Whenuapai Kindergarten - 14/12/2016

1 Evaluation of Whenuapai Kindergarten

How well placed is Whenuapai 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.


Whenuapai kindergarten provides a full day and sessional service for up to 40 children from approximately three years of age. It is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework, and support personnel to assist the kindergarten. The 2015 restructure of AKA leadership roles has been reviewed and has resulted in the further re-allocation of roles. There continues to be a period of transition for all Association staff as they adapt to new systems and responsibilities.

The kindergarten is located between the school and the air force base at Whenuapai. It is led by a head teacher and employs three other fulltime registered teachers. Part-time employees include two teacher aides and an administrator.

The kindergarten has been through significant change since the 2013 ERO review. It moved to temporary premises in Term 2 and 3 of 2014 while the kindergarten buildings and grounds were relocated and renovated. By the end of 2015 the kindergarten roll increased from 30 to 40 children and an additional teacher had been appointed.

The kindergarten's philosophy promotes partnership with parents/whānau to support children's education and development. It shows a strong commitment to incorporating aspects of tikanga and te reo Māori into the programme. Intended outcomes for children include independence, confidence, skills to inquire and communicate effectively, and a positive self-image.

This review was part of a cluster of seven kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Staff have created a welcoming and inclusive culture at the kindergarten for children and their whānau. Interactions are caring and teachers respond to children with respect, valuing their contributions to conversations.

Teachers know the children and their families well. They regularly share information about children with their whānau through conversations and in children’s portfolios. Parents feel listened to by the teachers.

Teachers encourage parents to share their aspirations for their children and they help children to set and achieve learning goals. Teachers’ programme planning considers these goals and aspirations and the programme includes occasions for children to celebrate their achievements.  

The kindergarten's physical environment is well resourced, organised with discrete areas of play, and resourced so that children can make choices about how their play develops. The vegetable gardens, fruit trees and recycling facilities help promote concepts of environmental sustainability.

Children benefit from a curriculum that allows them to participate in all aspects of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. They are encouraged to investigate and to be creative. Teachers’ holistic approach to children’s education has been supported by professional development where they have explored the Māori concepts of mana, mauri and wairua. Teachers support children to identify and communicate their feelings and to be resilient.

The kindergarten’s acknowledgement of Te Tiriti o Waitangi is evident in many aspects of its operations. Teachers have learned about the history of the local area. Their new learning is being incorporated into the kindergarten programme and the way that they think about their role as educators.

The kindergarten is inclusive of children from all cultures and of children with special needs and abilities. Families are encouraged to share aspects of their cultures with all the children. Teachers seek support and guidance to ensure that children’s individual needs are met.

The kindergarten is well led and managed. Staff work well as a team. The changes resulting from roll growth and the relocation and renovations have been well managed. All staff are supported and encouraged to take leadership roles.

Teachers are working to strengthen programme planning and evaluation. Recent planning has focused on ensuring that parents' aspirations are considered. With the introduction of electronic assessment portfolios, it would be useful for teachers to clarify the audience and purpose of learning stories, and to develop some agreed expectations of how these contribute to assessment and planning.

Strategic planning is well documented in the kindergarten's business plan. It is informed by internal evaluation and leads to ongoing improvement. Parents are consulted as part of the process. Progress against the plan is evaluated. Internal evaluation could be strengthened by more clearly identifying evaluation questions.

AKA systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in kindergarten operations are well established. The Association's shared vision and a comprehensive strategic plan guide kindergarten developments. New AKA roles were established to provide more targeted support for head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A new Quality Improvement Process (QIP) is aligned with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans, monitors quality and promotes ongoing improvement in kindergartens. AKA support and guidance is responsive to each kindergarten's individual context.

Key Next Steps

The kindergarten managers and teachers agree that areas that require strengthening include:

  • planning, assessment and programme evaluation
  • internal evaluation.

The AKA is continuing to review and refine its policies and procedures, including those for teacher appraisal and the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

14 December 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 


Whenuapai, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      26
Girls       26

Ethnic composition

other ethnicities


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

September 2016

Date of this report

14 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

December 2009

Education Review

November 2006

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.