Taitoko Kindergarten - 05/06/2015

1. Evaluation of Taitoko Kindergarten

How well placed is Taitoko 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.


Taitoko Kindergarten is situated next to Taitoko School in southeast Levin. It is licensed for 49 children including nine under two years of age. Just over half identify as Māori. The remaining roll comprises of Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island, and New Zealand European/Pākehā learners.

Whanaungatanga, the kindergarten’s relationship-based approach, is at the heart of the whānau tangata mixed-aged setting. This philosophy emphasises the holistic wellbeing and learning of children, families, whānau, and aiga.

All teachers are qualified and registered at Taitoko Kindergarten. Most kaiako and kaimahi have been at the kindergarten for many years. An experienced kaiako has been in the role of senior head teacher for approximately 18 months.

Taitoko Kindergarten is one of 85 kindergartens and three home-based education and care networks governed and managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). This is a new kindergarten association created from joining the Rimutaka and Wellington Kindergarten Associations in 2014. The transition to the new association is expected to be a three-year process.

The board and managers provide governance for the organisation. Senior teachers have delegated kindergartens. Their role is to provide regular support and a range of professional learning and development opportunities for teachers.

At kindergarten level, areas of good performance identified in the May 2012 ERO report continue to be strengths of the kindergarten. Areas where the Wellington Kindergarten Association needed to strengthen its support for teachers were also identified at the time. Improvement continues to be needed in some of these areas that the association has plans to address. These feature as key next steps in this report. The alignment of individual kindergarten’s annual plans with the association’s strategic priorities has now been addressed.

This review was part of a cluster of 12 kindergarten reviews in the He Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens.

The Review Findings

The values and philosophy of Taitoko Kindergarten are strongly evident in the programme. Children respond positively to the view of kaiako that they are capable and competent learners. Infants and toddlers experience warm, nurturing, and respectful relationships. Interactions are unhurried and relaxed. Flexible routines enable kaiako to meet children’s preferences, interests and needs well.

The language, culture, and identity of tamariki are celebrated and promoted. ERO saw many examples of tuakana teina relationships where older children were helping younger children. Self-help skills and independence are encouraged.

In 2012, the association developed a framework to guide the implementation of its curriculum, Te Manawa. This document outlines criteria for curriculum delivery including expectations for assessment and planning for children’s learning. The curriculum provided for children at Taitoko Kindergarten is responsive and promotes positive outcomes for all learners.

Children with additional learning and teaching needs are well supported in the inclusive programme.

Kaiako 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 tamariki to think and problem solve.

Kaiako have shared responsibility for self review. They are making very good use of it to improve aspects of practice and promote positive outcomes for all learners. Self review is effectively used by teachers to:

  • build on teaching practices, to support care and education for children up to three years of age
  • extend the bicultural curriculum
  • assess and plan for children’s learning
  • support teachers to develop children’s social competencies.

The kindergarten shares a strong connection and relationship with the adjacent school. Kaiako support children and their families, whānau, aiga well as they move on to school. They work together to develop booklets that 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. Kaiako are enthusiastic about exploring further ways of enhancing culturally-responsive practices for Māori learners. ERO's evaluation affirms this direction.

Assessment and planning processes show children’s learning progress over time, and how teachers support and extend this learning in the programme. The head teacher provides useful guidance to assist teachers to further develop these processes.

A strong culture of reflection is evident in the collaborative team. This assists kaiako in making decisions and improvements to the programme. There are many ways leadership is encouraged and fostered in the kindergarten for children and kaiako. Staff are well supported to grow and develop their practice by centre leaders. The association has recently revised the appraisal model. This has the potential to build on the kindergarten’s own processes for teacher development.

The senior teacher provides termly written reports that outline agreed development priorities and progress in relation to the quality of teaching and learning. The association has recently implemented new reports that should more deliberately focus on outcomes for children, teacher and leader performance. ERO's evaluation affirms this development.

Key Next Steps

Kaiako, kaimahi, and kaiārahi are focused on sustaining and improving teaching and learning by continuing to build on and extend self-review processes.

The senior management team of He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua should continue to further improve processes for growing and developing the practice of teachers, head teachers and the senior teacher. This should include:

  • improvements to the quality and monitoring of processes to support individual kindergartens and regular implementation of a robust appraisal system

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

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

49 children, including up to 9 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 39, Boys 34

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Cook Island






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

February 2015

Date of this report

5 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

May 2012


Education Review

June 2008


Education Review

August 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.