Ruahine Kindergarten Association

Head office location:
Palmerston North
Number of services:
Service type:
  • Free kindergarten

Ruahine Kindergarten Association

1 ERO’s Judgements

A Governing Organisation Evaluation evaluates the extent to which organisational conditions support equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners in the organisation’s services. Te Ara Poutama- indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most is the basis for making judgements about its effectiveness. The Governing Organisation Quality Evaluation Judgement Rubric derived from the indicators, is used to inform the ERO’s judgements about this organisation’s performance.

ERO’s judgement for Ruahine Kindergarten Association is as follows:

ERO’s judgement Organisational Conditions

Assurance ReviewWhakatō
Overall judgement  

The organisation conditions encompass Ngā Akatoro | Domains of:

  • Ngā Aronga Whai Hua | Evaluation for improvement
  • Kaihautū | Leadership fosters collaboration and improvement
  • Te Whakaruruhau | Stewardship through effective governance and management.

2 Context of the Governing Organisation

Ruahine Kindergarten Association is located within the Manawatū and surrounding areas. They manage 20 kindergartens and five early childhood centres. At the time of this evaluation all 25 services were on a full licence.

The organisation recently transitioned governance responsibilities to New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK). Ruahine Kindergarten Association (RKA) retains ownership and management responsibilities. The leadership team provide operational and curriculum leadership to services. The organisational philosophy gives emphasis to tamariki at the heart of decision making, strong and respectful partnerships with whānau and community, qualified teachers and learning within affordable and inclusive services.

Findings from ERO’s evaluation at the governance and organisational level included evaluating the extent to which Ruahine Kindergarten Association’s strategic intentions, quality improvement systems, processes and practices support the provision of a quality curriculum at individual service level.

3 Summary of findings

The leadership team work effectively to develop and enact the organisations vision, values, and priorities that:

  • gives emphasis to child-centred decision making that informs the allocation of resourcing and promotes equity of access, participation, inclusion and positive outcomes for learners 
  • fosters a culture of collective responsibility for the wellbeing and learning of all children 
  • enables collaboration, professional relationships and connections within, across and beyond the association.

Other conditions supporting the organisation to build effective practice include:

  • cohesive strategic and annual planning, internal evaluation, and curriculum priorities that are well implemented, monitored, evaluated and reported  
  • high expectations of teaching and learning that leads to ongoing improvement
  • targeted professional learning across the organisation to build capability and capacity to promote positive learner outcomes.

Kindergartens with children of Pacific heritage benefit from useful, targeted, external professional development. Developing an association wide strategy to further enable success for learners of Pacific heritage would be beneficial.

Quality systems, processes and practices for accountability and improvement that the organisation is implementing well include:

  • leaders closely monitoring and reporting on how well each teaching team understands and is meeting regulatory requirements
  • embedded professional growth cycles, inquiry, critical reflection and research for improving teacher practice
  • systematic and well supported review and internal evaluation processes that increase capability to undertake evaluation for ongoing improvement.

Effective leadership of internal evaluation ensures active participation in regular, whole of association evaluation promoting collective understandings and shared practices to progress strategic priorities. Service wide qualitative and quantitative data is analysed to identify and implement improved practices with a focus on equity.

Current priorities that the organisation is working towards includes: 

  • developing a strategic plan aligned to the New Zealand Kindergartens and Ruahine Kindergartens strategic priorities
  • processes to further develop te reo Māori and tikanga Māori protocols and practice
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the association’s Aspiring Leaders Programme.

Summary of findings from visits to services

ERO visited a sample of 11 services to verify what Ruahine Kindergarten Association knows about the quality of each of the services’ learning conditions and to what extent the organisational conditions support service improvement. ERO selected the service sample in consultation with the governing organisation.

Teaching teams are well supported, by senior teachers to progress their improvement journey providing a rich, responsive, bicultural curriculum for all children.

Organisational and learning conditions that promote positive outcomes for children include:

  • a strong focus on developing learning focused partnerships with children, parents and whānau to collaboratively enhance children’s learning
  • effective use of strategies to ensure oral language learning and social and emotional wellbeing of all children
  • Enviro-schools programmes which place a focus on kaupapa Māori concepts and sustainability practices which enhances the delivery of a bicultural curriculum.

Children learn in well-resourced environments where their culture, language, and identity, in the context of their families, underpins their learning.

The senior teacher team know about the capability and variation of evaluation practice at each service. They take deliberate steps to differentiate the support that they provide to build capability and relational trust. The association wide internal evaluation focus on pūrākau (legends) is increasing the understanding of local iwi and cultural narratives in ways that are respectful.

There is a purposeful approach to promoting ongoing improvement for groups of learners including Māori, Pacific, children with additional needs and children under three years old.

5 Improvement actions

Prior to the next ERO evaluation Ruahine Kindergarten Association will progress the following actions through its Quality Improvement Planning. These include:

  • monitoring the transition process to NZK’s governance and develop strategic planning that integrates NZK and RKA strategic priorities
  • determining tikanga Māori protocols and expectations across the association that respects and reflects local iwi
  • developing a Pacific strategy to build teacher capability to more effectively respond to learning outcomes for children of Pacific heritage, their families and communities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

As part of this review, a representative of Ruahine Kindergarten Association completed an ERO Governing Organisation Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they stated that the organisation has the systems, processes, and practices to be assured that service providers for licensed services within the organisation are meeting legal requirements related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management, and administration.

The licensed service provider/s of the sampled services listed at the end of this report also completed an ERO Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist for their service. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements, including those detailed in Ministry of Education Circulars and other documents, related to these areas.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

7 Actions for Compliance

During its visits to sample services ERO identified the following non-compliances:

Profile number
Name of service
Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Services, 2008
Non-compliance identified during this review
Satisfactorily addressed
5266Takaro KindergartenHS22 Supervision of children while eatingYes

8 Next ERO Review

The next ERO review is likely to be in 14-18 months.

ERO will visit a different sample of services at that time.

Patricia Davey
Director of Early Childhood Education (ECE)

13 November 2023 

9 About the Governing Organisation

Service typesKindergartens and Education and care services
Total number of licensed services25
Total number of children licensed for across all services960
Total number of children enrolled across all services 1159 including 58 under two years old
Ethnic composition (%)Māori 31%, NZ European/Pākehā 51%, Samoan 3%, Other Pacific groups 6 % 
Number of full-time equivalent teachersQualified203
Review team on siteAugust 2023
Date of this report13 November 2023
Most recent ERO report(s)No previous Governing Organisation ERO reports.

10 List of sampled services

All sampled services are on a full licence.

Services sampled in this evaluation:

Profile Number 
Name of service 
Service Type
5263Parkland KindergartenKindergarten
5249Ashurst KindergartenKindergarten
5533Follett Street KindergartenKindergarten
5305Holyoake KindergartenKindergarten
5253Cloverlea KindergartenKindergarten
5264Riverdale KindergartenKindergarten
5251Bulls KindergartenKindergarten
5260Milson KindergartenKindergarten
5269Foxton District KindergartenKindergarten
5266Takaro KindergartenKindergarten
5265Roslyn KindergartenKindergarten