Implementing Self Review in Early Childhood Services (January 2009) 01/01/2009

What did self review look like where it was well understood and implemented?

In the 14 percent of early childhood services where self review was well understood and implemented, some common features of practice and contributing factors set these services apart from others. These are discussed and supported by examples of good practice from the education review reports of individual services.

What did these services do?

Self review was integral to the operation of the service and focused strongly on improvement. Well-established procedures guided self review, and reviews were both planned and spontaneous. Planned review included scheduled policy review and more in-depth reviews of targeted areas of practice. Review included teaching practice, and led to ongoing improvement to the quality of the programme for children. Spontaneous reviews were more informal and responded to what was happening on a day-to-day basis.

Examples of good self-review practice

Examples of good self-review practice

The licensee and staff developed a formal and systematic framework to guide self review. They had a regular cycle for review so that all aspects of operation were considered over time. This included planning and recording the discussion, processes and action taken. They also documented the impact of any changes.

The licensee and staff had a good understanding of the purpose of self review as a tool for ongoing improvement, aligned with centre philosophy. They also used self review to monitor accountability and compliance. Reviews of the centre policies and practices and the implementation of the Revised Statement of Desirable Objectives and Practices 1996 (DOPs) were thorough and systematic. Reviews of routines and the programme were often spontaneous and responsive to emerging issues. Changes, as a result of informed decision-making, contributed to enhanced learning experiences for children and an improved programme.

Self review involved the gathering, analysis and use of information relevant to the review focus. Data was gathered from a range of sources and included the perspectives of managers, teachers, parents and whanau, and children. Staff had time to discuss and analyse this information. A few services used existing indicators of good practice, or developed their own to use as a framework for analysing data

Examples of good practice

Examples of good practice

Teachers, children and families all played a part in self review and all contributions were valued and considered. Reviews could be prompted by adults or children and were clear in focus. Teachers were able to articulate positive changes to teaching and learning that had been the result of review. Some reviews were formally planned while others occurred spontaneously. Value was placed on both of these processes.

Teachers used evidence-based processes for reviewing centre operations in order to improve outcomes for children. They gathered data informally through discussions, surveys, and observations. Analysis of information led to effective decision-making and the identification of well-defined indicators of high quality practice. Opportunities to revisit changes to practice were documented.

Review findings informed decisions about changes to practice and were also used to develop long and short term plans. Such plans served as a useful basis for self review, enabling services to monitor progress towards goals and track improvement over time.
A few services used their previous ERO report for ongoing self review. Managers and educators in these services were developing an understanding of the complementary relationship between external review and self review.

Example of good practice

Example of good practice

The new teaching team used the findings of the last ERO review to guide change to their practice. They engaged in this review in a way that demonstrated how external and internal review could complement each other. The review team was able to use the kindergarten's own self-review findings to set the direction of the evaluation. Both teachers were extremely reflective and willing to consider alternative perspectives while still articulating and explaining their current practices. Both had a deep commitment to professional learning

In services that were doing well with self review, management and educators demonstrated a commitment to ongoing improvement and to increasing their capacity to engage in manageable and meaningful self review, as demonstrated in the following example.

Documentation for formal self review had been strengthened since the 2005 ERO review. The approach promoted by Ngā Arohaehae Whai Hua: Self-review Guidelines for Early Childhood Education was used to guide and record the process. This included planning for the review, deciding how information was to be gathered and analysed, and evaluating the impact of the resulting changes. Teachers planned to use the ERO Self-reporting document as a guide to their own future recording of informal review so that overall progress could be readily identified. The stability in both the management body and teaching team assisted in developing a shared understanding. It has contributed to building their capacity for self review.

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