Thomas Street Kindergarten - 29/05/2014

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

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

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


Thomas Street Kindergarten is one of five kindergartens administered by the Ashburton Kindergarten Association. A manager oversees the association under the governance of a board. An education service manager provides advice and guidance to teachers on the curriculum and programme. The head teacher manages the day-to-day operation of the kindergarten. The kindergarten provides education and care for children from two years old until school age. The kindergarten serves a diverse community and has developed positive and respectful relationships with parents and whānau.

There have been staff changes since the 2011 ERO review, including very recent appointments of permanent staff. Two teachers job share.

The managers and teachers have addressed the areas for development outlined in the previous ERO report.

This review was part of a cluster of four reviews in the Ashburton Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy their learning and play through a well resourced programme. They have good opportunities to make choices about their own play activities and when to join the centre’s daily programme. Teachers are caring and nurturing and support children to learn social skills such as turn taking, cooperating with others and sharing resources. Children who do not have English as their first language form close friendships with one or two other children from their own or another cultural background.

Teachers encourage and foster children’s literacy skills. They appropriately include Māori perspectives in their planning. They respond to children’s cultural backgrounds by using their home languages in their interactions. Teachers provide extra resources and a wide range of learning experiences to stimulate and extend children’s thinking. They work together and have developed group planning that consistently supports children’s development of skills and attitudes for learning.

Parents and whānau are well informed about the centre’s programme and their child’s involvement in it. They have good opportunities to provide further information about their aspirations and are regularly invited to contribute to the programme.

The education service manager is providing helpful guidance and advice to the teaching team. The use of indicators of good practice is helping teachers to reflect more regularly on their teaching and its impact on children. Teachers effectively use self review to make improvements to their practice and to the centre’s programme. Parents’ and children’s ideas also contribute to the centre’s self-review.

The kindergarten association has a comprehensive policy and procedure framework in place to provide good guidance for kindergarten operations and the monitoring of health and safety. Association goals are well known by all staff. These appropriately include a goal focused on promoting leadership.

Since the 2011 ERO report, the association has improved the quality of the information the manager receives about the effectiveness of each kindergarten’s programme. The association initiative of employing a speech language therapist to work with identified children is resulting in improved learning outcomes for some children and providing helpful additional support for families and teachers. Another useful initiative to support children’s participation in early childhood education is the association’s 'no fees’ policy.

Key Next Steps

The next steps build on the many effective practices already in place. These include:

  • strengthening assessment and planning so that children’s individual identities, views and the ongoing collaboration between parents and teachers are more evident in the documents

  • continuing the focus on using a wider range of practices that successfully extend children’s learning.

The new board has identified that board members require further training to familiarise themselves with their roles and responsibilities, and further develop the following areas of governance:

  • association strategic planning

  • the board’s role in supporting kindergartens to respond to priority learners within their communities, such as the growing populations of children and families from Māori and Pacific backgrounds and children who do not have English as their first language.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

29 May 2014

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


Ashburton, Mid Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged two years and over

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 22

Girls 22

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Other Ethnicities





Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

29 May 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

March 2011


Education Review

August 2007


Education Review

September 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.