Westown Kindergarten - 02/08/2013

1 Evaluation of Westown Kindergarten

How well placed is Westown 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.


Westown Kindergarten is one of sixteen kindergartens managed by the North Taranaki Kindergarten Association (the association) and is situated in suburban New Plymouth. The association governing board is responsible for setting overall strategic and policy direction for the organisation. Senior teachers are employed by the association to support teaching and learning.

Since the July 2010 ERO report, teachers have worked to develop sound and meaningful relationships with whānau to support children's learning. The natural environment and ‘wild spaces’ to entice children to explore are a feature of the kindergarten.

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

The Review Findings

Board members undertake regular training and have developed useful processes to support governance roles and responsibilities. The senior teacher provides effective professional leadership. She visits the kindergarten regularly and works alongside the teaching team to support development of practice. These association processes help to promote positive outcomes for children.

Teachers view each family and its knowledge of their child as an integral part of the kindergarten’s learning community. The philosophy has been developed collaboratively with parents, children and teachers. It is clearly reflected in teaching practice and curriculum delivery. Parents have many opportunities to contribute to overall operation and their children’s learning. Families feel welcome and experience high levels of caring and respect from staff, who value and act on their suggestions and ideas.

Children enthusiastically engage in a curriculum that is exciting and challenging. Children lead their learning and teachers guide gently. They support and facilitate a range of activities and events that follow children’s interests. Teachers select natural resources that children can adapt for many purposes. Learning experiences are enriched by frequent excursions and walks to nearby playgrounds and local shops. Children are confident and happy and play cooperatively.

Children have many opportunities to develop literacy and mathematics knowledge in appropriate and authentic ways. Print and number are evident throughout the environment. Wall displays are vibrant and illustrate children’s involvement in the programmes.

Effective teaching contributes to positive outcomes for all children. Adults establish a culture in which children are first and foremost valued and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning. Teachers talk with children in ways that challenge their thinking. They include children in planning and setting up the learning environment. The atmosphere is relaxed and a sense of fun pervades.

Individual profiles are attractive records of learning. Written observations are analysed for recognising next steps in extending children's curiosity. These stories are linked to show how interests are sustained and developed, or change. The profiles illustrate children’s identity as successful learners and this information is used to plan the curriculum.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are successfully integrated into many aspects of operation. Children are growing in confidence and skill in its use. Partnership with whānau has been enhanced through ICT.

Teachers strongly advocate for children and their families. They value, respect and celebrate their cultural backgrounds. Whānau aspirations for their children's success are promoted. Teachers support the learning of Pacific children and engage with their families. They work with other adults to assist the development of children with special needs through planned participation in the programme.

Children’s sense of belonging is nurtured when settling into kindergarten and moving on to school. Teachers support parents to settle children according to their needs.

Teachers form a collaborative, reflective team and are committed to professional growth beneficial for children's learning. Leadership is shared across teachers, parents and children. A high level of trust allows all who are involved in the kindergarten to exchange ideas, negotiate and problem-solve.

In October 2012 teachers worked with Massey University to review their philosophy, management plan, appraisal goals and job descriptions. They are in the early stages of developing planning, assessment and evaluation to better document and achieve learning outcomes for children. Children’s emotional and physical wellbeing are promoted through sound health and safety practices.

Key Next Steps

Teachers should continue to embed their newly developed, integrated approach to self review to keep improving outcomes for all children.

The association should continue to review appraisal and consider formal critique of teaching practice and feedback processes to improve teaching and learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Westown 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 Westown Kindergarten will be in three years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

2 August 2013

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


New Plymouth

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

Boys 24

Girls 29

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

2 August 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2010


Supplementary Review

March 2007


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.