Katikati Free Kindergarten - 01/02/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Katikati Free Kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Tauranga Regional Free Kindergarten Association, which provides administrative and professional support. It is situated in an attractive and well-presented site, adjacent to an extensive park and playing fields. At the start of Term 4, 2011, after a period of extensive self review and community consultation, the kindergarten changed to daily six-hour sessions. The current roll is 38 children, who predominantly identify as New Zealander European. There is a small proportion of Indian, Cook Island Māori and Tongan children. The kindergarten and its community continue to benefit from the experienced leadership of the head teacher, and the long-serving team of teachers.

A feature of the kindergarten is the high-quality learning environment. It is thoughtfully planned to stimulate children’s appreciation of the natural world, and their shared responsibility to care for it. Outdoor play spaces include an adobe house, a variety of gardens, and areas for exploration and physical challenge.

The indoor and covered play areas are both highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. Children can move freely between areas of play, and have ready access to an appropriate range of high-quality resources, especially in music, construction, reading and creative play. The walls and ceiling include visually stimulating art and craft displays.

Children experience a high-quality programme that engages all their senses as they learn through play. Teachers work as a cohesive team as they plan to respond to children’s emerging interests and strengths. They prepare well-illustrated journals and records of learning to share with parents. Routines incorporate the effective use of music and non-verbal communication, and encourage self-management skills in children. Te reo me onā tikanga Māori is acknowledged and well modelled by teachers, and reflected in many aspects of the programme and operations. Children and their parents are well supported as they make the transition to school.

Affirming and caring interactions between children and adults are another strength of the kindergarten. Each child’s whānau and culture is embraced and relationships are mutually respectful. Children learn through play in a safe and secure environment. Teachers set and model high expectations for children’s considerate behaviour. They listen to children, and engage them in sustained conversations, making skilful use of questions to extend their thinking and understanding.

Through effective self review teachers have identified their own priorities for continued improvement of the kindergarten. ERO agrees with these priorities, which are linked to education for sustainability, strengthening the role of parents as partners in their child’s learning, and managing the changes inherent in the longer day programmes.

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 Katikati Free Kindergarten 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 atKatikati Free Kindergarten.

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; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

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

The Quality of Education

Background

At the start of Term 4, 2011, the kindergarten changed to daily six-hour sessions. Older children now remain all day, and approximately 10 younger children leave after a shared lunch. The roll is at the maximum allowed for under the licence, and there are children on a waiting list.

The kindergarten and its community continue to benefit from the experienced leadership of the head teacher and the long-serving team of teachers. There is a well-defined philosophy for assessment, planning and evaluation processes, which is based on the principles of Art Costa’s ‘Habits of Mind’. The main focus areas for the ongoing professional learning for teachers have been education for sustainability, assessment practice, and building relationships with tangata whenua.

Areas of strength

Learning environment: A feature of the kindergarten is the high-quality learning environment. It is thoughtfully planned to invite engagement and to stimulate children’s awareness and appreciation of Papatuanuku and their role as kaitiaki o te whenua. An additional feature is the number of resources and equipment made from recycled or natural materials.

Teachers deliberately involve children, parents and the wider community in the imaginative development of the outdoor play areas. Children have access to gardens and resources that link to the natural world.

The indoor and covered play areas are both highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. Children can move freely between areas of play, and have ready access to an appropriate range of high quality resources, especially in music, construction, reading and creative play. The walls and ceiling include visually stimulating art and craft displays, which reflect children’s creativity and teachers’ artistic flair.

Programme: Children experience a high-quality programme that engages all their senses as they learn through play about the natural world, sustainable conservation and healthy eating.

Teachers work as a cohesive team as they plan to respond to children interests and strengths. Positive elements of the programme include:

  • free-play time when children can choose their activity, explore literacy, creativity or the natural environment;

  • the recognition and encouragement of an emergent curriculum, apparent in children’s interests in ‘watching babies’ and bird-related projects;

  • the acknowledgement of te reo me onā tikanga Māori, which is well modelled by teachers and reflected in routines, displays and communications with whānau; and

  • the skilful integration of literacy experiences into many parts of the programme, including storytelling, puppetry, dramatic play, the encouragement of early writing skills and the high levels of oral language used by teachers.

Assessment based on noticing, recognising and responding to children’s learning dispositions is an area of focus and ongoing development. This systematic approach is clearly reflected in teachers’ observations of children’s play and recorded in well-illustrated learning journals. These journals include a detailed report for parents, which are shared at parent-teacher meetings and used to inform individual education plans. Ongoing evaluation of children’s progress, and the effectiveness of the programme, is recorded in regular teacher planning meetings.

Interactions: Affirming and caring interactions between adults and children are another strength of the kindergarten. Each child’s whānau and culture are embraced and relationships are mutually respectful. Children’s physical and emotional needs are recognised and staff respond with empathy and warmth.

Children learn through play in a safe, secure and caring environment, and are well supported to be confident and competent communicators. Older children are encouraged to assist younger children in aspects of their learning and care routines.

Teachers set and model high expectations for children’s considerate behaviour and encourage them to take responsibility for their own actions. Teachers listen to children, and engage them in sustained learning conversations, making skilful use of questions to extend their thinking and understanding.

Agreed priorities:

Through effective self review, teachers have identified their own priorities for the continued improvement of the kindergarten. ERO agrees with these priorities which are linked to:

  • observing and reviewing current teaching practice and routines, to be assured they still meet their intended purposes;

  • strengthening the partnership with parents in the assessment of children’s learning; and

  • further enhancing education for sustainability.

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.

Inclusion of children with moderate to severe special needs

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

  • transitions ensure the continuing well-being, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs

Although there are no children with moderate to severe special needs currently enrolled in this service, teachers express confidence about the capacity of the centre to welcome and support them. In 2010, a special needs child was enrolled for a short time, and was successfully integrated into the programme and strongly supported by teachers and other children. Kindergarten staff consulted and cooperated fully with external agencies and the family involved.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Katikati Free Kindergarten completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-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; and
  • 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; and
  • 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.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

About the Centre

Type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, and no children under 2 years of age

Roll number

38 children, and no children under 2 years of age

Gender composition

Girls 20 Boys 18

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 33

Cook Island Māori 1

Fijian 1

Indian 1

Tongan 1

Other 1

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

01 February 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review December 2008

Education Review May 2006

Education Review December 2002

01 February 2012

To the Parents and Community of Katikati Free Kindergarten

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Katikati Free Kindergarten.

Katikati Free Kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Tauranga Regional Free Kindergarten Association, which provides administrative and professional support. It is situated in an attractive and well-presented site, adjacent to an extensive park and playing fields. At the start of Term 4, 2011, after a period of extensive self review and community consultation, the kindergarten changed to daily six-hour sessions. The current roll is 38 children, who predominantly identify as New Zealander European. There is a small proportion of Indian, Cook Island Māori and Tongan children. The kindergarten and its community continue to benefit from the experienced leadership of the head teacher, and the long-serving team of teachers.

A feature of the kindergarten is the high-quality learning environment. It is thoughtfully planned to stimulate children’s appreciation of the natural world, and their shared responsibility to care for it. Outdoor play spaces include an adobe house, a variety of gardens, and areas for exploration and physical challenge.

The indoor and covered play areas are both highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. Children can move freely between areas of play, and have ready access to an appropriate range of high-quality resources, especially in music, construction, reading and creative play. The walls and ceiling include visually stimulating art and craft displays.

Children experience a high-quality programme that engages all their senses as they learn through play. Teachers work as a cohesive team as they plan to respond to children’s emerging interests and strengths. They prepare well-illustrated journals and records of learning to share with parents. Routines incorporate the effective use of music and non-verbal communication, and encourage self-management skills in children. Te reo me onā tikanga Māori is acknowledged and well modelled by teachers, and reflected in many aspects of the programme and operations. Children and their parents are well supported as they make the transition to school.

Affirming and caring interactions between children and adults are another strength of the kindergarten. Each child’s whānau and culture is embraced and relationships are mutually respectful. Children learn through play in a safe and secure environment. Teachers set and model high expectations for children’s considerate behaviour. They listen to children, and engage them in sustained conversations, making skilful use of questions to extend their thinking and understanding.

Through effective self review teachers have identified their own priorities for continued improvement of the kindergarten. ERO agrees with these priorities, which are linked to education for sustainability, strengthening the role of parents as partners in their child’s learning, and managing the changes inherent in the longer day programmes.

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.

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.

National Evaluation Topics – This strand contributes to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.

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.