Tawhiti Kindergarten - 14/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Tawhiti Kindergarten

How well placed is Tawhiti 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.


Tawhiti Kindergarten is situated in Hawera, Taranaki. It is one of 24 kindergartens administered by the newly established Kindergarten Taranaki, formerly North and South Taranaki Kindergarten Associations. The governing board is responsible for setting overall strategic direction and policy for the organisation. A chief executive has been appointed. Four professional leaders are employed to support learning and development of teachers. The present management structure is under review.

The kindergarten is licensed for 40 children and has a roll of 34. Mixed-age sessions operate from 8.30am to 2.30pm. All teachers are qualified and registered.

Key features of the kindergarten include a focus on relationships, physical environment and building of a learning community. Inclusive and respectful practices nurture partnerships with children and their families. Teachers and whānau contribute items to a sharing table for all to access.

Ongoing development of the natural outdoor environment continues to evolve. The principles of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ are promoted through ‘Education for Sustainability’.

The stable teaching team have worked deliberately to continue to improve the quality of teaching practices and centre operation.

This review was part of a cluster of eight kindergarten reviews in Kindergarten Taranaki.

The Review Findings

Children’s learning is well supported in an inclusive, spacious and vibrant environment. Natural materials and resources are provided and offer children challenge and encourage exploration and risk taking. The atmosphere is unhurried and purposeful. Morning tea and lunch are shared social times, when children and adults eat and talk together. Children are supported to take increased responsibility for the wellbeing of themselves, others and the environment.

Teachers are welcoming of parents and whānau. Relationships amongst children and with adults are caring and responsive. Children are independent learners who confidently approach others and share their ideas. They make choices about their learning and sustain their play. Teachers provide meaningful contexts for children to develop and learn about literacy, mathematics, and science and natural world understandings.

The bicultural curriculum continues to strengthen. Teachers use Māori symbols and artefacts to promote learning about Aotearoa New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Teachers and leaders acknowledge that they need to further grow their knowledge and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

The centre has developed an effective process that supports planning and assessment. Teachers notice and recognise children’s interests, strengths and needs. They plan collaboratively to provide opportunities and experiences for children’s further learning. Children’s continuity of learning and progress over time is very evident in portfolios. Parents and children contribute to these through sharing links between learning at kindergarten and home.

Strong partnerships with local schools support successful transitions for children and their families. A local network of early childhood and new entrant teachers helps them to develop shared understandings of continuity of learning and links between principles and concepts expressed in Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and The New Zealand Curriculum.

A useful process guides appraisal and performance management. Development goals are aligned to centre priorities and the Registered Teacher Criteria. Teachers work collaboratively to support each other to work towards and achieve their goals

Self review effectively guides improvement of practice, enhances learning opportunities for children and informs environmental developments. A comprehensive strategic plan clearly identifies the centre’s goals and priorities for improvement. Review of this plan has noted ongoing progress in relation to expected outcomes.

Key Next Steps

  • The head teacher has identified a next step is to seek ongoing aspirations from parents about their children’s learning. This should further strengthen partnerships to promote positive learning outcomes for children.
  • Strengthen self review by including a stronger evaluative focus on how change impacts on children’s learning and wellbeing.

Kindergarten Taranaki Key Next Steps

Kindergarten Taranaki is a new entity established in March 2014. Collaboratively developed strategies and values guide future direction. An internal review of capacity and capability of non-teaching roles has been completed. Further development of processes and practices is required.

ERO, the chief executive and professional leaders agree that priorities for improvement are:

  • developing the annual plan
  • strengthening systems and processes for performance management
  • consistent implementation of appraisal
  • reviewing and clarifying professional leaders’ role in building teachers’ capability.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tawhiti 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 Tawhiti Kindergarten will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 May 2015

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

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 21, Boys 13

Ethnic composition





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

March 2015

Date of this report

14 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2012


Education Review

September 2008


Education Review

August 2004

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.