BestStart Waikite Valley Kindy

Education institution number:
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Not Applicable
Total roll:

1080 Waikite Valley Road, RD 1, Waikite Valley, Rotorua

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1 Evaluation of Community Kindy Waikite Valley

How well placed is Community Kindy Waikite Valley 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.


Community Kindy Waikite Valley is a small all-day centre catering for up to 20 children from two years to school age. The centre is staffed with mostly qualified teachers. It is located beside Waikite Valley School in a rural, farming community approximately 40 kilometres south of Rotorua.

The centre opened in May 2016 and this is the first ERO review of the service. A new centre manager and full–time teacher were appointed during 2017. A priority for the manager has been to form respectful and reciprocal relationships with children, their families and the local school.

The centre's philosophy places value on the rural surroundings and being part of the community. Through the philosophy teachers aim to provide an interesting and varied curriculum based on children's interests, parent's aspirations, dispositional learning and school readiness. Healthy diet and physical activity are also promoted.

The centre is part of the BestStart organisation which is owned by the Wright Family Foundation, a Charitable Trust. BestStart provides comprehensive policy guidelines, strategic direction and financial and business management. Professional guidance and development for staff is provided through appraisal which includes teacher inquiry, internal reviews such as the Quality Education and Care evaluation (QEC) and professional learning opportunities. The centre is supported by business and professional services managers, who work collaboratively with the centre manager. Management also supports the implementation of the company and centre’s visions and strategic goals. Centre goals cover curriculum, programme, communication, consultation, staffing, premises and resources.

The Review Findings

BestStart provides effective governance for the centre. A key guiding document is the quality education and care (QEC) evaluation which drives a model of continual improvement. The QEC is a well-established aspect of self review that informs strategic and annual planning, identifies priorities for professional practice, centre operations and improved outcomes for children.

Leadership effectively promotes a culture of inclusion, mutual respect and collaboration within the centre community. Leaders and teachers have a shared commitment to the centre's philosophy, vision and goals. Through professional sharing, reflective practice and focused learning and development, teachers are enhancing their individual and collective capability. Leaders and staff provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all children and their families. High levels of mutual respect, inclusion and collaboration contribute to children’s wellbeing and belonging.

Curriculum design is well-considered and effective in promoting positive outcomes for all children. Features of the curriculum are:

  • well-presented environments that strongly reflect the rural setting, family values, work and life styles
  • empowerment of children to be inquisitive, express their ideas and lead their own learning
  • an increasing focus on the multicultural nature of the centre community
  • teachers’ natural inclusion of te reo and aspects of tikanga Māori
  • the priority given to healthy diet and physical activity.

Children benefit from rich opportunities to play, imagine, invent, experiment and learn with and alongside others in an environment that reflects the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa.

The recently introduced project approach to learning is developing well. Children can revisit interests and build on their learning over time. To strengthen this approach the team should now enhance the provision of opportunities, resources and teaching responses. This should enable children to engage in more complex thinking and learning.

Quality assessment and planning processes are continuing to be developed. Teachers have recently introduced a process for identifying goals for individual children. This process takes account of cultural identity and parents’ ideas and aspirations for their children. The increased use of online communication has enhanced opportunities for parents and wider family to be involved in, and contribute to, children’s learning.

Positive interactions and relationships at all levels are highly evident. Teachers have created a family-like environment and positive transition processes where all children and their families receive a warm and responsive welcome. Relationships with parents are based on genuine respect and willingness to listen. Teachers value families’ knowledge, skills and contributions to the programme. This home-like setting contributes to a settled environment and children's strong sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies to support children’s learning and development. These include:

  • meaningful conversations, and skilled questioning  to support children’s oral language development and confidence to express their ideas
  • time and space for sustained and uninterrupted exploration and play
  • well supported opportunities for children to set their own challenges and take risks within safe boundaries. 

Transitions to school are well supported. Teachers have fostered close relationships with the local school. Children benefit from regular participation in school events and opportunities to engage in a well-considered transition to school programme. Their increasing familiarity with the school environment, routines and teachers contributes to their confident and positive transition to school.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree there is a need to deepen the centre’s response to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and bicultural practices. Consideration should now be given to reviewing key centre documents and plans to better reflect the centre’s commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa.

Centre leaders and teachers acknowledge the need to continue to develop assessment planning and evaluation processes. An important aspect of this development is to strengthen the value given to children’s interest and funds of knowledge in documentation and teachers’ responses.

Managers recognise the need to strengthen the appraisal process by formalising observations of teachers’ practice, consistent with Education Council expectations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Community Kindy Waikite Valley 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 Community Kindy Waikite Valley will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

20 March 2018

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 


Waikite Valley, near Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys                      12
Girls                       12

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

January 2018

Date of this report

20 March 2018

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.