Hamilton West Kindergarten - 05/11/2014

1 Evaluation of Hamilton West Kindergarten

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

Hamilton West Kindergarten is located in Hamilton West near Waikato Hospital. It provides sessional education and care for children from two years to school age. The kindergarten is licensed for up to 40 children over the age of two years old. Afternoon sessions are currently limited to 30 children. At the time of this ERO review, 67 children were enrolled, of whom 10 are identified as Māori.

The teaching team has remained together at the kindergarten since the previous ERO review in 2011. During this time there have been significant renovations done to both indoor and outdoor play areas. These improvements have resulted in an extended playground, which is a very attractive and educationally stimulating area for children and their families. Improvements have also included a more modern, spacious indoor area that maximises opportunities for the appreciation of mature native trees outdoors.

Children and families from diverse cultures and backgrounds are readily welcomed as part of the kindergarten community. Parents are invited to contribute to the programme and assist with trips and outings. Teachers have recently engaged in professional development to enhance their use of te reo Māori, computers as tools for learning, and digital communication to inform parents about their children’s progress and development.

The kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA), which is a charitable trust, and does not operate for profit. The strategic direction of the association is guided by the overarching statement, ‘Every child reaching their full potential’. The WKA has a commitment to providing quality, inclusive services that effectively meet the diverse educational needs of all children attending. All WKA kindergartens provide an Enviroschools focus as a key curriculum feature to encourage children to better understand caring for the environment.

The Educational Service Manager (ESM) monitors and reports to the association on the kindergarten’s quality of education. A kaumātua from Tainui provides advice, guidance and support about Māori language, culture and identity. The kindergarten’s administrative responsibilities are well supported by association resource personnel.

The kindergarten benefits from the WKA's clear guidelines and expectations for practice and the availability of good self-review processes for monitoring and evaluating the quality of education and care it provides for children.

This review was part of a cluster of 12 kindergarten reviews in the Waikato Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Hamilton West Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Children benefit from warm, affirming and responsive interactions with skilled, experienced teachers. Children are highly engaged in exploring the well-prepared environment and sustain their involvement in many interesting activities of their choice. These include physical challenges, complex constructions and art activities, social play, story reading, puzzles and well-chosen computer games. Mat times provide opportunities for music, storytelling, and discussions about play and achievements. Children are confident, capable learners who enjoy their time at kindergarten.

Teachers skilfully promote literacy, mathematics and science in planned and incidental contexts. They use open questions to encourage children’s thinking and problem solving. Sustained conversations provide children with good oral language skills. Te reo Māori is increasingly integrated into discussions and conversations. The Enviroschools approach enables children to participate in propagating and caring for plants, and harvesting and preparing food. Learning environments are regularly refreshed work and play spaces that celebrate children’s achievements. Māori features are attractively positioned to enhance the entrance and play areas.

Teachers make learning visible for children and parents through displays and accessible portfolios. They use their knowledge and understanding of individual children and their interests to plan a flexible and responsive programme. Attractive portfolios document children’s participation in the programme and their social development. Portfolio entries increasingly identify children’s learning and their progress over time. Transition to school is assisted by visits to the junior classes of a nearby school. Home books invite children from the morning session to work with their parents in responding to questions about the day’s programme and developing literacy and numeracy skills.

Parents appreciate multiple approaches for communication about their children’s progress and wellbeing. These include informal discussions, surveys and opportunities to comment on, and contribute to, their child’s portfolio. Parents are encouraged to share aspirations for their children with teachers and many take the opportunity to do this. They also assist with regular trips to explore the wider community and enjoy social occasions organised for families by kindergarten staff.

The head teacher is an experienced and capable practitioner who is respected by her staff and community. She has a strong vision for promoting the wellbeing of children within a high-quality learning environment. The kindergarten’s philosophy statement has been reviewed, and is strongly reflected in the warm, family-like atmosphere created for children and families. Strong partnerships with parents, the community and external agencies have been developed over time, and these continue to enhance outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO, the educational services manager, head teacher and teachers agree that key next steps are to further develop self-review processes, programme evaluations, assessment practices, and the use of computers for learning and communication.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Hamilton West 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 Hamilton West Kindergarten will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

5 November 2014

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

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

5144

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

67

Gender composition

Boys 35

Girls 32

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Indian

Asian

Pacific

Other

10

44

5

4

1

3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

5 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2011

 

Education Review

May 2008

 

Education Review

May 2005

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.