City Impact Church Queenstown Early Childhood Centre - 23/02/2016

1 Evaluation of City Impact Church Queenstown Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is City Impact Church Queenstown 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

This Christian-based early childhood centre is one of three centres in New Zealand owned by the City Impact Church. It is a full-day service providing education and care for children from infancy to school age. Children and staff represent the diverse cultures found in Queenstown.

Children play and learn in a purpose-built centre. Infants and toddlers begin in one area then move into an older children’s room. However, children often mingle with siblings and other children in keeping with the centre’s wish to create a family-like setting.

The centre has a locally-based manager and lead teachers. Due to the shifting population in Queenstown, there have been ongoing staff changes. Most teachers are qualified and many are multilingual. The multilingual teachers play an important role in supporting children and families from other cultures.

The centre is attractive and well resourced. The imaginatively designed outdoor area is a special feature. This area has a variety of interesting structures, different surfaces and slopes, and inviting spaces for children to explore and play in.

The Christian character of the centre is strongly evident in the centre's environment and in the children’s learning.

The Review Findings

Children, including infants and toddlers, settle quickly on arrival and confidently approach their teachers and friends. Teachers greet families at the beginning and end of the day, and share what children have been doing and any other important information. ERO observed many caring and respectful interactions between teachers and children.

Through the day children play well with and alongside their friends. They are familiar with centre routines and expectations. Teachers ensure that these are flexible around children’s needs and what works best. Infants and toddlers are very well cared for and appear happy and settled.

Teachers are very responsive to children’s strengths, needs and interests. Most show skill in their ability to observe children closely and follow their lead in play. They make good use of planned and incidental moments for learning and conversations with the children. This includes making links with children’s lives at home and past learning experiences at the centre.

The centre’s philosophy emphasises the centre’s Christian character. It states each child will be seen as an individual and that teachers will provide a rich, 'fun' learning environment, where children can ‘explore, create, discover, contribute, choose and learn.’ This philosophy is very evident in practice.

Children enjoy rich early literacy, mathematics and science learning. This includes a strong focus on exploration and developing children’s understanding of the world around them. As the teachers work and play alongside children, they consciously extend the children’s language and challenge their thinking.

Children also benefit from frequent opportunities for music and dramatic play. Transitions between rooms and on to school are well planned. Older children enjoy small-group activities that help prepare them for school.

Planning for group learning is high quality. This has explicit links to Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum and the City Impact Church curriculum. This planning results in carefully chosen resources and activities to achieve the desired learning. It also takes into account individual and small-group interests. Plans are flexible and responsive to children’s emerging interests.

As a result of the many staff changes, planning for individual children was not well maintained. However, ERO found examples of well written learning stories. These captured an important learning moment, described how the teacher had supported this and might further extend the child.

Teachers frequently review different aspects of their work, including how they support children’s learning. These reviews have led to well informed change and improvements that have a direct impact on what happens for children each day.

This centre is very well managed. The centre manager has a sound understanding of best practice in early childhood. She has established efficient systems and practices and has high expectations of staff. She plays a pivotal role in building a culture of review and improvement. Centre reviews have had a strong focus on what is best for children and are of very good quality.

Policies and procedures are regularly reviewed to ensure that they reflect best practice. Efficient systems are in place to support staff to take all reasonable steps for children's safety and health.

City Impact Church has clear national goals and long-term plans for its early childhood centres. It would be constructive for the Queenstown centre to develop its own long and short-term (strategic and annual) plans that include national and local priorities. There also needs to be more formal reporting against plans.

As stated earlier, this centre has had ongoing staff changes. The manager has tried to address this and has good systems for inducting new staff. Currently, she provides strong professional leadership. In the longer term, this responsibility needs to be shared. To achieve this, the leadership capacity of other staff needs developing.

The system to appraise staff has recently been changed and improved. The new system is in the early stages of implementation.

Almost half of the teachers are provisionally registered. Over the last three years the quality of support they have received has been variable. A new and better system is being implemented this year. The centre manager needs an ongoing system to assure her that appraisals and support for provisionally registered teachers are of a high standard.

Key Next Steps

Aspects of individual planning could be improved. Teachers need to better record parents’ wishes for their children’s learning and how teachers have responded to these. Some records need to better document the strategies teachers use to support children’s learning. Evaluation of past planning should consider how effective these strategies have been.

While there were some good examples of teachers sharing aspects of Māori culture, including te reo Māori with children, this area needs to be strengthened.

Teachers are very inclusive and welcoming of the different cultures in the centre. The next steps are to explore how:

  • children’s learning could be enriched by this diversity
  • to best support children who are learning English as a second language.

Aspects of long and short-term planning and reporting could be improved (see above).

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of City Impact Church Queenstown 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 City Impact Church Queenstown Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

23 February 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

Queenstown

Ministry of Education profile number

80052

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

71

Gender composition

Girls: 27

Boys: 44

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Latin American

Asian

Other

3

48

12

5

3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

23 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

 

Education Review

November 2009

     

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.