Wairakei Kindergarten

Education institution number:
Service type:
Free Kindergarten
Not Applicable
Total roll:

101 Wairakei Avenue, Papamoa, Tauranga

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Wairakei Kindergarten - 22/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Wairakei Kindergarten

How well placed is Wairakei 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.


Wairakei Kindergarten is located in eastern Papamoa and as a new service, this is their first review. It operates under the umbrella of Inspired Kindergarten's Tauranga. The kindergarten is licensed to cater for 45 children from two years to school age. The roll includes seven children who are identified as Māori. The kindergarten is open from 8.15 am to 2.15 pm from Monday to Friday, except for Wednesday when session times are from 8.15 to 12pm.

The kindergarten was established as an integrated service. It now operates three playgroups to cater for toddlers and infants, these are facilitated by a qualified teacher. Inspired Kindergarten’s local home based educators attend playgroup and use the kindergarten as a resource centre. At the time of the ERO review a local mid-wives’ collective was also operating from the kindergarten premises. The kindergarten values family and whānau involvement. Through the playgroups, the opportunity is provided for families to engage in early childhood education and gain an understanding of the kindergarten’s philosophy.

The kindergarten philosophy reflects the importance of community and promotes the values of respect, empowerment, creativity, identity, courage, wairua and resourcefulness - 'Ka whangaia ka tupu, ka puawai - that which is nurtured, blossoms and grows'.

The Inspired Kindergarten's Tauranga Association provides effective governance, support and guidance. They establish the over-arching strategic plan that the centre uses to develop its own vision and values. The association also defines strategies for delivering the principles and strands of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, and is reflective of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. In addition, association policies and procedures ensure the kindergarten meets requirements and management expectations ensuring compliance and regulatory requirements are meet.

The Review Findings

Children, parents and whānau have a strong sense of belonging in the kindergarten whose emotional wellbeing is nurtured through authentic and respectful relationships. An important development during the establishment of this kindergarten is the Whānau of Wairakei (WOW) group that provides parents and whānau opportunities to be actively engaged and contribute to the many aspects of the kindergarten. Teachers acknowledge, value and respond to parents' aspirations for their children. They value the importance of children learning through play. Teachers skilfully recognise teachable moments to extend children's learning and opportunities to add complexity to play and exploration. They are inclusive in their practice and access support from whānau and external agencies to provide quality education and care for all children including those with additional needs.

The kindergarten curriculum is well designed and highly responsive to children's interests, dispositions and learning needs. Teachers carefully plan and prepare environments to provide a wide range of complex opportunities for children to follow their inquiries and engage in sustained play. This enables children to access and construct play. Children are encouraged to build social competence through tuakana-teina relationships in the mixed-aged sessions. They have many opportunities to lead their own learning and are confident to play independently and collaboratively.

Strengths of the curriculum include the provision of:

  • contexts for meaningful literacy, mathematics and science learning
  • environmental sustainability experiences in relation to papatūānuku, the natural world
  • a kindergarten culture that reflects Māori concepts of manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga


    successful transition processes from playgroup to kindergarten and on to school.

Children are empowered to be curious explorers, developing self-confidence and a strong identity as capable lifelong learners.

Well-developed assessment, planning and evaluation practices are evident in the kindergarten. Processes and expectations are well developed, consistently implemented and are highly reflective of best practice, current theory and research in early childhood education. Teachers have continually reviewed and refined assessment practices over the past two years resulting in the development of a high quality approach to documenting children's learning. Assessment documentation provides valuable insight into children's progress and learning over time. A particular strength of this process are the transition stories that are shared, with parents/whānau and schools, to support continuity of learning pathway for each child.

Professional leadership of learning is strongly evident in the kindergarten. The senior and head teacher work alongside teachers to support them in their leadership roles. Leaders provide guidance and mentor teachers as part of the teacher registration and appraisal process. The head teacher effectively promotes knowledge about current theory and research in early childhood education and collaboratively with teachers develops clear expectations for teaching and learning. Teachers have generous opportunities to attend professional development to grow their teaching skills and emergent distributive leadership skills. Leaders and teachers are focused on the provision of equitable outcomes for all children.

Strategic formal and informal self review is directly informing the kindergarten's development and improvement. 

Features of the kindergarten's internal evaluation include:

  • engagement of parents, children and teachers
  • strong links to research and best practice
  • a culture of critical inquiry.

Internal evaluation is well developed. The head teacher and teachers gather and analyse useful information from a range of sources and perspectives. This enables them to critically reflect on teaching practice, the curriculum and aspects of the kindergarten's integrated service. Internal evaluation is leading to improvements to systems, practices and better outcomes for children and families.

Key Next Steps

ERO is confident in the kindergartens ability to sustain effective practices and continue to identify and progress relevant initiatives and innovations to enhance:

  • partnerships for learning with parents/whānau
  • culturally responsive curriculum for Māori and other cultures.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wairakei 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 Wairakei Kindergarten will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

22 June 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

45 children

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 22 Boys 23

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

22 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


No previous ERO reports


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.