Country Kidz - 30/08/2017

1 Evaluation of Country Kidz

How well placed is Country Kidz 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

Country Kidz Early Learning Centre is a community-based, not-for-profit service. It operates a mixed-age programme in the grounds of the old Mokai School site. The centre is licensed to provide education and care for 40 children, including up to 10 aged under two years. At the time of this review the roll of 34 children included five of Māori descent. There were no children under two years of age. The centre licence has been changed to include extended hours effective from term 3, 2017. This change is in response to the ongoing sustainability of the service, community needs and aspirations.

The centre is an incorporated society, governed by a committee of volunteer, elected parent trustees. The committee is made up of a number of experienced members, including the licensee. Since the ERO report of 2015, a new board chairperson has been elected and centre leadership has remained constant. There has been a number of changes in staff, including the administrator and some teachers.

The 2015 ERO report identified areas for development relating to:

  • the centre’s philosophy and programme

  • strategic planning and direction

  • expectations of teaching practice, including interactions with, and supervision of, children

  • assessment, planning and evaluation practices

  • strategies to inform and consult with parents about their child’s learning

  • aspects of health and safety.

To address these areas, the centre has participated in ongoing professional development, including support from the Ministry of Education. Significant progress is evident in the areas of philosophy review, professional leadership of learning and curriculum, health and safety and parent partnership. Trustees have continued to build their knowledge and understanding of centre operations and governance.

The philosophy expresses the aim to provide quality, child-led, learning opportunities for younger children and their families in a rural setting.

The Review Findings

The Ministry of Education (MoE) and the professional development provider have provided effective guidance and support to help the service address the areas for development identified in the 2015 ERO report. In addition, ERO acknowledges the commitment of the governance committee, the centre manager and staff in participating in professional development to continue to develop and improve centre operations and practices.

Positive improvements include:

  • A collegial and professional teaching team work collaboratively to provide responsive education and care for children.

  • A shared and agreed philosophy promoting consistent and positive expectations for children based on current theory and best practice in early childhood education.

  • Effective and shared leadership.

  • Improved planning and evaluation resulting in a curriculum that promotes children's learning, development and social skills.

  • Parents and children are able to share and revisit learning together, celebrate success and contribute their voice to the learning process.

  • Systems and processes that support the provision of a safe and healthy environment for teachers and children.

Children participate in a rich and interesting curriculum with an emphasis on:

  • exploration, particularly in the natural environment surrounding the centre

  • problem solving and physical challenge

  • meaningful, real-life contexts for learning

  • developing social and communication skills through positive respectful relationships

  • making choices from a wide variety of good quality materials and equipment.

Routines are flexible and responsive to children's learning and care needs and promote long periods of sustained play. Children engage in complex learning and play in activities of their choice. They demonstrate high levels of wellbeing, belonging and confidence as they work alongside responsive adults. Children are building their understanding and use of literacy, mathematics, natural science and emotional intelligence through holistic learning opportunities and the guidance of knowledgeable teachers. Children freely access an appropriate variety of different media to express their creativity throughout the day.

Māori children benefit from the respect shown for their culture and the inclusion of te reo and tīkanga Māori throughout the day. Children celebrate Matariki and participate in the Tūwharetoa cultural festival each year. There are regular opportunities for children to share waiata and karakia together at appropriate times.

The teaching team has established a collegial and collaborative team culture. ERO observed teaching practice that consistently demonstrated:

  • deliberate and unhurried responses to children's ideas, interests and needs

  • strategies that empower children as competent decision makers and leaders of their learning

  • in-depth understanding of the value of play-based learning and exploration

  • well-planned and attractive environments that engage children in learning

  • positive and reciprocal partnerships with whānau, families and the community.

These practices contribute to positive outcomes for children's learning and care.

Trustees are dedicated to the provision of a high-quality education and care service that reflects the aspirations of the Mokai community. The centre is benefitting from improved understanding and implementation of effective governance practices. Trustees bring a useful range of skills and experience to their roles. They are working in a positive, professional relationship with the centre manager, staff, children and their families. Trustees agree that formalising expectations for induction and succession planning as members join the committee, and developing and maintaining an operations manual would contribute to centre sustainability. ERO is confident that the centre is in a good position to continue to improve and sustain positive learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

As identified in the ERO 2015 report there continues to be a need for trustees to:

  • strengthen teachers appraisal process in order to meet Education Council requirements and recommendations

  • make greater use of MoE and ERO criteria for best practice to add rigour to internal evaluation

  • ensure the privacy of personal information is maintained in centre reports, minutes and documentation.

Leaders and teachers should continue to:

  • explore ways to further include integrate the aims and aspirations of local iwi and hapū to enrich the curriculum and children's learning and discovery.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Country Kidz 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 Country Kidz will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

30 August 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

Mokai

Ministry of Education profile number

45431

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

34

Gender composition

Boys 19 Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā

5
29

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

30 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

July 2015

Education Review

November 2012

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.