Twizel Free Kindergarten - 29/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Twizel Free Kindergarten

How well placed is Twizel 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.


Twizel Kindergarten provides education and care for up to 35 children aged two to five years. Since the last ERO review, the roll has grown and there are increased numbers of two year olds. A third teacher has been appointed to work some days in response to roll growth. A new head teacher has also been appointed.

The kindergarten is one of eleven within the South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association (SCFKA). Many families travel significant distances to attend the kindergarten. Some children attend for only one or two days a week.

The teaching team, with extensive support of the SCFKA, has made significant improvements in the quality of education and care for children since the last ERO report in October 2014.

The Review Findings

The new, very experienced head teacher has built on the progress already made on the recommendations from the previous ERO report. She has effectively led the team to evaluate and improve all aspects of the curriculum and teaching and learning. She has built shared leadership between herself, teachers, the committee and children.

The teachers, in consultation with parents, have redeveloped the philosophy to better reflect their key values and beliefs. There is a greater focus on learning evident in the kindergarten. However, the philosophy could more clearly state the desired outcomes for children's learning.

Teachers plan a rich curriculum based on the principles and strands of Te Whāriki (the early childhood curriculum). They have developed a culture that values parents' and children's strengths and makes good use of the knowledge they bring.

Children benefit from a rich and interesting programme that reflects the local environment and their lives. This includes:

  • sustainability and the living world

  • early mathematics and literacy

  • growing children's thinking skills, including creativity, problem solving, curiosity and inquiry

  • promoting children's physical development.

Children and their families benefit from the positive relationships they have with the teachers. Teachers value children's diverse language and cultural backgrounds. This is evident in wall displays, greetings and children's profile books. Teachers know the children and their families well. Teachers demonstrate in practice authentic partnerships with families. This is evident in the way they talk with families about their children and seek their aspirations for their children's learning and development. Teachers have genuine conversations with children and help children learn the skills for playing well together. They ensure children have choices in how they use the learning environment.

Other aspects of the programme that support children's learning include:

  • the interesting and enticing environments

  • supportive transitions into the kindergarten and to school

  • the wide range of resources available.

Teachers have developed ways of meaningfully integrating Māori perspectives into the programme and practices. Examples are teaching children to care for the environment and encouraging concepts such as tuakana/teina (older children caring for younger children).

There are useful systems supporting ongoing assessment, planning and evaluation for groups and individuals. Teachers acknowledge they are continuing to develop and improve these.

Teachers use self review to make improvements to programmes and practices. To further develop self-review practices teachers need to:

  • ensure the focus of the review is guided by an evaluative question

  • refine the indicators that guide the review to ensure they match the focus

  • consistently use the indicators throughout the process.

The SCFKA has been very supportive of the kindergarten and has taken a strategic and well-planned approach to making the improvements. There are comprehensive records of this process. It is timely to evaluate the need for the quantity of documentation that surrounds decision making and improvements.

The SCFKA ensures effective day-to-day management of the kindergarten.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps to ensure the sustainability of practices within the kindergarten are for teachers to:

  • strengthen the philosophy

  • continue to refine aspects of planning, assessment and evaluation

  • explore ways to make how teachers plan with and alongside children and their families more evident in documentation

  • further develop self-review practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

29 June 2016

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

35 children from 2 to 5 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 18

Girls: 15

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

May 2016

Date of this report

29 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2014

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

October 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.