Fernside Preschool Limited - 12/07/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Fernside Preschool, located near Rangiora, is a privately owned purpose-built facility that opened in 2009. The centre owners keep farm animals in nearby paddocks. The centre caters for 10 infants under the age of two years and 40 children over the age of two years. The centre’s overall philosophy focuses on providing a warm and caring environment.

The centre managers have developed effective systems and processes for the governance and management of the centre.

Positive features of this preschool are:

  • the welcoming and positive environment
  • the respectful interactions between children and adults
  • the spacious, interesting and challenging outdoor environment
  • the teaching strategies that engage children in learning.

Teachers provide programmes that reflect children’s interests and backgrounds. Children are also able to hear and use te reo Māori and other languages besides English. Some parents stay on and participate in the programme.

The next steps are to:

  • develop a strategic plan that aligns with and extends self-review practices
  • review and further develop assessment and programme planning practices
  • strengthen the appraisal process in order to continually extend the quality of teaching practice.

The centre is well managed. It provides clear procedures for staff that ensure the health and safety of children and adults. Teachers have regular opportunities for professional development.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Fernside Preschool was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atFernside Preschool.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

The centre philosophy focuses on providing an inclusive learning environment with high levels of respect. Relationships and interactions between children, families and teachers are valued. Children are encouraged to become independent and confident learners. A feature of the centre environment is its rural farm-like setting. There are many animals that children can have experiences with and care for.

Areas of strength

Responsive relationships

Children experience a sense of belonging in the centre. They have caring and positive relationships with centre staff. Teachers are encouraging and affirming with children. Parents are warmly welcomed into the centre and are encouraged to contribute to the programme. Teachers show an interest in children’s lives outside the centre. They have strong links with the local community that provides wider learning experiences for children. Teachers from the local school support the centre’s transition-to-school process for children and families.

The learning environment

Children have opportunities to learn in different ways. They benefit from a well-planned and resourced environment. They have many choices and a good range of learning opportunities in the spacious outside environment. Children seek out physical experiences that provide suitable challenges. They can use a variety of natural materials. They are encouraged to be creative and to share their ideas. Children learn to care for each other, for the environment and for the animals. Teachers display children’s work and provide useful information for parents.

Language development

Teachers use a range of skills to support children’s language development. They encourage children to communicate their thoughts, ideas and feelings. They are responsive to children’s verbal and non-verbal communication. Teachers make good use of children’s prior experiences to extend their language. Most children are able to hear and use te reo Māori throughout the programme. Some teachers use te reo Māori naturally in their conversations with children. Children enjoy the use of language through stories, rhymes, music, waiata and poems. Children and teachers enjoy participating in storytelling, music and movement together.

Social skills

Children have many opportunities to make choices and decisions about their learning. They generally play well with and alongside each other. ERO observed older children helping younger children in their play. Teachers ensure that children’s health needs are met. Children’s self-help skills are encouraged by teachers. Teachers model and support the development of children’s problem-solving and turn-taking skills. Children are aware of the centre’s expectations and teachers provide positive guidance to foster these.

Areas for development and review

Assessment

ERO identified that teachers are at the early stages of refining assessment and planning processes. In order to improve their processes, the next steps for the licensee and teachers are to:

  • identify what they need to do next to extend on children’s learning
  • find ways for further parent involvement in the assessment process.

Strategic planning and teacher appraisal

The licensee has a framework for annual planning and teacher appraisal. They now need to give priority to:

  • developing a strategic approach to the governance and management of centre operations
  • extending annual planning to focus more clearly on outcomes for children
  • strengthening the appraisal process to support teachers’ ongoing improvement of their teaching practices.

Self review

The licensee and head teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step for extending self review is to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes in improving children’s learning experiences.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long-term and systemic educational improvement.

Partnerships with Whānau of Māori Children in Early Childhood Services

As part of this review, ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • this service understands and values the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau, particularly when the child and whānau transition to the service
  • managers and educators have built relationships with whānau of Māori children
  • this service works in partnership with whānau of Māori children.

Although there were no Māori children enrolled in this service at the time of the review, teachers provide opportunities for children to hear and use te reo Māori. Children and teachers respond appropriately to basic tikanga Māori. Teachers are warm and welcoming to children and their families. Children experience caring and respectful relationships with each other and with adults. The licensee and teachers model and expect positive, respectful behaviours. ERO observed children’s high levels of participation in the programme.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Fernside Preschool completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

5. Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

Full day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 10 aged under two years of age

Roll number

116

Gender composition

Girls 63; Boys 53

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 116

Review team on site

May 2011

Date of this report

12 July 2011

Previous three ERO reports

New Service

To the Parents and Community of Fernside Preschool

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Fernside Preschool.

Fernside Preschool, located near Rangiora, is a privately owned purpose-built facility that opened in 2009. The centre owners keep farm animals in nearby paddocks. The centre caters for 10 infants under the age of two years and 40 children over the age of two years. The centre’s overall philosophy focuses on providing a warm and caring environment.

The centre managers have developed effective systems and processes for the governance and management of the centre.

Positive features of this preschool are:

  • the welcoming and positive environment
  • the respectful interactions between children and adults
  • the spacious, interesting and challenging outdoor environment
  • the teaching strategies that engage children in learning.

Teachers provide programmes that reflect children’s interests and backgrounds. Children are also able to hear and use te reo Māori and other languages besides English. Some parents stay on and participate in the programme.

The next steps are to:

  • develop a strategic plan that aligns with and extends self-review practices
  • review and further develop assessment and programme planning practices
  • strengthen the appraisal process in order to continually extend the quality of teaching practice.

The centre is well managed. It provides clear procedures for staff that ensure the health and safety of children and adults. Teachers have regular opportunities for professional development.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region