Te Aroha Kindergarten - 10/01/2018

1 Evaluation of Te Aroha Kindergarten

How well placed is Te Aroha 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.


Te Aroha Kindergarten, situated in the town of Te Aroha, provides education and care from 8.30am to 2.30pm for children from two years to school age. Since the last ERO review in 2014 there has been a restructure of the operating hours. There are now five full-time, qualified teachers including an internally appointed head teacher. The kindergarten is licensed for 50 children. At the time of this ERO review the roll of 64 included 11 children identified of Māori descent.

The kindergarten's philosophy has been recently reviewed. It is based on the concept of arohanui, promoting love and kindness in an uninterrupted, free play, strengths and interest-based programme. Teachers embrace the uniqueness of the individual child and aim to build strong relationships with children and whānau.

Te Aroha Kindergarten has a positive reporting history with ERO. Since the last ERO review teachers have strengthened their approach to implementing a bicultural curriculum and informing parents on how children learn through play.

The kindergarten is governed by Te Aroha Kindergarten Association (TAKA) Board of Trustees. It is one of three TAKA early childhood services within the wider Te Aroha community. The association provides systems and frameworks for daily operations. An experienced manager is responsible for the three centres and a senior teacher from within the association has been appointed to provide educational leadership.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy highly responsive, warm relationships. There are many opportunities for parents to engage as partners in their children's learning. Transitions into and out of the kindergarten are well supported. Children’s talk is encouraged, accepted and respected. Teachers work alongside external agencies to implement appropriate intervention programmes to support children with additional learning needs. Leaders and teachers ensure their practices reflect the rights of all to a high quality, inclusive early childhood education. Children develop a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing in a calm and settled environment.

Te reo and tikanga Māori are highly visible within the kindergarten. Children actively participate in waiata, kapa haka and learn about local areas of significance. A karakia has been written for the kindergarten's use. Teachers have sought external professional development and are committed to their ongoing learning to support culturally responsive practice. Children's language, culture and identity is celebrated and affirmed.

Children enjoy participating in a highly engaging and responsive curriculum. The full intent of Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, is fully embedded in the programme. Particular strengths of the curriculum include:

  • the natural integration of literacy and mathematics

  • science, gardening, safe physical challenges and sensory play

  • strong links with local community including bush walks, literacy walks and visits to the local schools.

Strong assessment processes capture children's learning in individual portfolios and an online format. Whānau voice is reflected in narrative learning stories and summaries of whānau meetings, providing a holistic and meaningful record of progress. Children's individual strengths, interests and dispositions are assessed and planned for. Teachers have recently developed a culturally responsive assessment tool which will enable them to more consistently document continuity of learning. This now needs time to be embedded.

Knowledgeable and skilled teachers provide highly engaging and positive learning experiences for all children. Teachers value the importance of learning through play. Leaders and teachers have recently developed 'Indicators for Quality' to provide a framework for teaching expectations. They demonstrate collaborative partnerships, work well together and are open to new learning and sharing ideas. Leaders and teachers continue to promote positive outcomes for children.

The spacious environment is thoughtfully considered to provide many opportunities for children to take risks, explore and experience challenges. Rich wall displays make learning outcomes highly visible for parents. Children are well supported by teachers to become confident and competent learners.

Leadership, including the association's manager and senior teacher, are highly collaborative and inclusive. Emergent leadership among teachers is well supported. Through the performance management system and meaningful learning opportunities, teachers feel well supported to grow their professional practice.

Rigorous internal evaluation processes result in continuous improvement. Ongoing and systematic review across all levels of the kindergarten's operation contributes to positive learning outcomes for children. Leaders are committed to providing equity and excellence for all children.

The board of trustees provides highly-effective governance for the kindergarten. Trustees have engaged in ongoing training and have developed strong systems and processes that guide centre operations, including generous provision for leaders and teachers' professional development. The strategic plan could be strengthened by aligning it to teachers' inquiries and internal evaluation. The Te Aroha Kindergarten Association is providing a high quality, sustainable early childhood service within the community.

Key Next Step

Further consideration should be given to the aligning the teacher inquiries, appraisals and kindergarten annual plan to the TAKA strategic plan.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

10 January 2018

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

50 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 35

Girls 29

Ethnic composition

Other Asian


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

10 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2014

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

September 2007

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.