Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku

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

34 Patapu Street, Whanganui

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Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku - 23/05/2019

1 Evaluation of Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku

How well placed is Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku is a new service within the grounds of Whanganui East School. It is also known as the Whanganui East Community Early Learning Centre (WECELC). Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8:00am until 4:30pm, all year round. Full day places are available for children aged from birth to six years.

The philosophy statement emphasises four key areas for teaching and learning – manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, ako and te ao.

Day-to-day management of the kindergarten is the responsibility of the centre manager and team leader. Both work part-time.

Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku is one of 15 kindergartens governed and managed by the Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). The governing board is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for the organisation. The day-to-day running of the association is the role of the general manager, who is responsible to the board.

Since April 2018, the association's programme of professional learning and development and curriculum implementation has been managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated. An association senior teacher and two senior teachers from Whānau Manaaki provide regular support for teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of 15 in the Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated.

The Review Findings

Aspects of the centre philosophy are well embedded in kindergarten operation. Teachers and members of the kindergarten community are contributing to what manaakitanga means within the centre. Warm, nurturing relationships between teachers and children are evident. Children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging.

Children make choices about their play and lead their own learning. Teachers effectively use a range of intentional teaching to extend children's thinking. Strategies to promote oral language, and expand children's knowledge of the way the world works, are evident. They are settled, confident and engaged in their learning.

Teachers are committed to developing the bicultural curriculum and their supporting practice. Children experience te ao Māori through activities and te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. An action plan is underway to further teachers' knowledge and implementation of strategies that promote educational success for Māori children. ERO affirms these next steps to grow teacher practice.

Infants and toddlers are well supported by responsive teachers. Their individual needs are met and a key teacher approach fosters strong attachments with a familiar adult. The mixed age setting promotes tuakana teina relationships to assist the learning of these children.

Collaboration between parents, teachers and external agencies appropriately supports children with additional learning needs. Teachers share strategies across the team to provide consistency and security.

Newly developed individual planning sets learning goals in partnership with parents. Teachers are beginning to use ongoing observations of children to assess progress towards these goals and evaluate how well their teaching contributes to this.

Children's portfolios capture their interests, dispositions, strengths and friendships. Teachers should continue to strengthen links between children's learning over time and the reflection of each child's culture within assessment.

Self review is used to make improvements to processes and practices. It is now timely to use internal evaluation to measure the impact of these improvements on outcomes for children.

The governing board is future-focused and has taken appropriate steps to strengthen opportunities for teachers’ professional learning and development. An association-wide appraisal process is in place to support teacher practice in promoting positive learning outcomes for children. Consistency of its implementation across all kindergartens requires strengthening.

Key Next Steps

Association leaders and ERO agree that for ongoing and sustained improvement, staff at Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku should continue to:

  • embed and strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation

  • develop the bicultural curriculum

  • strengthen understanding and implementation of strategies that promote success for Māori children

  • implement internal evaluation to measure the impact of improvements on children's outcomes.

The senior management team of Whanganui Kindergarten Association Incorporated should continue to strengthen the implementation of teacher appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Te Puna Ako ki Tōtara Puku 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.

In order to improve practice teachers should ensure all heavy equipment that could fall and cause injury is secured.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

23 May 2019

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, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 9, Boys 9

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

23 May 2019

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.