Tuakau Kindergarten - 07/02/2018

1 Evaluation of Tuakau Kindergarten

How well placed is Tuakau 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.


Tuakau Kindergarten is adjacent to Tuakau Primary School and draws children from a large geographical area. It is licensed for 30 children over the age of two and offers six-hour sessions, similar to a school day. About a quarter of the children attending the kindergarten are Māori, and a small number of children have Pacific heritage.

The kindergarten team comprises an experienced head teacher and two other registered teachers. A fully qualified teacher aide and administrator support the teaching team.

The kindergarten's philosophy focuses on respectful relationships, whanaungatanga, and providing an environment inspired by the natural world. The kindergarten has achieved Enviroschool silver status and operates a Nature Discovery programme twice a week.

The 2014 ERO report recognised the kindergarten's sustainable, nurturing environment and the strong sense of ownership and belonging demonstrated by children. Teachers have made good progress in relation to the priorities identified in the 2014 ERO report. They are now using self review processes linked to teaching and learning, have strengthening links to the Māori community, and are extending children's understanding of environmental sustainability.

Tuakau Kindergarten is part of the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association and operates within the policies and management framework of this organisation. An education manager (EM) visits and provides leadership and curriculum support for teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of six kindergarten reviews in the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are confident and capable learners. They settle quickly and have a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing. Children lead the direction of their play and choose activities and play areas based on their interests and preferences. They are developing an understanding of kaupapa Māori concepts such as manaakitanga. Children are welcoming and enjoy talking with adults.

The outside area provides very well for physical challenge, encourages exploration and fosters children's curiosity.

The programme responds very effectively to the curiosities, strengths and abilities of all children. Core curriculum areas such as literacy and maths are highly visible and integrated throughout planning and programme design. Kaupapa Māori concepts and te reo Māori are highly evident. Well established partnerships with parents and whānau enable them to contribute as valued partners in their child's learning.

The Nature Discovery programme complements and enhances the kindergarten's commitment to environmental sustainability and its teaching and learning philosophy. Children spend a day in the bush, experience the natural environment, are involved in conservation, and take part in a number of outdoor adventure activities.

Teachers take time to genuinely listen to children. They promote a calm and relaxed environment. Interactions between teachers and children are sensitive and supportive of children's learning. Teachers encourage problem-solving and empower children to take responsibility for their own and others' wellbeing and for their environment. Teachers and children have fun as part of the learning process.

Teachers have a shared understanding of the philosophy and vision of the kindergarten and also share a commitment to professional learning. Emergent leadership among teachers is encouraged. The team leaders and teachers seek out parents' aspirations and work collaboratively and responsively to achieve them.

The Association continues to provide very good support for the kindergarten. Its systems and support personnel, ongoing review and monitoring contribute to efficient management. Long-term goals enable teachers to align their annual plan with the Association's strategic direction.

The Association is responsive to changing community needs. It supports teachers to meet the needs of younger children and to provide variable and often longer hours of operation. It is expected that teachers will use evidence based, reflective practices. Teachers appreciate the professional support and guidance of Association personnel. Leaders continue to adapt personnel systems to meet new legal requirements, including those of the Education Council.

The Association has a strong commitment to equity, bicultural practices, partnerships with whānau and community, and continuous improvement in educational outcomes for children. There is a focus on strategies to promote success for Pacific learners. Personnel and resources such as whānau workers and a Play Truck are targeted to meet the specific needs of children and communities.

Key Next Steps

The teachers' annual plan identifies appropriate goals for sustaining and enhancing current high quality practices. These include continuing to build on existing good links with the local community, bicultural practices and internal evaluation. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 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 


Tuakau, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children over the age of 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      24
Girls       23

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori
other European


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

7 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review


Education Review


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.