Taitoko Kindergarten - 22/11/2019

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

Taitoko Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Taitoko Kindergarten provides all-day education and care for up to 49 children, including nine aged under two years. It is located next to Taitoko School. More than half of the children on the roll identify as Māori. There are also a number of Pacific families enrolled.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises bicultural perspectives and working in trusting, respectful partnerships with whānau and community. The service is a member of the Horowhenua Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

Since the June 2015 ERO report, there have been a number of staff changes, including in leadership. All teachers are fully qualified. There has been some redevelopment of the outdoor area.

The kindergarten is governed and managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Kindergarten Association (the association). The chief executive and a board of trustees are responsible for the governance. A team of senior teachers oversee and support the professional practice of the teaching team. The association governs 102 kindergartens which includes three Pacific kindergartens and a Pacific home-based service with two networks.

The previous ERO report identified self-review practice as an area requiring further development. Progress is evident.

Progress has been made by the association to improve the quality and monitoring of processes to support individual kindergartens and regular implementation of a robust appraisal system.

This review was one of four in the He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Kindergarten Association in Levin.

The Review Findings

Wellbeing for children and their families is strongly prioritised. Leaders, teachers and the association actively remove barriers to children’s participation. Staff purposefully build relational trust with families and draw on a wide range of well-established community connections. A sense of belonging and whānau is deliberately sustained, for the benefit of tamariki. Te ao Māori and Pacific cultures are celebrated throughout the curriculum and kindergarten environment.

Children enjoy warm, fun interactions with teachers who know them well. They explore at their own pace and are supported to make meaningful choices about their day and play. Teachers are responsive to their interests, discoveries and needs. Independence and self-regulation skills are deliberately scaffolded.

An effective partnership with the local school, including reciprocal visits, promotes children’s familiarity with the school context as well as furthering a sense of community.

Children with diverse learning needs are supported in liaison with parents and a wide range of expertise from the association, community organisations and external agencies.

Teachers value the learning opportunities inherent in the whānau-based, mixed-age model. They nurture relationships between older and younger children. Infants and toddlers are respected as capable, curious learners. Teachers are attentive to their non-verbal communication and cues. Unhurried care moments are aligned with home routines and responsive to children’s preferences.

Leaders acknowledge that assessment, planning and evaluation practices are not sufficient. A priority is for senior leaders to work closely with teachers to develop their practice. This process should be better aligned with association guiding documents, in order to meet the expectations of the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki. Improved documentation should clearly capture how children's progress has been supported by deliberate, individualised teaching strategies that add challenge and complexity to play. Particular attention should be given to ensuring that all children with diverse learning needs benefit from consistent, outcomes-focused planning and assessment documentation.

Internal evaluation contributes to improvements. Leaders are motivated to build understanding and practice in this area. A stronger focus on measuring positive outcomes for children's learning and wellbeing would enhance practice.

Leaders are focused on exploring and implementing strategies that:

  • build shared understandings and consistent practices among the teaching team

  • streamline systems and processes to more effectively respond to the strengths and needs of the kindergarten community.

Ongoing, increased monitoring and oversight of the consistent enactment of association guiding documents is an agreed next step.

Professional discussions and learning are embedded in the kindergarten culture. Teachers are reflective, collaborative and improvement-oriented. An effective distributed leadership model is in place; teachers are confident to take on additional responsibilities. A commitment to promoting positive outcomes for children, whānau and community is clearly evident.

A well-considered appraisal process has recently been enhanced to grow and develop teacher practice. Teachers are expected to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching. Purposeful appraisal goals focus on improving aspects of leadership and practice to support children’s learning and wellbeing.

The senior teaching team are reflective and highly improvement focused. They successfully foster a collective sense of responsibility to implement the vision, values and mission of the association. Systems and processes have been well developed to guide teachers' capability and positively impact on children’s learning.

Senior leaders work effectively together, with a shared commitment to meeting strategic goals and objectives for the benefit of children, whānau and community. Well-considered resource allocation supports and enhances children’s learning and wellbeing.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for leaders and teachers are to:

  • improve assessment, planning and evaluation to align with association guiding documents

  • consistently implement and document individual planning processes for children with diverse learning needs

  • continue to streamline and monitor systems and processes, to ensure consistent alignment with association expectations

  • strengthen evaluative practice.

ERO and senior leaders agree that the association's next step is to:

  • continue to follow the strategic direction set through Tūmanako, Te Tiriti o Waitangi based Strategic Priority Framework.

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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

22 November 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

49 children, including up to 9 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 24, Female 13

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

22 November 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

May 2012

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.