Discoverys Learning Centre - 13/04/2016

1 Evaluation of Discoverys Learning Centre

How well placed is Discoverys 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

Discoverys Learning Centre is a privately owned service located in Mairangi Bay on Auckland’s North Shore. It is licensed for full day care and education for 40 children, including up to 10 infants and toddlers under the age of two years. The centre has two specified areas for children that are separately staffed. Children over-two and under-two each have their own indoor and outdoor environment.

The current owner has reviewed and updated the centre’s philosophy and, consequently, made changes to centre environments. The effect of these changes has been to create a more holistic and natural place for children. The furnishings, fixtures and materials chosen create a sense of homeliness and tranquillity.

The owner has restructured staffing since the previous ERO review in 2013. A centre manager has been appointed to guide the centre through this period of change. An early childhood management company continues to support the quality and development of the centre’s systems and operations. All centre staff are qualified and registered early childhood teachers.

The centre’s 2013 ERO report recommended that teaching practice become more aligned to the centre’s philosophy, and that professional learning for staff include work on building cultural competencies for supporting children’s learning. The report further noted the need for learning programmes to extend children’s opportunities for creative, imaginative and complex play.

The centre’s owner and teachers responded promptly to these issues and they have been well addressed. The centre has moved forward in a progressive and positive way to provide high quality care and education for children and their families.

The Review Findings

The centre’s philosophy reflects Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, blended with the Reggio Emilia approach that promotes children as creative, capable and competent learners. The curriculum also includes some good quality aspects of bicultural teaching and learning. Assessment and programme planning support the centre’s philosophy. Individual and group learning records include detailed analysis of children’s learning and how it relates to Te Whāriki.

Children’s work and ideas are valued and respected. Children are given many opportunities to explore meaningful learning. They enjoy cooperative, collaborative play that is sustained for prolonged periods. Literacy and mathematics are integrated into their play activities. Teachers are skilled in developing children’s language skills and critical thinking. They engage children in open-ended conversations to extend their learning experiences.

Centre routines are unhurried and have benefited from the change in centre philosophy and teaching approaches. Children under two years are well cared for in their area, which has a gentle and calm ambience. Children feel confident and secure. Parents of babies and toddlers report high levels of satisfaction with the individualised care teachers provide for their children.

Children’s learning is documented electronically, giving parents increased opportunities for contributing to and participating in their child’s learning pathway. The future development of a digital learning community is part of the centre’s strategic thinking.

Teacher registration, professional development and appraisal are used effectively to enhance teacher capability. Teachers are given opportunities to learn from professional providers and to set goals to improve their own practice. The Education Council audit that was undertaken during this ERO review endorsed the centre’s practice and outcomes in these areas.

Self review is working usefully as a valuable method of enhancing the quality of the centre’s programmes and systems. Strategic and annual planning are clearly documented. Shared leadership among staff ensures that professional capability is being built. There is an ethos of continuous improvement in the centre’s goal-setting and vision for the future.  

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agreed on the following as developmental areas to improve and sustain the centre’s future performance:

  • inclusion of Treaty of Waitangi partnership in the centre’s philosophy statement
  • continuing to build te reo me ōna tikanga Māori through professional development for all staff
  • continuing to build a family and whānau learning community through the successful implementation of digital technologies
  • continuing to bring children’s learning dispositions and skills to the foreground in both planning and assessment practice. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

13 April 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

Mairangi Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10276

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

51

Gender composition

Boys      29
Girls       22

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Filipino
South African
others

  3
17
22
  3
  2
  4

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

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

13 April 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

April 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.