Sylvia Park Kindergarten - 29/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Sylvia Park Kindergarten

How well placed is Sylvia Park 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.


Sylvia Park Kindergarten was previously known as Mt Wellington Kindergarten. It is licensed for a maximum of 40 children over two years of age. Four qualified teachers provide education and care for local children from diverse cultural backgrounds. It operates as a Kindergarten Day Model, which enables children to attend sessions similar to school hours.

The kindergarten philosophy focuses on innovative, reflective teaching practice that supports children’s inquiring minds. Teachers and children are seen as learners together. Respect is the underpinning value to building relationships with children, families and the community.

The kindergarten has a positive reporting history. The 2012 ERO report noted the kindergarten’s inclusive relationships, meaningful bicultural practice, and how well children were supported to create, explore, and extend their learning experiences. These features have been maintained. Teachers have responded positively to the 2012 report’s recommendations that included teachers further developing self review, planning and assessment processes.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association, which provides leadership, a management framework, support personnel and a programme of professional development for teachers. In 2015, after extensive review and consultation, the association launched a new 10 year strategic plan. The association’s approach to rolling out a substantial change in its organisational structure has been carefully considered.

New association roles have been established to provide more targeted support for kindergartens and professional development for head teachers in their leadership roles. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) is being implemented to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement in kindergartens.

This review was part of a cluster of five kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are engaged and busy. The environment is well resourced and invites children to play independently or in groups. Relaxed routines allow children to sustain their play for long periods of time. Children learn to be compassionate, caring for people, centre animals and the environment. Teachers have a strong belief that children are capable learners. They support children to collaborate, to take leadership roles, and to share their learning at group times.

The diverse cultures of the families attending are evident, respected and promoted in the environment and in teachers’ practice. Teachers use a range of teaching strategies sensitive to the languages, cultures and identities of all children. Te ao Māori perspectives are evident in the curriculum and bi-cultural practices continue to evolve. Children are learning to be aware of other children’s cultures.

Parents who spoke with ERO expressed strong satisfaction with the care and education provided for their children. They appreciate the genuine partnerships they have with the teaching team. Parents’ aspirations for their children’s learning are highly visible through effective use of an on-line resource that supports programme planning, and highlights links between children’s learning stories.

Teachers have in-depth knowledge of children as learners. Ongoing observations build a picture of what children know, understand, feel, and are interested in. Meaningful assessment processes continue to evolve through self review.

The teachers’ philosophy statement is evident in practice. Professional development supports teachers to focus children on the language of learning. Children are learning to name and understand the dispositions that support their learning. This knowledge will help them in their transitions to school.

All teachers are involved in leadership roles that have relevance to quality teaching. They engage in discussion and research to guide improvements to teaching practice. Effective self review involves teachers’ high level investigations resulting in positive outcomes for children.

The association provides timely, in depth support for the head teacher and the team. Its strategic plan provides a stepping stone for the kindergarten to build on to meet the needs of its local community. Sylvia Park Kindergarten’s newly written strategic plan will form the foundation of an annual plan and drive ongoing review.

The association has a strong commitment to biculturalism and in embracing diversity. Resources and personnel have been targeted to ensure that the specific needs of children and their families are met.

Key Next Steps

ERO supports the teaching team’s identified next steps of continuing to refine assessment, programme planning and evaluation processes, with whānau input.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 January 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


Mt Wellington, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 33 Boys 25

Ethnic composition







Cook Island Māori












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

November 2015

Date of this report

29 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2012


Education Review

December 2009


Education Review

December 2006

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.