum that promotes their independence, confidence and enthusiasm for learning. The development of relationships with parents and whānau contributes to their sense of belonging. Families stay and contribute to their child's learning. Children make choices about play and set challenges for themselves as active explorers.

Children initiate conversations and interactions with their peers and adults. They develop cooperative relationships through this engagement. Teachers engage well with children to support their settling, play and sustained engagement in learning experiences. Care and respect for each other and the environment are modelled by teachers.

Teachers continue to refine their approach to assessment for learning. Individual goals to inform planning and extension of children's emerging interests are determined in response to parent aspirations. An on-line programme supports improved parent communication about children's plans, progress and achievements. Further evaluation of the impact of teaching strategies and curriculum decisions on children's learning should enrich outcomes for children.

Well-presented portfolios record details of children's participation at kindergarten and learning over time. These build a picture of the child's identity as a learner. Ensuring that assessment and planning, and therefore the curriculum, meaningfully acknowledges children's culture and language is a key next step.

A commitment to implementing culturally responsive practice is evident. The emphasis on pepeha (sharing identity with others) has strengthened relationships with families and whānau and understanding of success for Māori as Māori. Teachers are currently working to increase their knowledge and understanding of strategies that promote educational success for Māori children.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported. Teachers work closely with whānau, and a range of external agencies, to plan and implement programmes to support children's individual learning pathways.

Self review is ongoing and has led to some positive changes in the kindergarten. The kindergarten philosophy is currently being reviewed. Teachers are taking a considered approach to deliberately aligning the priorities for children's learning to the philosophy. A next step for teachers is to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of internal evaluation, to more consistently identify how well their teaching and kindergarten practices are promoting children's learning and well-being.

The governing board is future-focused and has taken appropriate steps to strengthen opportunities for teachers’ professional learning and development. An association-wide appraisal process is in place to support teacher practice in promoting positive learning outcomes for children. Consistency of its implementation across all kindergartens requires strengthening.

Key Next Steps

Association leaders and ERO agree that for ongoing and sustained improvement, staff at St John's Hill Kindergarten should continue to strengthen:

  • teachers' understanding and use of internal evaluation focused on outcomes for children

  • assessment, planning and evaluation processes

  • responsiveness to children's cultures and languages that promote success for Māori as Māori.

The senior management team of Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated should continue to strengthen the implementation of teacher appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St John's Hill 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

28 March 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



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

Girls 32, Boys 20

Ethnic composition

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

February 2019

Date of this report

28 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

June 2008

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.