West End Kindergarten - 23/09/2016

1 Evaluation of West End Kindergarten

How well placed is West End 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.


West End Kindergarten is one of 25 early childhood services administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). All five teachers are qualified and registered. The kindergarten is licensed for 40 children. Of the 44 children enrolled 15 are Māori. Four children are receiving early intervention support through the Ministry of Education. All children enrolled are aged three years and over. The kindergarten population reflects its multicultural community.

The philosophy, which is founded on the framework of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, emphasises:

  • the importance of creating a learning community with positive and respectful relationships

  • the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa

  • a rich learning environment that empowers learners to embrace challenge and build resilience.

The October 2012 ERO report identified that:

  • teachers needed to improve their understanding of self review, particularly in relation to its use in sustaining and improving the quality of service provision

  • the performance appraisal process needed to be strengthened

  • further consideration should be given to reflecting on a wider range of teaching and learning elements as part of evaluation processes

  • teachers needed to continue to refine their understanding of school readiness and transition.

Progress is evident.

Since the previous ERO review there have been changes of staff. At the time of this review an acting head teacher led the team. In June 2016, the kindergarten moved to the 30 hour, five-day-per-week model with increased staffing as a result.

Day-to-day management of the association's affairs is the responsibility of the general manager. A governing board sets the overall strategic direction. The senior teacher provides professional leadership for teaching and learning. An operations manager supports services’ compliance, policy development and leadership. A management restructure has been undertaken since the previous ERO review.

This review is one of a cluster of eight reviews of Ruahine Kindergarten Association early learning services.

The Review Findings

The values articulated in the kindergarten's philosophy statement are reflected in practice. The wellconsidered learning environment provides challenges and enables children to explore and participate in sustained play. Children access and make choices about their engagement and enjoy the many opportunities available. Children are confident, independent and motivated learners. A busy and purposeful tone is maintained.

Meaningful tasks introduce children to literacy, numeracy and science concepts.

The garden, health and sustainability aspects of the programme provide children and their families with meaningful experiences linked to healthy living which support the development of good habits. The acknowledgement of Papatuanuku and sense of kaitiakitanga contribute to the kindergarten’s bicultural programme.

Teachers use a positive approach to managing children’s behaviour. Expectations are documented in the Kindergarten Treaty, which the children contributed to and respect.

Routines are now more child-led, enabling greater choice and supporting their social competence. Children are empowered. The calm tone of sessions is an outcome of recent changes. Children show respect for each other, teachers and the environment.

Teachers are responsive and affirming. They work together well to settle children and families and to support children’s engagement in learning experiences. They regularly engage children in learning conversations that extend their ideas and sustain their interest.

A new approach to planning for learning has recently been implemented to respond to children’s interests, strengths, emerging ideas, and needs. Teachers work collaboratively to plan how to support children’s learning. They should continue to work on identifying specific strategies for supporting learning and evaluate their impact to determine the next teaching steps.

Children’s progress is shared regularly with parents and whānau through the use of an on-line programme that includes photos, narratives and video. Teachers provide thoughtfully developed portfolios that highlight children’s participation in the programme and learning over time. A next step is to strengthen recognition of children’s cultures in portfolios.

Parents’ responses are sought. Teachers now need to strengthen this partnership in learning and plan purposefully to meet aspirations and to increase parent voice.

Teachers respond very well to children with diverse needs. Highly inclusive practice is evident. There is effective use of external agency resources and teaching. A commitment to a culturally-responsive approach to teaching and learning is apparent. Teachers recognise the importance of continuing to develop their understanding of Pacific cultures to appropriately provide for families of Pacific heritage.

Transition into kindergarten is individualised and suitably responsive to families’ and children’s needs, cultures and values. The kindergarten’s approach to supporting transition to primary school continues to evolve. Progress has been made in developing purposeful connections with some local primary schools. The next step is to share more information about individual children’s learning with new entrant teachers.

The curriculum acknowledges the importance and place of te ao Māori. Tikanga is respected and visible in the well-resourced programme and environment. The association provides good support through a cultural advisor and professional development. Teachers have identified their next step is to develop closer links with iwi and mana whenua.

Teachers are reflective and regularly meet to share ideas about teaching and learning. Evaluation is valued as a tool to promote improvement. The association is supporting teachers to use a more evaluative approach to review for improvement. The team has undertaken a range of reviews linked to association and curriculum priorities and in response to issues. These have resulted in improved practice and outcomes for children. Teachers should continue to build their shared understanding and use of internal evaluation to support decision-making that improves and sustains positive outcomes for children. The association agrees the continued development of the Wise Practice indicators should support understanding about the quality and effectiveness of practice and operation at kindergarten through to board level.

The kindergarten's annual plan outlines priorities for the year linked to the association's strategic goals of having high quality staff, coordinated services, effective partnerships and operation. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality indicators linked to outcomes for children are a useful addition to the annual plan. These should be further defined to enable more effective monitoring of progress.

The association provides effective governance and management support for this service. This includes:

  • constructive and improvement-focused support from the senior teacher

  • suitable quality assurance processes and guidelines, linked to compliance with regulations and association expectations

  • a variety of operational and administrative support

  • effective and targeted support for teacher and leadership development through appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree that teachers should be supported to continue to strengthen the team's approach to internal evaluation and planning for learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

23 September 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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 29, Girls 27

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

23 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

May 2009

Education Review

April 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.