Gumboots Early Learning Centre - 07/06/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Gumboots Early Learning Centre is located in the semi-rural community of Helensville. It is owned and managed by the licensee and provides care and education for up to 70 children, including 22 under two years of age.

Children are busy and happily participate in the wide range of activities the centre offers. Activities are designed to capture children’s interest, encourage movement and allow for individual or group exploration. The centre’s rural flavour is evident in activities which include growing fruit and vegetables and watching domestic animals in the fields adjacent to the centre Children could also benefit from more opportunities to learn about the diverse ethnicities and cultures that are represented in the centre. This would affirm their growing sense of identity and help them to appreciate other cultures..

Families express satisfaction with their children’s care and learning and the support they receive from centre staff. Parents are encouraged to help their children to smoothly transition into the centre. There is good communication with parents and relationships between parents and staff are positive and warm. Parents particularly enjoy working alongside their children during centre trips and excursions.

Teachers are highly skilled at building warm relationships with children. They are thoughtful and responsive to children. As a result, children are open and trusting with staff. Teachers are adept at encouraging children to develop useful social and problem-solving skills. Teachers are benefitting from ongoing internal and external professional development that is improving their teaching practices. Given their growing knowledge of te reo Māori and local Māori history, it would be timely for teachers to consider how to extend their capability to support Māori children to succeed as Māori.

The licensee and the centre manager’s professional and collaborative approach supports the effective management of the centre. Together, they have built trusting relationships with their leadership team and provide good encouragement and support for staff. Developing strategic planning would help to guide the centre’s longer term developments. It would also provide a foundation for improving the scope and quality of centre self review.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Gumboots Early Learning Centre 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 atGumboots Early Learning Centre.

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

At the time of the 2007 ERO review, Gumboots Early Learning Centre was a new purpose-built centre, established initially for older children. Subsequently, it gained a second licence for 22 children under two years of age. In April 2012 the two licences were merged into one. This is the first ERO review under the Gumboots Early Learning Centre’s combined licence.

Well qualified staff and the centre’s good ratio of adults to children impact positively on the programme provided for children.

Areas of strength

Reflective planning. Teachers are reflective planners. They use assessment information to plan effectively for children’s ongoing learning.

Children’s wellbeing. Children are settled and engage well with the programme. There are clear guidelines which help children to understand teachers’ expectations for their behaviour. Staff are sensitive to children’s individual needs and preferences. They promote positive relationships and support children to develop independence and self-help skills and to play cooperatively.

Responsive interactions. Teachers carefully observe children’s participation in the programme and consistently prompt and develop children’s thinking and problem solving skills. Teachers’ respectful interactions with children foster trusting relationships and support children to make their own decisions.

Learning environment. The large indoor and outdoor spaces, and the extensive use of natural materials are positive features of the learning environment. All areas are readily accessible, well organised and resourced and engaging for children. Children move freely between the spaces.

Inclusive culture. Parents speak highly of the centre’s welcoming and inclusive climate. They work with teachers to help settle their children into the centre. New children have the opportunity to bond with the teachers they choose. Children’s transitions within, and between the centre and school, are very well managed.

Parent involvement. Teachers consistently encourage parents to attend centre events and excursions. Centre outings are a highlight for both parents and children, who enjoy the opportunity to learn alongside each other. Trusting and reciprocal relationships with staff are evident. The excellent relationships teachers have established with Māori parents have helped them to use more te reo Māori in the programme.

Social development. Children with varying dispositions and capabilities are well supported to develop social skills. Teachers give children individual support to help them share and talk about their learning. Children learn positive ways to manage their behaviour and to resolve conflict. This is helping them to develop worthwhile social skills.

Programme in action. The daily programme is broadly responsive to children’s interests and needs. Teachers are continuing to trial and adjust routines to better suit children. Teachers ensure that mat times are productive, and that children experience a smooth progression through the day and between different activities. Children are able to move between the different rooms to socialise with others and participate in more complex activities.

Leadership and management. The centre’s current annual plan covers all areas of operation and includes a focus on further developing the curriculum, personnel systems, and communication with parents. The licensee is regularly in the centre and provides strong leadership and stability for the teaching team. She works collaboratively with the centre manager and has developed a sound management structure. Leadership is distributed across staff within the centre. The licensee and manager are committed to continuing to build teacher capacity and support teachers to gain qualifications and become registered teachers.

Areas for development and review

Annual and strategic planning. While the centre has a useful and documented annual plan, the licensee and manager should now consider developing a strategic plan to guide the longer term development of the centre.

Self review. Ongoing informal reflection is currently used to review the running of the centre. ERO and centre managers agree that the centre’s self-review processes could be improved. It would be useful to begin this by:

  • developing more focussed and regular review of the centre’s progress towards achieving annual and longer terms goals
  • focussing reviews on outcomes for children
  • using feedback from staff and parents to inform self review and plans for improvement
  • keeping written records of self-review processes and outcomes.

Early childhood pedagogy. Teachers should develop a shared understanding of education theory and how children learn at the early stage of their development. This would assist them to plan, in a more coordinated way, for children’s different developmental stages.

Supporting Māori children. The excellent relationship teachers have established with Māori parents, the centre visits to watch kapa haka and the incorporation of te reo in the programme provide a sound foundation for further development. It is timely for the centre to develop a more deliberate focus on supporting Māori children to succeed as Māori. The Ministry of Education resource Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners would be one useful resource that teachers could use to guide their development and help them to review their progress. Teachers could also extend their knowledge of local Māori histories and use this to enhance the programme.

Supporting cultural diversity: Teachers should consider how they could give children a greater appreciation of diverse cultures. This could help to affirm the children’s own cultures and broaden their understanding of other cultures.

3. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Gumboots Early 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:

  • 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.

4. Recommendations

ERO and the centre managers agree that staff should improve self-review practices, and continue to refine aspects of programme planning, provision, assessment and evaluation.

5. Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

About the Centre

Type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

70 children, including up to 22 aged under 2 years

Roll number

89

Gender composition

Boys 54 Girls 35

Ethnic composition

NZ European/ Pākehā 62,

Māori 13,

Chinese 2,

Tongan 2,

Indian 1,

Latin American 1,

other European 8

Review team on site

April 2012

Date of this report

7 June 2012

Previous ERO reports

Education Review, April 2009

Education Review, September 2007

7 June 2012

To the Parents and Community of Gumboots Early Learning Centre

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Gumboots Early Learning Centre.

Gumboots Early Learning Centre is located in the semi-rural community of Helensville. It is owned and managed by the licensee and provides care and education for up to 70 children, including 22 under two years of age.

Children are busy and happily participate in the wide range of activities the centre offers. Activities are designed to capture children’s interest, encourage movement and allow for individual or group exploration. The centre’s rural flavour is evident in activities which include growing fruit and vegetables and watching domestic animals in the fields adjacent to the centre Children could also benefit from more opportunities to learn about the diverse ethnicities and cultures that are represented in the centre. This would affirm their growing sense of identity and help them to appreciate other cultures..

Families express satisfaction with their children’s care and learning and the support they receive from centre staff. Parents are encouraged to help their children to smoothly transition into the centre. There is good communication with parents and relationships between parents and staff are positive and warm. Parents particularly enjoy working alongside their children during centre trips and excursions.

Teachers are highly skilled at building warm relationships with children. They are thoughtful and responsive to children. As a result, children are open and trusting with staff. Teachers are adept at encouraging children to develop useful social and problem-solving skills. Teachers are benefitting from ongoing internal and external professional development that is improving their teaching practices. Given their growing knowledge of te reo Māori and local Māori history, it would be timely for teachers to consider how to extend their capability to support Māori children to succeed as Māori.

The licensee and the centre manager’s professional and collaborative approach supports the effective management of the centre. Together, they have built trusting relationships with their leadership team and provide good encouragement and support for staff. Developing strategic planning would help to guide the centre’s longer term developments. It would also provide a foundation for improving the scope and quality of centre self review.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre 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.

P:\Signature Makere Smith.jpg

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.

Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.

Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.