Christopher and Robin Early Childhood Centre - 25/01/2015

1. Evaluation of Christopher and Robin Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Christopher and Robin Early Childhood 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

Christopher and Robin Early Childhood Centre is located in a commercial area in Raumanga on the outskirts of Whangarei. It caters for children from birth to school age in a spacious and well maintained facility. The centre provides nutritious meals for children, including breakfast and a late afternoon tea for those remaining at the centre until 5.30pm. The majority of children attending the centre are either Māori or Pākehā.

The centre is divided into two separate areas, one for infants and toddlers, and one for preschool children. Both areas have their own outdoor space with equipment, resources and teaching approaches appropriate for the ages and stages of children. Younger children transition through to the preschool area when they are ready from two years upwards.

The centre philosophy is based on Christian beliefs, and values of acceptance, generosity, reflection and respect. The two rooms operate using carefully selected early childhood educational approaches for the different age groups. Infants and toddlers experience calm, relaxed and respectful approaches inspired by Magda Gerber. Approaches used for older children are based on the Reggio Emilia theories and practices. Teachers are well qualified and most are fully registered or are training for their qualifications. Along with capable centre leaders, they ensure that teaching and learning approaches meet the individual needs of all children.

In November 2014 the centre changed ownership. Until this time the centre had been owned and operated by the same experienced owner/director since it opened in 2008. This long serving centre director has been contracted by the new owners to remain in the centre for 12 months to ensure a smooth transition to new ownership. The 2011 ERO report identified many positive aspects in the centre that continue to be evident.

The Review Findings

Children are settled, calm and confident in their centre environment. They have positive interactions with their teachers and are kind and friendly to each other. Babies and toddlers benefit from having a primary caregiver, and from teachers whose approaches are gentle, inclusive and unhurried. As a result, younger children have a strong sense of security and are confident to engage with other adults and children. Older children are equally confident. They experience long periods of uninterrupted play and have ready access to good quality equipment and resources.

Teachers are highly skilled and plan learning programmes based on their knowledge and understanding of how each child best learns, and on children’s individual interests, talents and gifts. These personalised approaches are well balanced by group projects that provide very good opportunities for older children to be further challenged and extended.

Teachers carefully integrate elements of science, mathematics, literacy, technology and the Arts into project work. They use children’s learning stories as a planning tool to revisit children’s key learning experiences and identify their strengths. Parents are well engaged in the programme and have trusting relationships with teachers. As a consequence of these good practices, children are highly engaged in their learning.

Teachers affirm Māori children’s language, culture and identity throughout the programme. Some teachers are particularly confident and skilled in using te reo Māori and promoting Māori concepts. Centre leaders are now keen to further promote a bicultural focus in all aspects of the centre’s curriculum design and delivery. They are also keen to promote a greater connection between the Reggio Emilia and Magda Gerber philosophies that underpin practices for the two different age groups. Leaders believe, and ERO agrees, that this next step would provide even better transition for children as they move through the centre.

Teachers intentionally foster children’s language development and use open-ended questioning that allows children to express their ideas, thoughts and opinions. Children also have meaningful learning experiences from well planned trips to places beyond the centre.

Teachers are respected and valued as highly professional educators. The experienced centre director is committed to promoting positive outcomes for children and to continually improving educators’ learning. She is generous with time and resourcing to promote teachers’ professional knowledge and to grow teachers as leaders throughout the centre. The director, very capable team leaders and teachers work collaboratively to promote ongoing change and improvement. This good work includes teachers reflecting on and critiquing their own practice.

The centre’s strategic plan is clearly aligned to teacher appraisal goals and professional learning provisions. Leaders and teachers understand and use self review very well to improve the service. As part of this improvement, centre leaders have identified that an important further development is to further promote partnerships with parents, including with whānau Māori. This would allow staff to incorporate the aspirations and goals that parents and whānau have for their children into the centre’s strategic planning.

Key Next Steps

The centre director, leaders and ERO agree that, in order to sustain the centre’s high quality and clear vision for the centre, key next steps for the centre include:

  • documenting the expectations that leaders have for high quality leadership and teaching practices
  • formalising goals for promoting Māori success and for promoting shared leadership approaches by documenting these clearly in the centre’s strategic plan.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Christopher and Robin Early Childhood 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 Christopher and Robin Early Childhood Centre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 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

Raumanga, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

25405

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

73

Gender composition

Girls 38

Boys 35

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other

42

26

5

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

1:9

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

25 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

September 2011

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.