Aubrey Early Learning Centre - 04/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Aubrey Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Aubrey Early Learning Centre 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

Aubrey Early Learning Centre is located in a rural setting in Stillwater, Silverdale. Children have regular opportunities to be involved in farm experiences. The centre provides good quality education and care for infants, toddlers and children up to the age of five years of age. Full-day and sessional options are available for children.

Creating a community of learners that includes teachers, children and whānau is central to the core values of the centre. Respect, care for the environment, and child-initiated play underpin the centre’s philosophy. Staff enact the philosophy in their practices. Education and care is guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, with aspects of the Reggio Emilia philosophy also being included.

The attractive purpose-built centre is privately owned. Building and facility upgrades have taken place since the 2013 ERO report, and a new separate building for infants and toddlers is currently under construction.

The owner is an experienced teacher and is supported by a dedicated head teacher. Four of the centre’s teachers are fully registered and two teachers are provisionally registered. The staff have worked as a team since the centre opened.

The centre has responded positively to recommendations in the 2013 ERO report. Positive relationships between parents and teachers continue to be a strong feature of the centre.

The Review Findings

Children are settled, happy and demonstrate a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging. The centre is community focused and children and their families are warmly welcomed. Whānau highly value the nurturing respectful relationships that their children experience.

Children are friendly, articulate and competent learners. They are focused and engaged in learning, and readily sustain their uninterrupted play. Parents appreciate many aspects of the centre’s services. They are pleased with the opportunities children have to mix together and develop their social skills.

Teachers work collaboratively to bring about centre-wide improvements. They work alongside children to support and promote their learning. Some teachers use questioning strategies very effectively to extend children’s thinking and problem solving. The owner and head teacher agree that this good teaching practice needs to be consistent across the centre.

Children up to the age of two benefit from caring teachers who promote a calm and peaceful environment. Education and care routines are appropriately individualised. Younger children have easy access to a separate outside area for their own exploration and play. They also have access to another outside area where they can mix with older children.

Staff promote bicultural awareness through te reo Māori, group activities and festive celebrations. Centre leaders agree that increasing the visibility of Māori culture within the centre’s various learning areas and extending the use of te reo Māori should further strengthen the bicultural dimensions of teaching practice.

Children benefit from carefully planned and attractive centre environments that stimulate their interest and involvement in the programme. They have easy access to indoor areas and to the spacious, very well presented outdoor play areas. Learning environments offer challenge and opportunity for children to explore. The centre’s rural location is a focus for regular excursions, including excursions to farming-based locations.

Teachers meet regularly to plan activities and select resources that are well matched to children’s interests and developmental stages. They also use topicbased investigations to enhance children’s learning.

Children’s electronic portfolios are well used by families to easily access information about their children’s learning and to provide feedback to teachers. As a next step, teachers should now work to ensure each child’s learning journey shows progress and success over time and reflects their own cultural identity.

The centre has close links to local primary schools and children are well supported by a highly effective transition programme as they prepare for the move to school. Children with additional learning needs are well supported in their learning. External support is provided when required.

Governance and management is efficient and effective. The purpose of self review is well understood. Established systems, policies and procedures are consistently implemented and regularly monitored. The owner and head teacher work collaboratively together and provide a variety of professional development opportunities for teachers. It would now be timely to evaluate the impact of these professional development opportunities on teaching practice.

Key Next Steps

The owner and head teacher agree that staff are now well placed to:

  • review centre philosophy and practices with a view to ensuring that bicultural perspectives are highly evident and that the centre’s identity continues to be reflected in these documents and practices as the community changes overtime
  • strengthen the performance management process and evaluate the impact of professional development in terms of its improvement on teaching practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Aubrey Early Learning Centre 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 Aubrey Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

4 March 2016

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

Stillwater, Silverdale

Ministry of Education profile number

25370

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

38 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll

62

Gender composition

Boys 32 Girls 30

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

62

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

4 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2013

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.