Thomas Street Kindergarten - 07/09/2018

1 Evaluation of Thomas Street Kindergarten

How well placed is Thomas Street 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.


Thomas Street Kindergarten is one of five kindergartens governed and managed by the Ashburton Kindergarten Association (AKA) in Ashburton. It provides education and care for up to 40 children from two years old to school age, within a culturally diverse community.

The head teacher and two teachers are responsible for the daily operations and teaching programme in the kindergarten. Professional practice is supported by a contracted education specialist. All teachers are registered and certificated.

Teachers have made progress with the areas for development identified in the May ERO 2014 report. This includes the strengthening of assessment, planning and evaluation practices so that children's individual identities, views and the ongoing collaboration between parents/whānau and teachers are more evident in the documentation.

This review was part of a cluster of five kindergartens reviewed in the AKA. The association is a member of the Hakatere Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

The Review Findings

The kindergarten's philosophy and vision is based on:

  • a positive image of the child and children leading their learning

  • the encouragement of curiosity and confidence to develop and extend the interests of children

  • children gaining knowledge of themselves and others

  • a holistic approach to learning that supports collaborative relationships.

Children experience warm, responsive and respectful interactions with each other and their teachers. Teachers provide resources and learning environments that encourage exploration and are meaningful and enjoyable for children. Links between the child's home and the kindergarten support children's learning goals and identified priorities for learning and development. Children have choice in their learning and confidently choose from a wide range of activities in the thoughtfully prepared, well-resourced indoor and outside areas. Daily care routines are well managed and understood by children.

The curriculum and teaching practices are guided by the kindergarten's valued learning priorities of manaakitanga, rangatiratanga, mana aoturoa and mana reo. Teachers carefully plan experiences, and adapt the learning environment to support children's learning and progress.

Teachers are attuned to the individual needs, strengths and interests of all children, and plan purposefully to respond and extend their learning. Teachers plan programmes that link well to children's lives and build on their interests. The teaching team has made good use of internal evaluation processes to help them improve teaching practices.

Teachers are reflective practitioners who critique their teaching practices and evaluate the impact of these on outcomes for children. Recent internal evaluation has had a focus on equitable outcomes for children, through participation in a range of learning experiences and opportunities.

Teachers have given deliberate consideration to the needs of younger children in the programme and have adapted the programme and environment appropriately. There have been carefully considered transitions into the kindergarten setting that have supported a sense of belonging and wellbeing for young children.

Aspects of the kindergarten's curriculum priorities are visible in teaching and learning opportunities for children. The Māori tikanga practice of tuakana/teina is evident when teachers support older children to learn to include and care for younger children in their play. Teachers respect and affirm children's cultural identities, growing the ways they incorporate these into programmes, practices and the environment.

Teachers have developed authentic and responsive partnerships with parents/whānau/aiga to support children's sense of belonging and wellbeing. Teachers work closely with parents and external agencies/specialists to develop and monitor responsive plans for children with additional learning needs. The kindergarten has established positive links with nearby local schools which has enabled children and families to experience a well-managed transition process that supports children's successful entry into school.

The head teacher promotes shared understandings of the service's philosophy and effective teaching practices. Priority is given to equitable learning outcomes for all children. Effective leadership has contributed to a culture of effective teaching and relational trust. Teachers work collaboratively and benefit from targeted professional learning opportunities. This has strengthened leadership capacity and teacher capability.

The Ashburton Kindergarten Association's vision and strategic goals are well known and reflected in individual kindergarten annual plans. The association has a sound policy and procedure framework in place to provide guidance for kindergarten operations and the monitoring of health and safety.

The quality of teaching and learning in each kindergarten is regularly evaluated by the contracted education specialists. These evaluations are detailed and inform association planning and resourcing. Leaders and teachers have access to relevant professional development and leadership support. The association actively supports equity of outcomes for children by funding additional teaching resource and a speech-language therapist to support work with children with additional needs. Some progress has been made in addressing the areas for development from ERO's 2014 review, including supporting a number of leaders and teachers to participate in professional learning about culturally responsive teaching practice. This continues to be an area of focus for the association, given the growing diversity of kindergarten rolls.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for teachers, with the support of the Education Support Manager (ESM), are to continue to:

  • extend routine curriculum evaluation to include outcomes for priority learners (including children under three years old) and how well Māori tikanga and Pacific values are implemented
  • continue to build the collaboration with children and parents/whānau/aiga to identify ways to extend children's learning
  • continue to build teachers' capability to support second language acquisition.

The association board, manager and ERO agree that aspects of governance can be improved by:

  • strengthening planning for strategic and annual goals, including identifying relevant measures for knowing about the implementation and impact of goals
  • better aligning reporting from kindergartens and Kidsfirst education specialists with annual goals, in order to know about the implementation and impact of goals
  • improving monitoring of planning for, and outcomes for, priority learners across the association
  • building the internal evaluation capability of head teachers and teachers, particularly around the collection and analysis of evidence of practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

7 September 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 aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 19

Girls: 14

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


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

June 2018

Date of this report

7 September 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review:

May 2014

Education Review:

March 2011

Education Review:

August 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.