The example below highlights how the leaders of one service managed the changes to improve learning outcomes for the Pacific children in their service.
This centre is governed by a management committee that includes church members, staff and parent representatives. ERO’s previous supplementary reviews in 2009 and 2010 identified areas for improvement in aspects of management processes and the quality of the programme. During this period, the centre also had a number of staff changes. ERO’s 2010 report stated that the centre was becoming better placed to provide children with good quality education and care.
“There was a disconnect between the church’s views and the Ministry’s requirements for qualified ECE teachers – after the 2010 ERO report, the management committee embraced the recommendations and we worked together to implement them.” (Leader voice)
Leaders wanted to maintain a positive ERO review. They also knew that their teachers had to be qualified. The leaders knew that effective strategic planning and self-review processes had to be implemented to assist in the development of a culture of ongoing improvement.
Leaders understood the expectations for accountability to their community. They restructured the management committee to include parents, staff, and church representatives, and supported shared decision making.
The leaders supported the improvement-focused changes by hiring a contractor to manage the centre’s finances. They budgeted for current unqualified teaching staff to gain a qualification through a recognised training provider. They also recruited qualified teachers.
Leaders created an inclusive, collaborative and nurturing environment for the children and teachers. Parents, teachers, and the church community were included in the review and translation of the centre’s philosophy. Teachers and children spoke Samoan on a daily basis.
Leaders were committed to providing a high-quality ECE for Samoan children. They paid for whole centre professional learning and development (PLD) and ongoing targeted support for new staff to sustain teaching practice. A local kindergarten head teacher mentored the centre manager. The teaching staff underwent an external appraisal.
The centre’s philosophy was an interpretation of the Samoan fale (house) where the roof presented the children. Therefore children’s learning was central and expected to be of high quality. The philosophy guided all decisions about the curriculum. Children were supported to greet visitors in Samoan and to have conversations with parents and community elders.
The centre’s cultural model was used as a self-review tool to improve the curriculum and make it responsive to children’s interests. Improvements to the curriculum were informed by meaningful conversations with children and their parents, and ongoing teacher discussions.
Teachers worked with families to support children’s learning and development. Parents were invited to workshops and community meetings about good quality ECE, centre excursions, and to assist with translating resource materials in Samoan.
The centre used the same self-review approach and tool to improve partnerships with families, identify PLD for teachers, and improve quality of health and safety practices, review documentation processes, and review reporting lines between staff and management.