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

What did services tell ERO about what was working well?

At the beginning of each education review, ERO invited services to provide information about their most recent self review, the process they used, whom they involved, and any resultant outcomes. Services were asked to comment on what was working well, what could be improved and what needed to be developed.
In services where self review was well understood and implemented, common themes about what was working well included having:

  • the whole team working together on self review;
  • a sense of ownership of the process and outcomes of self review; and
  • greater awareness of improvements to the programme and to the operation of the service.

The following examples are indicative of these themes, and have been taken from the self-reporting information provided by managers and/or educators.

The whole team has input, rather than one or two people. Parents’ views are welcomed. We found new strengths within staff members as we have an approach where no ideas are wrong until we try them. We trial the changes first to see where we could change if need be. The centre is running a lot better with the staff and children all benefiting.

We have processes for gathering data and engage in reflective discussions that result from this data. Teachers are more empowered as we are now working in line with our beliefs and with what we know to be quality practice. Review that is happening has resulted from an occurrence and is really meaningful.

New formats from the association give our teaching team focus, and highlight areas for us to review. We incorporate all ideas from the senior teacher, teachers, children, families and whânau. It’s great because we see the positive results of our review in action. The self-review process is working extremely well in our team and the results of each individual review are now evident in the team, as they work with children, families, committee and the wider community. Although we have completed four reviews in the last year, they all intertwine. This is wise practice. As a team we find the process exciting but challenging. We enjoy the reflective discussions that come about because of the self-review process.

We have already completed our first self review as a centre and have started our second. Through this we have discovered we have a very close team that work together well through all areas of the process. The staff have taken new ideas on board well and use these in their day-to-day teaching with the children. The team members enjoy reflecting on their practice and join together well to plan and implement changes. Our plans for self review are based on staff discussions, meetings, questionnaires and parent contributions and feedback.

Our team is committed to improvement and centre development to provide high quality outcomes for children and their families. A self-review plan (wall planner) and document (book) are good guides to the process. An external facilitator provides 'hands on' support. This is very valuable.

Comments from services` self-reporting noted that as a result of self review children were:

  • contributing to and directing their learning;
  • setting their own goals;
  • assessing their own learning;
  • taking an interest in the learning of others; and
  • feeling that their ideas are valued.

Other outcomes reported by services included:

  • a safer environment for children;
  • improved relationships between teachers and whanau;
  • parents more involved in the service;
  • better access to equipment;
  • teachers getting more professional development;
  • a reduction in noise levels in the centre;
  • programme planning based on session evaluations;
  • more streamlined systems for managing children’s portfolios;
  • a more confident and competent supervision team; and
  • increased consistency of teaching practice.

When self review was well understood and implemented, it was integral to the operation of the service and undertaken in inclusive and purposeful ways. The outcomes of self review resulted in changes to practice and had visible benefits for children’s learning and development.

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