Albany Kindergarten - 05/02/2015

1. Evaluation of Albany Kindergarten

How well placed is Albany 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

Albany Kindergarten in Auckland, provides high quality education and care for up to 40 children over two years of age. The kindergarten operates as a ‘kindergarten day model’ which enables children to attend sessions similar to school hours. It also offers a holiday programme during school breaks. The kindergarten is staffed by three full time teachers, two part time teachers and an administrator. All teaching staff are qualified and experienced.

The Kindergarten is part of the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association Manatōpū Kura Pūhou o Te Tai Tokerau (NAKA) and operates within the policies and management framework of this organisation. NAKA is governed by a motivated, well informed board with a clear strategic direction and a focus on continuous improvement. The Association continues to provide highly effective governance and management.

ERO’s 2011 report commented on teachers’ effective integration of key curriculum areas into the programme and their robust self review. Teachers’ high expectations were evident as was children’s enthusiastic engagement in complex learning activities. Since the 2011 ERO report there have been renovations to kindergarten facilities including the children’s bathroom, a Hundertwasser bottle wall and a deck area.

Teachers were highly responsive to the last ERO review. They continued to engage in professional development and strengthened documentation. Teachers’ philosophy is founded on relationships and a ‘culture of thinkers’. The kindergarten is part of the Enviroschools programme. Technology has been used to increase the ways that children’s learning is shared with families and whānau. A kindergarten blog has been developed and online portfolios have been introduced. Teachers have also developed Transition to School assessment portfolios for children moving on to school. These make connections between Te Whāriki and The New Zealand Curriculum in schools.

This review was part of a cluster of four reviews in the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children learn in a stimulating learning environment that reflects teachers’ commitment to kindergarten families, environmental sustainability and te ao Māori. The influence of the Reggio Emilia view of the environment being viewed as a third teacher is evident. Visual arts have a high profile and are use effectively to reflect the cultural diversity of the kindergarten. Children choose from exciting, inviting and thoughtfully resourced areas that inspire child-initiated learning and support sustained play. Children are curious and confident, with a strong sense of belonging and enthusiasm for learning.

Teachers’ respectful and supportive interactions build on children’s ideas and interests in play and discussion. Their use of open-ended questions and sustained conversations promote children’s independent thinking and problem solving abilities. Literacy, mathematics and science are skilfully integrated into meaningful activities. Children’s creativity through music and art is nurtured. The frequent use of information communication technologies (ICT) by teachers and children is a strength. Children play cooperatively, share ideas and are developing an appreciation of other points of view.

Genuinely child-directed learning is reflected in programme documents and children’s portfolios. Children’s ideas and parents’ aspirations are sought, valued and contribute to the planned programme. Highly informative assessment and planning documentation shows how children’s group and individual interests guide the programme. Children’s portfolios are highly valued, include parent contributions, and reflect children's learning journey and cultural backgrounds.

Teachers view all children as competent capable learners. They provide a high quality, inclusive programme that strongly reflects the principles of Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum and their teaching philosophy. Kindness, care and social responsibility are also curriculum priorities. Teachers have worked collaboratively with Māori whānau to acknowledge the place of Māori as tangata whenua and to nurture Māori children’s identity.

Robust systems for self review guide teaching practice and inform programme developments. Teachers are highly effective and self motivated. They constantly research and consider ways to promote positive outcomes for all children. These strengths result in the clear enactment of the kindergarten philosophy, vision and strategic plan.

There is a strong sense of mutual respect and trust between the Association and its kindergartens. The Association is very well informed about each kindergarten’s curriculum and how it reflects the local community context. Decisions about staff appointments are strategically made. Teaching services managers (TSMs) visit kindergartens regularly and provide professional advice and support. They encourage teachers to be innovative, engage in professional learning, and share knowledge within and outside the Association.

The Association has a strong commitment to bicultural practice and to embracing diversity. Teachers contribute to the Association’s systematic policy review cycle. The teacher appraisal process is currently under review. The Association has high expectations that all kindergartens will use evidence based teaching practices, will undertake effective self review, and will promote positive outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The teachers and the TSM have identified appropriate priorities for ongoing development and these could include continuing to:

  • explore the use of information communication technologies with children and families
  • enhance the teachers understanding about and integration of te ao Māori in the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern Select Region

5 February 2015

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

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5557

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

61

Gender composition

Boys 33, Girls 28

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

other Asian

other

4

39

5

4

3

6

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

NA

 
 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

5 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

September 2011

 

Education Review

September 2008

 

Education Review

June 2005

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.