Waimataitai Kindergarten - 28/10/2014

1 Evaluation of Waimataitai Kindergarten

How well placed is Waimataitai 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.


Waimataitai Kindergarten is located in Timaru and is part of the South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association (SCFKA). The kindergarten is licensed for 30 children and is open from 8:30am to 2:30pm.

The kindergarten operates under the vision “supporting children to be connected to our community- the people, places and things”. Some families’ connections with the kindergarten span several generations. The kindergarten benefits from the cultural diversity of the community. The teachers build connections with places and local history.

Waimataitai Kindergarten is part of a group of kindergartens and schools that meet to support children’s successful transition to school. The teaching team has been accepted into a professional learning programme to promote the success of Pacific children.

Since the 2011 ERO report the teachers have continued to develop the systems for planning, assessment and evaluation. They have made very good progress in building their bicultural practices.

This review was part of a cluster of eleven kindergarten reviews in the South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children have a very strong sense of belonging to the kindergarten. The kindergarten is the children’s turangawaewae (place to stand). The teachers deliberately work to establish traditions that mark membership of this kindergarten. These traditions focus on building connections for children with the local landscape and history. Parents make valuable contributions to children’s learning through sharing their skills and knowledge in the programme.

Children play and learn in a settled, calm atmosphere. They benefit from warm and positive relationships that teachers have with them and their wider families. Children know what behaviour is expected of them and teachers help them to be friends with each other. Well-established routines enable children to be independent.

Children have many rich experiences to increase their understanding of the world and their ways of exploring the world.

These include:

  • a strong focus on science concepts and the language of science

  • integration of early literacy learning

  • using ICT in meaningful ways for communication and research

  • learning through well-planned group times

  • projects that continue over time.

A feature of this kindergarten is the productive vegetable garden. Children play an active part in caring for the garden, harvesting the food and preparing it for sharing with whānau.

As part of the review, ERO investigated how well the programme supported children to develop early maths concepts. The programme supports children’s maths learning well through many everyday experiences such as making patterns, measuring, surveys with children and conversations with teachers.

Families’ cultures are valued and celebrated in the kindergarten to enrich the learning for all children. Teachers and families work together to celebrate important events such as Diwali, the Chinese New Year and Matariki. Children’s sense of belonging is enhanced by the attractive presentation of their art and displays that reflect Māori, Pacific and other cultures.

Teachers actively seek knowledge and understanding of Māori perspectives, and use this to provide rich learning opportunities for children. Teachers:

  • consult with local tangata whenua

  • make visible the importance of Māori values and perspectives

  • incorporate tikanga reo, waiata and te reo Māori within the programme

  • encourage Māori whānau to share their expertise, knowledge and whakapapa

  • are beginning to use Māori perspectives in analysis of children’s learning.

Key Next Steps

The teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps are to continue to develop teachers’ shared understanding of effective assessment, planning and evaluation. Currently teachers are trialling systems for assessment, planning and evaluation. They now need to consolidate and embed these systems to include:

  • consistently gathering parents’ aspirations for their children’s learning
  • ensuring that individual plans inform group planning
  • evaluating the effectiveness of strategies and experiences against the intended learning.

Following this they should evaluate how effectively their systems are working.

Teachers need to develop a shared understanding of effective self review. This needs to include the use of evaluative questions and indicators of best practice to measure against.


The SCFKA is governed by a board and managed by a newly-appointed general manager.

The board:

  • has a strong commitment to teaching and learning

  • seeks parents’ views about important matters in the association

  • has made changes to the roll size and opening hours of the kindergartens to be more responsive to community needs and maintain the financial viability of the association

  • is very responsive to important government initiatives such as ensuring educational success for all children.

Next steps for the board are to:

  • know more about its roles and responsibilities as the governing body

  • develop strategic planning

  • ensure that reports review how well the association’s goals are met, are more evaluative and are better used for future planning

  • refine appraisal systems to ensure that staff and teachers more formally receive critical feedback about their work.

The management team of senior teachers provide useful ongoing professional development and maintain a strong focus on teaching and learning to the kindergartens within the association. They have shared with the teachers at Waimataitai Kindergarten the expectations they have for teaching and learning and how well they think the team is meeting those expectations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

28 October 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children from 2 years to school age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 21

Girls 16

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Cook Island Māori








Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not Applicable


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

28 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2011


Education Review

November 2007


Education Review

November 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.