Earth Kids Childcare Centre - 25/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Earth Kids Childcare Centre

How well placed is Earth Kids Childcare 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

Earth Kids provides full-day education and care for children from birth to school age in a mixed age group setting. The centre is family owned and operated and is situated in a rural area of Welcome Bay in Tauranga. The centre management is shared by the two owners. The centre is licensed for 35 children, including six up to the age of two years. Currently there are 54 children on the roll, including 17 who identify as Māori.

The centre philosophy is family-based and inclusive of all children and whānau. The bi-cultural focus recognises the uniqueness of New Zealand, as teachers apply the principles of Te Tirity o Waitangi into the programme. Environmental sustainability is an important focus of the programme.

Since the centre opened in 2015 there has been significant roll growth. This has resulted in the need to extend the centre's license and employ extra teaching staff.

This is the centres first ERO review.

The Review Findings

Teachers have a strong commitment to establishing and maintaining reciprocal and positive relationships for children and their families. They prepare a well-designed learning environment where children’s interests and strengths are built on. This promotes opportunities for children to learn alongside each other at their own pace, including those with diverse needs. Communication with parents encourages them to take an active role in centre life and provides them with opportunities to have input into the programme. Collaborative teaching practice promotes a culture where children are valued and affirmed.

Children up to the age of two benefit from nurturing interactions. The design of the learning space allows young children to explore the environment in a safe, secure and calm way. Their communication skills are enhanced by teachers' deliberate use of rich language through responsive and engaging relationships. Children are encouraged to become increasingly knowledgeable and capable self-managing learners.

A special feature of the centre is the extensive farm-like environment. There are many opportunities for children to care for the centre's animals and to grow produce that is shared with the local community. The mixed age environment effectively promotes tuakana-teina relationships. All areas of play are visible and accessible to children. Children benefit from a fun, stimulating, and engaging learning area.

Māori children benefit from many experiences and opportunities to learn about te ao Māori. Tikanga and te reo practices such as waiata and karakia, are integrated into the programme, and Māori culture and language is visible throughout the environment. Children are supported to increasingly build their knowledge and understanding of the uniqueness of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The curriculum strongly reflects a play-based approach to learning. There is an emphasis on child-directed learning experiences that promote social competence and independence. Literacy and numeracy learning is well-embedded authentically into aspects the curriculum. Transition processes are individualised and developed to meet the needs of the children and their families. A feature of the programme is the bush learning programme 'Beyond the Fence' which effectively promotes the outside curriculum as a rich learning experience. Children experience a rich curriculum where they are listened to and encouraged to become confident and successful learners and explorers.

Leaders empower teachers to take responsibility and lead aspects of the centre programme. Extensive professional learning and development supports teachers to build their capability and enhance practice. Leaders have established a culture in which children are first and foremost valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning.

The processes governing the centre are undergoing further development. The services philosophy and commitment to environmental sustainability are well-embedded in centre operations. Current governance systems have been developed in response to the rapid growth of the centre. There is a need to strengthen self review, including ensuring that all policies are fully implemented. A shared understanding for effective centre operations among owners and teachers is likely to further enhance the centre's commitment to providing positive outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree that there is a need to strengthen strategic planning and key operational procedures. This should include strengthening and aligning teacher appraisal and self-review processes

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Earth Kids Childcare 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 Earth Kids Childcare Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

25 October 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

Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

46813

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

35 children, including up to 6 aged under 2

Service roll

54

Gender composition

Girls 20 Boys 34

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

14
24
16

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

August 2017

Date of this report

25 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

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.