Tikipunga Free Kindergarten - 14/09/2015

1. Evaluation of Tikipunga Free Kindergarten

How well placed is Tikipunga Free 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.


Tikipunga Free Kindergarten in Whangarei provides four and six hour sessions for 40 children between two and five years of age. Approximately 65 percent of the children enrolled have Māori heritage. The kindergarten’s philosophy has a strong emphasis on building respectful relationships and supporting learning in an environment that values New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. The programme reflects Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The team of four qualified teachers has worked to increase children’s attendance and promote the kindergarten in the community. All food for children is provided through government equity funding and families pay no fees. These approaches have resulted in increased participation and the kindergarten now has a waiting list.

Positive aspects identified in ERO’s 2012 report have been maintained. There are positive relationships with families, respectful interactions and a well resourced learning environment. Teachers have worked to strengthen self review and improve programme planning and assessment.

The kindergarten operates as part of the Northland Kindergarten Association. The Association provides governance, leadership and policy frameworks to meet operational management expectations. Association personnel assist teachers to maintain good standards of health, safety and to improve the quality of educational programmes. The Associations’ Pūmanawatanga Plan reflects a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and support for the development of bicultural practices across the organisation.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 kindergarten reviews in the Northland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are warmly welcomed and settle quickly into the kindergarten. Families are comfortable to stay and spend time in the programme with their children. Two year old children seek support from teachers and are encouraged to make choices for themselves. Older children communicate well with teachers and other children. They develop friendships and enjoy social play in small groups. There are many opportunities for children to re-visit their previous learning experiences through attractive wall displays.

Teachers listen to children and respond to their ideas. They use consistent approaches to support children’s developing social skills. Teachers model ways to use equipment and encourage children’s participation in activities. Teachers use basic te reo Māori in their conversations and during group times. Support from a local kuia is helping teachers to gain more confidence in this aspect of their teaching. Teachers plan to strengthen the ways that they promote success for a growing number of Pacific children attending the kindergarten. They could also consider ways that their teaching practices could further promote children’s independence, oral language and engagement in play.

Children’s learning records clearly show how teachers respond to families’ goals for their children’s learning at kindergarten. Teachers identify the learning that happens in children's play. This individual assessment of learning shows the value placed on positive, caring relationships at the kindergarten. Teachers could strengthen how they evaluate and report to the community about children’s group learning.

Teachers know each other well and have built positive and valued relationships with the community over a long period. The kindergarten’s long-term and annual goals support ongoing improvement. Teachers participate in professional learning and development and make carefully considered changes to the programme. It is now timely for them to use teacher appraisal systems more effectively as a tool to challenge and strengthen their teaching practices.

The Northland Kindergarten Association provides effective governance for kindergartens. Its long-term direction focuses on making decisions to improve learning outcomes for children. Positive strategies include:

  • good support and guidance by Association personnel to improve the quality of kindergarten programmes and teaching practice; in particular the development of bicultural practices and integration of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) into programmes in meaningful ways for children
  • effective teacher appraisal and professional learning and development that contributes to improved teacher skills, knowledge and practice, especially in supporting children’s social competence, and strengthening the quality of assessment documentation
  • significant investment in property and environment upgrades to promote children’s exploration and investigation
  • a focus on distributed leadership practices amongst kindergarten teaching teams to utilise teacher’s individual and collective strengths.

Association leaders are considering ways to enhance teacher appraisal processes and systems for self review. ERO recommends that the Association strengthens systems to ensure that all health and safety requirements are being implemented.

Key Next Steps

To build on existing good practices teachers agree that they could:

  • review how well teaching practices reflect the kindergarten’s philosophy
  • work more closely with local schools to identify how well children are supported to transition to school
  • strengthen the evaluative nature of self review by improving the quality of evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

14 September 2015

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service


Tikipunga, Whangarei

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 26

Girls 23

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



South African






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

July 2015

Date of this report

14 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

June 2012


Education Review

February 2009


Education Review

February 2006

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.