Dyer Street Kindergarten - 10/09/2015

1 Evaluation of Dyer Street Kindergarten

How well placed is Dyer Street Kindergarten 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

Dyer Street Kindergarten provides education and care for children from two to five years of age. Older children attend six hour sessions three days a week and two morning sessions are available for younger children. The kindergarten is licensed for 50 children. Members of the teaching team are fully qualified and the programme is further assisted by support staff. The kindergarten has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The August 2012 ERO report identified areas requiring further development. These included assessment, planning and evaluation, self review, appraisal and Māori perspectives in the programme. Progress is evident in some areas and teachers remain committed to strengthening their practice.

The kindergarten is governed by the Hutt City Kindergarten Association (the association). Two professional practice managers (PPMs) are employed by the association to provide professional support and guidance to teachers. Since the previous ERO review there have been several changes of General Manager.

This review was part of a cluster of nine kindergarten reviews in the Hutt City Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children learn and play in a positive, caring and stimulating environment. They are supported to develop confidence and a sense of belonging. Children are encouraged to lead their learning, experiment, make choices and engage in creative play. Literacy and numeracy is a strong focus and teachers appropriately integrate these curriculum areas into children’s play. Teachers work respectfully alongside children. They know them well within the context of their family and engage in conversations about things that have meaning to the child.

Teachers respond well to support children who have additional learning needs, such as oral language. They work collaboratively with families and external agencies to promote children’s progress and success.

The indoor environment is well considered and set up with a wide range of resources which children can easily access. Teachers continue to explore ways to develop the outdoor environment so that it can better support children’s exploration and nature-based learning.

Teachers have reviewed aspects of their assessment and planning practice. They have begun to make some changes, such as placing records of children’s learning where children can easily revisit them. Families are encouraged to regularly contribute to documented conversations about their children’s learning.

Teachers observe children at play and share with one another what they have noticed about children’s interests. They plan together how they will respond to group interests. A next step is to strengthen how teachers make judgements about significant individual learning and records of deliberate teaching strategies that extends learning. The kindergarten team have appropriately identified this should include children’s language, culture and identity. ERO and teachers agree that it is timely to redevelop the information provided to families about curriculum and assessment.

Bicultural practices are increasingly integrated into the curriculum. Teachers show a commitment to developing their skills to use te reo Māori and their understanding of te ao Māori. They should continue to develop their understanding of how they will promote success for Māori in this context. Pacific and other cultures are reflected in resources. Strengthening the presence of children's’ diverse cultures in the curriculum is an appropriately identified goal for 2015-2016.

Positive relationships between the kindergarten staff and local schools support successful transitions for children and their families. A homework programme for older students has been a part of the kindergarten programme for several years. ERO and teachers agree it is timely to review how well this strategy enhances children’s learning and transition to school. This review should include links to current best practice and examine different ways that teachers and parents can respond to children’s individual learning interests and needs.

An experienced head teacher leads a reflective and improvement-focused staff team. Teachers regularly and collaboratively discuss children’s learning and wellbeing. Opportunities for teachers to take responsibility for leadership are provided.

With the support of an external facilitator, the team has been developing their use of self review to inform improvements. A good framework is in place. A recent review of assessment practice and literacy identified some useful areas for development. Teachers should continue to strengthen and embed their evaluative self review practice by ensuring clear documentation of their analysis and resulting actions.

The association is part way through the implementation of a new approach to appraisal. Once fully established this should assist leaders to provide a robust, supportive and developmental process. Professional practice managers should then undertake regular monitoring of how well appraisal is being implemented in each kindergarten.

The board receives a range of useful information. A key next step is for leaders to provide more evaluative reporting to assist in decision making and ongoing resourcing. The strategic plan provides a vision and shared direction to guide development. Establishing clearer measures of success should strengthen evaluation of progress towards goals. In addition, strategies that promote cultural responsiveness to Māori and Pacific families should be highlighted in strategic documents.

The PPMs provide half-yearly written reports. These provide information about how the kindergarten is meeting legislative requirements, and at times, make recommendations.

These reports should be strengthened by providing critical feedback on the quality of teaching and the effectiveness of the curriculum in improving outcomes for children.

The association provides guidance and support to teachers for continuous improvement of teaching and learning. This includes:

  • a useful framework and clear expectations, that guide kindergarten operations and support the services to meet legislative and health and safety requirements
  • opportunities for professional learning and development for staff
  • sound support for provisionally registered teachers.

At the time of this review the association was involved in a process of a formal review to determine the future direction of Hutt City Kindergartens. ERO identified that within the current operating model the capacity of senior staff to provide targeted support that promotes ongoing improvement to teaching and learning is limited.

Key Next Steps

ERO identified that priorities for improvement should include:

  • continuing to review and develop assessment and planning processes
  • developing evaluative self-review practice
  • continuing teacher professional development to support success for Māori and Pacific children and to better reflect cultural diversity of families represented in the kindergarten.

The association should:

  • strengthen the measures used to evaluate the progress of the strategic plan
  • provide evaluative reports to support decision making
  • at a strategic level, identify strategies to promote cultural responsiveness to Māori and Pacific families
  • monitor each kindergarten to ensure the robust implementation of the appraisal process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Dyer Street Kindergarten 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 Dyer Street Kindergarten will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

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

Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

5327

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, aged over two years

Service roll

78

Gender composition

Girls 45, Boys 33

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnic groups

  9

35

  9

21

  4

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2015

Date of this report

10 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

August 2012

Education Review

March 2009

Education Review

February 2006

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.