Aberdeen Kindergarten - 06/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Aberdeen Kindergarten

How well placed is Aberdeen Kindergarten 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.

Background

Aberdeen Kindergarten is one of 29 kindergartens located in the Waikato and operate under the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA). It is located in Dinsdale, Hamilton and licenced for 40 children aged from two years to school age. The kindergarten offers full-day education and care in mixed-age groups. All teachers are qualified and registered teachers. The organisation provides 20 free hours for children from two years old. At the time of this ERO review there were 40 children on the roll, of whom nine identify as Māori, a small number from a range of Pacific heritages and five children from a range of other cultures.

The kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA), which is a charitable trust, and does not operate for profit. The strategic direction of the Association is guided by the overarching statement, ‘Every child reaching their full potential’. The WKA has a commitment to providing quality, inclusive services that effectively meet the diverse educational needs of all children attending. All kindergartens in Waikato Kindergarten Association are involved in sustainable programmes promoting the care of people and environment, such as Enviroschools, Sport Waikato Under 5 Energise and a ‘Cool for School’ Transition programme. A kaumātua from Tainui provides advice, guidance and support to the organisation. The kindergartens’ education, operational and administrative responsibilities are well supported by Association specialist personnel.

Since the 2014 ERO review, the head teacher and most other teachers have remained in their positions. Teachers have engaged in professional development to more effectively implement a culturally responsive curriculum that is aligned to assessment and evaluation processes. The outdoor and indoor learning environments continue to reflect the cultural heritages of all children and their parents and whānau.

Aberdeen Kindergarten's philosophy is to provide high quality education and care by ensuring all staff have a good understanding of different cultures. The Treaty of Waitangi principles of rangatiratanga, kaitiakitanga and atua are interwoven into the kindergarten's philosphy.

This review was part of a cluster of six kindergarten reviews in the Waikato kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Mutually trusting relationships between parents, whānau, carers and teachers are features of the service and are based on genuine attitudes of acceptance, respect and a willingness to listen. All children's learning is supported through mahi tahi - working together. The kindergarten's curriculum involves all stake holders who together play a significant role in leading and contributing to the curriculum. Participation is valued and parent and whānau aspirations guide teacher practice. This collaborative approach to decision making is beneficial to the growth and development of children.

Māori children are viewed in the context of their whakapapa. Teacher practice reflects a deep understanding of mana, wairua and mauri as the essence of being for Māori children. This contributes to a strong bicultural curriculum and the enactment of the concepts of whanaungatanga, manākitanga and kaitiakitanga are evident. These concepts underpin the kindergarten's culture and climate for learning. Children confidently use te reo Māori, which is naturally integrated throughout the daily programme.

Teaching strategies are highly effective in responding to the diverse cultures, languages and identity of all children and their families. Other cultures are valued and many children are developing multilingual abilities. Teachers are highly skilled and attuned to the individual attributes and interests of children. They intentionally recognise and respond to opportunities that effectively engage and extend children’s learning.

Children experience an environment that invites curiosity and active investigation. They engage in sustained and complex learning and are encouraged to be independent, problem solve and critically think about their learning. Children are confident, independent and free to explore their interests.

A well-considered literacy rich learning environment promotes oral language, early reading and writing skills. Literacy practices enable children to observe, listen and play with language, use literacy for a purpose and challenge their ideas. Children’s mathematical learning is enhanced through meaningful and interesting opportunities that use mathematics in everyday life. Open-ended resources for mathematical exploration and games challenge children's thinking.

Children have extensive, opportunities to be creative, use their imagination and to make sense of the natural, social and physical worlds. They confidently use information communication technologies to inquire into their learning. Children are encouraged to establish tuakana teina learning relationships to support the learning and wellbeing of all children.

Teachers foster socialisation practices for children entering the service. Children are encouraged and supported to build friendships and engage in a group activities. Teachers work with children and their whānau to ensure that all children experience successful transitions into the kindergarten and onto school.

Individual assessment portfolios are first and foremost about the child's learning. They provide a comprehensive record of each child's progress and achievement overtime and are an integral part of teaching and learning. Portfolios document different ways children learn and how they extend their confidence, independence, skills, knowledge and ways of learning. Children frequently use these booklets to see what they have done and often recognise how they have improved overtime.

On-line assessment practices provide all parents and extended whānau with a way of contributing to their children’s learning. The implementation of this technology provides parents and whānau with detailed and immediate information about their child's progress and achievements. Video vignettes and teacher parent conversations are informative and ongoing.

The head teacher builds high levels of relational trust and effective participation and collaboration at every level of the kindergarten community. She effectively facilitates culturally responsive strategies that contribute to teacher development. Children benefit from a safe learning environment where their identity and sense of belonging is valued.

Teachers work collegially, are well supported in their ongoing learning, and collectively make decisions about how to promote and extend children’s interests. They have developed positive relationships with local schools and the kindergarten is involved in the Northwest Hamilton Kāhui Ako / Community of Learning. They are well supported through regular professional learning and development and proactively implement innovative practices in their planning and teaching.

Leaders and teachers are focused on improving the quality of education and care through internal evaluation practices. Their evaluations include the gathering and analysis of useful information from a range of sources to make evidence based decisions about ways to improve outcomes for all children.

Key Next Steps

The kindergarten has sound internal evaluation processes. It would now be beneficial for leaders to implement a framework that provides a clear streamlined approach to spontaneous and planned evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Aberdeen Kindergarten 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 Aberdeen Kindergarten will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

6 October 2017

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

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

5134

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

40

Gender composition

Boys 13

Girls 27

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Other

9
23
3
5

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

6 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2014

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

April 2008

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.