Waitara Central Kindergarten - 27/04/2017

1 Evaluation of Waitara Central Kindergarten

How well placed is Waitara Central 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.


Waitara Central Kindergarten provides education and care for children from two to five years of age. The kindergarten is open for six hours daily, five days a week and is licenced for up to 34 children. Within these hours, sessional care and education is also provided. Of the roll of 41 children, 13 identify as Māori.

The teaching team is fully qualified and the programme is further assisted by support staff.

The kindergarten is one of 24 governed by the newly established Kindergarten Taranaki (the association), formerly North and South Taranaki Kindergarten Associations. A Chief Executive was appointed to lead the association in 2014.

Two professional leaders (PLs) are employed by the association to provide professional support and guidance to teachers. Since the 2016 reviews a programme manager and a human resource generalist have been appointed.

ERO's 2013 report identified areas requiring further development. These included teachers continuing to build their evaluative capacity and further developing strategies to provide opportunities for Māori children to enjoy success as Maori. In addition, the association was asked to strengthen appraisal. Progress in this area is ongoing.

This review was part of a cluster of eight in the Taranaki Kindergarten Association. 

The Review Findings

Children actively engage in an environment where their wellbeing, independence, creativity and interests are promoted. The indoor and outdoor spaces have been thoughtfully designed to engage children in a range of interesting experiences.

Teachers work alongside children to support their emerging interests and extend their play. Sustainable practices and visual and dramatic arts are a strong feature of the programme. Teachers know families well and value these relationships as reflected in the current philosophy. There is a wide range of resources and artefacts to expose children to different cultures. Te reo Māori is evident in staff interactions with children and through the environment.

The philosophy is currently under review. As part of this process, greater consideration should be given to reflecting the diverse community and the kindergarten's commitment to bicultural practice.

Teachers regularly collaborate to plan for groups and individual children. Credit based, positive approaches that progress learning, support children to develop useful social skills and wellbeing are highly evident. Conversations with parents are shared with the team and the information is effectively incorporated into planning. Teaching strategies are clearly identified to support children's ongoing progress.

Assessment practices require strengthening. Further development is required for teachers to more consistently highlight:

  • how children's learning has progressed over time

  • their responses to learning in children's portfolios

  • children's culture, language and identity in documentation.

Teachers are highly attentive to the needs of children requiring additional support. External agencies are consulted and work in partnership with parents and the kindergarten.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is evident throughout the daily programme for all children as part of the bicultural curriculum. A newly established relationship with the local Marae supports children to deepen their knowledge of the dual heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Planned guidance from the association should support the ongoing focus on promoting educational success for Māori.

Teachers understand that culture is key to Pacific children's identity. Artefacts and resources show that teachers are responsive to seeking ways to maintain children's connections with their culture and that this is reflected in their practise and the environment.

A range of useful strategies support children and their families in their transition to school. A shared initiative with a local school has resulted in useful information sharing.

A self review framework guides improvements to practice, enhances learning opportunities for children and improvements to the environment. It is timely to shift to a process that is evaluative, to determine the impact of teaching practices on children's learning and development. The association should support teachers to better understand and implement this process. 

A useful appraisal process is in place to support teachers' ongoing improvement. Teachers are highly reflective and peer critique of practice occurs. The association has recently revised its appraisal procedure to include the use of formal observations of teacher practice. Once fully established, this should assist leaders to strengthen the process. Professional leaders should regularly monitor practice and evaluate how well appraisal is implemented in each kindergarten.

The board works collaboratively with its community to establish vision, values and strategic priorities. Establishing clearer measures of success should enable the board to measure progress and evaluate how well practices support the realisation of its goals and vision.

The board's commitment to biculturalism is reflected in initiatives to support teachers to promote te āo Māori in the curriculum and develop culturally appropriate practices. Senior leaders are developing initiatives to better determine the impact of curriculum delivery and teaching and learning in each kindergarten.

The association should establish clear expectations of the purpose and use of assessment, planning and evaluation in kindergartens. Professional leaders in partnership with teaching teams should then monitor the effective implementation of:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • review and internal evaluation.

In addition, the association should establish a system for the ongoing monitoring of legislative requirements, including those related to health and safety.

Key Next Steps

ERO and kindergarten teachers agree that the key next steps are to continue to strengthen:

  • assessment to clearly show children's learning progress

  • use of cultural information provided by families and make visible in planning and assessment

  • internal evaluation capability.

The association should:

  • strengthen the processes used to evaluate the progress of the strategic plan

  • provide effective guidance and monitoring of association expectations related to assessment, planning and evaluation, review and internal evaluation and health and safety practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

27 April 2017 

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

34 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 24, Boys 23

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




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

March 2017

Date of this report

27 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

December 2005

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.