Above & Beyond Te Puke Ltd - 18/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Above & Beyond Te Puke Ltd

How well placed is Above & Beyond Te Puke Ltd 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

Above & Beyond Te Puke Ltd is part of a group of four Above & Beyond education and care centres. It is licensed for 45 children, including up to 15 children aged under two years. Currently 63 children are enrolled, of whom 17 are Māori and 12 from a number of other cultures. All-day sessions operate in two rooms, one for children up to two and another for those two years and over. The centre is committed to high ratios of staff to children, with 80% plus being fully qualified early childhood teachers.

The service's philosophy is ‘our love for children, families and one another is selfless, unconditional, active and thoughtful'. An intentional response to promoting wellbeing for children is the main focus of the programme. In addition, the programme has an arts-based focus to promote children’s learning and creativity.

This is the first ERO review for the centre which opened in October 2015. The centre is privately owned, governed, and managed by a team comprising the owner/licensee, professional leader (principal) and centre manager. The new centre manager was appointed in April 2017. Since then there has been a turnover of staff as a result of departures to other areas in New Zealand and overseas. Since April the staff teams in each area have become consistent, including relieving staff.

The Review Findings

The curriculum and learning programme for infants, toddlers and young children is reflective of the arts-based philosophy and focuses on respecting children as learners. This programme successfully encourages creativity and exploration. Literacy and mathematics concepts are interwoven in daily activities. Trips into the local community, and regular visitors and events, extend children’s learning and social development. Children’s wellbeing is fostered and their self-managing attributes are encouraged.

The learning environment inside and outside is spacious and well resourced. The physical environment promotes safe practices, while offering challenges and interest that invite children to explore and become fully involved in a wide range of activities. Fruit trees and vegetable gardens are regularly harvested and opportunities for children to learn about healthy eating and sharing produce in the local community. Children enjoy and benefit from the challenges and opportunities that the environment provides.

Children’s interests and learning are extended through planned and intentional activities based on children’s interests that are discussed at regular planning meetings. Teachers continually reconsider the appropriateness of what they have organised. Their interactions with children promote conversations and thinking about social behaviours, and possible related play. Strengthening the consistency of high-level questioning is required in order that teachers can respond more spontaneously to extend learning through play. Children are able to learn and explore alongside and with others.

Children’s learning opportunities and participation in activities are recorded digitally and shared online with parents and whānau. This information is well received by many parents and whānau. Areas of assessment for teachers to strengthen include the recording of individual children’s interests, strengths and dispositions. Inclusion of children’s language, culture and identity, their voice and opportunities to reflect on their learning are also needed to enrich documented assessments. This will assist teachers to plan for individual children’s learning needs. Children build a strong sense of belonging that is appreciated by parents.

Relationships with parents and children are strong, caring and promote wellbeing. Interactions are sensitive and responsive. Good use is made of redirection and positive guidance to promote engagement and manage challenging behaviour. Teachers use practices that are inclusive of the number of different cultures of children attending the centre. Children enjoy and benefit from the challenges and opportunities provided, and are developing the skills to become confident and competent learners.

Transitions of children within the centre are well considered, discussed and monitored with families. Transition to school involves teachers working with parents, children and the nearby primary school. Through self review, teachers have strengthened and individualised practices for children moving to different areas within the centre. Children are developing a sense of wellbeing during their time at the centre.

Children up to the age of two develop strong, positive relationships with staff. Their individual care needs are well met. The environment is spacious, well resourced, and flexibly organised to meet the needs of young children. Good daily discussions are held to maintain a strong home/centre partnership and to ensure that children’s care needs are considered. The ratio of teachers promotes a small group size so that strong, quality interactions can be fostered.

Children with additional needs are being well supported in their care and education. Teachers plan daily activity to stimulate and encourage exploration. They undertake inclusive practices and work with parents and agencies to identify plans to support meeting their needs. Oral language development is promoted through frequent conversations and responses made to children’s non-verbal communication. These approaches are well monitored and discussed regularly with parents. Children with additional needs are encouraged to participate fully in all aspects of the programme alongside their peers.

Bicultural practices are in the early stages of development in centre life. Teachers are taking increasing responsibility to improve and further their knowledge and understanding of bicultural practices and language. Centre management is supporting by providing external guidance. Activities and events, such as Matariki and opportunities to waiata, are held to involve children and the wider community. There is more work to do on integrating and weaving Māori language and culture more spontaneously in programmes and throughout the environment. Strengthening and embedding bicultural practices and resources is needed to give all children a better understanding of New Zealand’s cultural heritage.

The centre manager and principal have worked well to consolidate positive working relationships amongst staff. All staff work closely together to build stronger partnerships for learning and strengthening their capability. A performance management process has been identified to meet Education Council requirements. Given the changes in staffing the process is in the early stages of being embedded.

Management offers centre wide and individual professional learning opportunities for teachers. The principal, who is responsible for the four centres is not always on site, therefore there is a need for management to consider how they can better ensure desired practices are consistently implemented. This includes strengthening ongoing feedback for teachers about their practice. Managers and leaders are ensuring that the centre is operating smoothly and efficiently to promote positive learning opportunities for children and supporting staff.

Regular, useful self review is undertaken by management and staff. These include formal examples about organisational matters, the curriculum reviews linked to the annual plan, and frequent spontaneous reviews related to learning and teaching. Evaluation of outcomes needs strengthening to more consistently include indicators of good practice. Self review can be furthered strengthened with a consistent alignment and focus on positive learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre management have identified the need to further strengthen:

  • strategies to build and implement high quality professional practices

  • processes for the inclusion and visibility of bicultural practices

  • to make children’s learning and assessment more visible

  • self-review practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Above & Beyond Te Puke Ltd 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 Above & Beyond Te Puke Ltd will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

18 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

Te Puke

Ministry of Education profile number

46849

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

45 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

53

Gender composition

Boys 29 Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Indian
Other

12
35
3
3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

18 October 2017

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 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.