Ecokids Early Childhood Education - 30/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Ecokids Early Childhood Education

How well placed is Ecokids Early Childhood Education 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

Ecokids Early Childhood Education is a privately owned early learning service based in Raureka, Hastings. It is licensed to provide all-day education and care for 49 children, including 10 up to the age of two. The centre is divided into two areas with infants and toddlers in one and older children in the other.

The service has an environmental sustainability focus. Its philosophy emphasises the value of holistic learning that is responsive to individual children, supported by meaningful relationships with children and families.

Strategic direction and management of the centre is undertaken by a leadership team comprising the co-owner, head teacher and recently appointed assistant head teacher. At the time of this report there are six qualified staff and three teachers in training.

The service has progressed the key next steps outlined in ERO's June 2014 report.

The Review Findings

Children engage in a play-based curriculum grounded in Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and the centre philosophy. They have uninterrupted time to explore, investigate and develop their social skills. The curriculum is aligned to children's individual interests, strengths and needs. Literacy, numeracy and science are effectively woven into the programme. Children demonstrate confidence and curiosity.

The well-resourced, spacious environment strongly reflects the service's sustainability focus. Resources are largely open-ended, promoting children's creativity and supporting their interests. Children's sense of belonging is enhanced by seeing photos of themselves and their learning stories displayed within the centre. 

Children engage with te ao Māori resources including poi, waiata, kapa haka and pūrākau. Adults' use of te reo Māori and understanding of tikanga is developing. Teachers should continue to strengthen the implementation of curriculum that enhances children's connection to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa.

Teachers work alongside children, developing respectful relationships with them. Infants and toddlers are free to explore and are promptly responded to by primary care teachers. Children with additional learning needs are well supported. Families and external agencies work alongside staff to plan and implement positive learning experiences for them.

Teachers use a range of approaches to assess children's learning. Portfolios record their participation in the programme. Children's progress towards their learning goals is regularly monitored and reflected on as part of the centre's assessment, planning and evaluation cycle. Leaders and teachers should continue to strengthen this process by:

  • clearly identifying what children are learning within learning stories

  • evaluating the impact of their practice on children's learning

  • increasing acknowledgement of children's cultures, languages and identities

  • more purposefully responding to parent aspirations.

The service has built strong relationships with children, parents and whānau. Leaders and teachers continue to expand their understanding of what educational success looks like for Māori and Pacific children. Creating meaningful learning partnerships with parents and whānau is a key next step.

Teachers are well supported to grow their practice. Emergent leadership is encouraged across the service. Managers regularly provide feedback, challenge thinking and access professional learning opportunities for staff. They have a strong commitment to teaching and learning that contributes to positive outcomes for children.

A wide range of planned and spontaneous self review is regularly undertaken. The service is developing an internal evaluation framework and shared understanding of how regular evaluation contributes to improved outcomes for children. A next step is for teachers and leaders to move from reflecting on what is being done, to determining the effectiveness of practice, and its impact on children’s learning.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified that the key next steps are to further develop:

  • a bicultural curriculum

  • the assessment, planning and evaluation cycle

  • learning partnerships with parents and whānau

  • internal evaluation. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Ecokids Early Childhood Education 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 Ecokids Early Childhood Education will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

30 June 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

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

45858

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

49 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

44

Gender composition

Girls 28, Boys 16

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

14
25
5

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

June 2014

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.