Te Kowhai Kindergarten - 16/02/2018

1 Evaluation of Te Kowhai Kindergarten

How well placed is Te Kowhai 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 Kowhai Kindergarten is located in the rural settlement of Te Kowhai, 10 kilometres North West of Hamilton. It is one of 29 kindergartens located in the Waikato region and is licenced for 40 children from two years to school age. The kindergarten offers full-day education and care and flexible attendance hours to meet the needs of families. All teachers are qualified and registered teachers. The organisation provide 20 hours for all children.

The kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA), which is a charitable trust, and does not operate for profit. The strategic direction of the association is guided by the overarching statement, ‘Every child reaching their full potential’. The WKA has a commitment to providing quality, inclusive services that effectively meet the diverse educational needs of all children attending.

All kindergartens in WKA are involved in sustainable programmes promoting the care of people and environment, such as Enviroschools, Sport Waikato Under 5 Energise and a ‘Cool for School’ Transition programme. A kaumātua from Tainui provides advice, guidance and support to the organisation. The kindergarten's education, operational and administrative responsibilities are well supported by Association specialist personnel.

Since the 2015 ERO review there has been some staff changes and a new head teacher appointed. Teachers are currently reviewing the kindergarten philosophy to develop a shared understanding of the team values for learning. Teachers have responded well to the 2015 ERO findings, they have strengthened assessment practices. They have also developed relationships with the local iwi and Kōhanga Reo. In addition there has been an increase in the use of te reo and tikanga Māori throughout the daily programme. The kindergarten belongs to Hamilton North West He Waka Eke Noa Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (COL), consisting of local schools and early childhood services.

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

The Review Findings

Te Kowhai Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children's learning. Teachers have established close, trusting and reciprocal relationships with children and their families. Children are well supported to develop a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Teachers use the community as an integral part of learning. Strong links to the local community continues to be a feature of the service. The well-prepared kindergarten environment stimulates children's curiosity and encourages them to investigate and explore. Access to high quality resources support children to revisit and build on prior learning. Visits to other places in the community broaden children's learning experiences. Children enjoy learning in meaningful contexts.

Children experience an inclusive environment. They enjoy a rich curriculum that caters for their diverse interests, abilities and needs. Literacy, mathematics and other curriculum areas are well supported. Play spaces are well designed and children have ready access to high quality equipment and resources. Children are empowered to take responsibility for their learning and support others. Tuakana/teina relationships support leadership opportunities where children share their strengths and knowledge with their peers. This strongly supports the learning of others.

Māori children's language, culture and identity are affirmed by teachers' frequent use of te reo Māori, inclusion of kaitiakitanga and incorporation of Māori world views. This is reinforced through sustainable practices where children learn to care for the environment. Participation in noho marae and inclusion in the local school kapa haka performances support all children to experience success in learning.

Teachers use a wide range of intentional teaching strategies. They notice children's interests and skilfully respond to teachable moments. During conversations and through their play, children are encouraged to problem solve, think critically and use their imagination. Children's communication skills and social competencies are encouraged and are naturally included throughout teaching and learning interactions. Children are developing as capable and confident learners.

Teachers understand and value the importance of working in partnership with families. Assessment portfolios are regularly shared with parents and available online. Parents' aspirations for their child's learning is discussed and shared with teachers. These aspirations are used by teachers to support children's transitions into the kindergarten. Children's transitions to school are also well supported. Regular visits to the local school supports familiarity with the school environment. Learning summaries are shared with the school, which highlight children's life-long dispositions and support the transition process.

Effective assessment, planning and evaluation processes are evident in the kindergarten. Individual portfolios provide a valuable record of children's learning while at the kindergarten. Teachers have recently introduced a new individual planning system for all children. This new system involves parents, and should further support children's learning pathways, which prepare children for future learning. The system should also further assist teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their own practice.

Children whose learning requires additional support experience success in learning. Teachers contribute to individual education plans for these children working collaboratively with parents and other community specialists.

Kindergarten leadership is effective. Internal evaluation processes for regular and planned review are well established. Leaders contribute to ongoing development and improvement of teacher practice, the programme, and promote positive outcomes for children. As part of the philosophy development the team has joined the Hamilton North West Community of Learners|Kāhui Ako, He Waka eke Noa (CoL). This collaborative journey alongside other ECE and primary teachers promotes a shared understanding of educational practices that support smooth transitions on to school.

The WKA provides sound, comprehensive systems, policies and procedures to guide kindergarten practice. The association teachers have access to ongoing and targeted professional development to support improved practices and lead to improved outcomes for children. Education Support Managers work closely with the head teacher and provide well-informed professional leadership to support kindergarten operations. Effective governance by WKA is contributing to high-quality, inclusive and equitable services for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO, together with the teaching team, have agreed the next steps for ongoing development is for teachers to develop a shared philosophy of learning. This should include research and inquiry into best practice and also comprise of collaborative practices that support successful transition to school.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

16 February 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

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 33 Girls 25

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

November 2017

Date of this report

16 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

November 2009

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.