Hill Street Early Childhood Centre - 31/08/2017

1 Evaluation of Hill Street Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Hill Street Early Childhood 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

Hill Street Early Childhood Centre is located in a villa close to the Wellington central business district in Thorndon. It is a not-for-profit incorporated society governed by an elected parent committee.

Relationships, empowerment of learners, and the bicultural context of New Zealand are emphasised within the service's philosophy.

The centre is licensed to provide all day education and care for 27 children, including eight up to the age of two. Separate learning areas cater for the needs of infants and toddlers and young children.

A head teacher is responsible for day-to-day management and has overall responsibility for curriculum. All staff are fully qualified. The teaching team operates a distributed leadership model.

Progress has been made with planning, assessment and evaluation that was the key next step in the August 2014 report.

The Review Findings

Children lead their own learning within a play-based programme that is informed by their interests, Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and the centre's philosophy. The environment is thoughtfully used to support children’s exploration and independence. Children demonstrate a settled, confident approach to their play.

Family and community collaboration enriches opportunities for children’s learning. Teachers recognise and affirm the diverse cultures of parents and children, actively seeking ways to explore these within the curriculum. Regular excursions into the local community enable children's connections with local landmarks and understanding of the world around them. 

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are well established within the centre. Staff are committed to expanding their knowledge and authentic use of kaupapa Māori. Carefully planned resources and activities give opportunities for children to develop understanding of te āo Māori. Children confidently incorporate te reo Māori and waiata into their play.

Teachers know children well and support their developing interests and learning dispositions. They give opportunities to progress learning and deepen thinking over time. Staff work proactively to identify and support children with additional learning needs to achieve positive learning outcomes.

Infants and toddlers freely explore an environment designed to suit their needs. Teachers in this area take an unhurried approach to care and respond well to children's developing communication. Secure relationships between children, whānau and staff are a key focus for this group. Children’s sense of belonging is nurtured during transitions into and within the centre.

Teachers collaboratively plan and assess children's learning using a wide range of tools. Online records of learning are easily accessible to parents whose aspirations are integrated within individual plans. Assessment practices support children to understand their learning and contribute to curriculum decisions. Teachers identify intentional teaching strategies to achieve individual children's goals. They have acknowledged that ongoing evaluation of how these strategies support children's progress requires further development.

Relationships with parents and whānau are strong. Regular opportunities for consultation, contribution to centre operation and celebration of family events support families' participation in the programme. Meaningful relationships with whānau are recognised as a key to establishing a successful learning path for Māori and Pacific children.

Planned and spontaneous self review are regularly undertaken. Staff should strengthen their understanding and use of internal evaluation for improvement. Investigating more deeply about how well the service is advancing children's learning outcomes is a next step.

The head teacher values and supports professional links to outside organisations and networks. Teachers are strongly encouraged to lead initiatives in areas of interest and strength. Goals developed through staff appraisal and professional development support them in this.

The parent committee is regularly informed of centre activities. They make operational decisions, have financial oversight and review and write policies. It is timely to evaluate the functions of the board and centre leaders, to clarify responsibilities for governance and management. The development of explicit strategic goals and priorities should enable a more focused approach to future improvements. 

Key Next Steps

Leaders should continue to develop the capability and sustainability of the service through:

  • devising clear strategic priorities and goals

  • aligning plans, policies and processes to these priorities

  • strengthening understanding and use of internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirement

Before the review, the staff and management of Hill Street Early Childhood 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 Hill Street Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

31 August 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

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

60199

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll

25

Gender composition

Girls 13, Boys 12

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

2
15
8

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

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

31 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

September 2011

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.