Kidspace Early Learning Centre - 14/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Kidspace Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Kidspace Early Learning 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

Kidspace Early Learning Centre is a privately owned all-day education and care centre located in Tauranga. The centre is licensed for 40 children, including up to six under two years old. At the time of this ERO review, the roll of 32 included six Māori children and smaller groups from Samoan and Indian families.

The centre manager employs two head teachers who have responsibilities for programme oversight in each of the age-group areas. There are designated spaces for children under two when needed. During recent years, staffing has been stable and almost all teachers are currently qualified. Owners and teachers have worked together to address development areas identified in the 2012 ERO report. These related to strategic planning and improvements to outdoor play areas. The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The centre’s philosophy emphasises nurture, free play, friendliness, strong family relationships, social skills development and understandings about bicultural and multi cultural perspectives. These values are continually reflected in the daily programme and in the positive relationships between teachers, children and families. A cheerful, family-like atmosphere is evident throughout the centre.

The Review Findings

Young learners benefit from very positive and responsive relationships with teachers within a calm, unhurried environment. Their ideas are encouraged, accepted and respected and they have significant input into the programme. They demonstrate a strong sense of ownership of their centre environment and actively participate in the organising and care of resources. Older children are encouraged to lead mat times, demonstrating that they are confident, capable learners. Children and teachers have fun together. 

Teachers model very inclusive practices that ensure children who have diverse cultural backgrounds, languages, or abilities are actively encouraged to engage in learning and play. The programme demonstrates a suitable balance between child-led and teacher-initiated learning experiences. Teachers very effectively co-construct learning and support children’s problem solving. Literacy, mathematics and te reo Māori are interwoven within the programme. Children’s self management is encouraged and evident. Transitions within the centre and to school are smoothly facilitated to respond to the needs of children and families. 

Learning environments are regularly and very effectively refreshed. Displays celebrate children’s work and learning activities, and incorporate prompts to promote early literacy and mathematics skills. Displays also include Māori vocabulary and perspectives, and recognition of children’s heritages. Physical challenges are provided for children at a range of development stages. Small animals are enjoyed and well cared for in an appropriate enclosure. 

Teachers are very knowledgeable about teaching practice and theory. Curriculum and assessment practices are continually reviewed and revised to ensure that they are meeting the needs of children and families. There is a strong emphasis on regular communication with families that involves consultation about children’s needs and aspirations for learning and development. Regular learning stories from different teachers lead to the identification of extension needs, and intentional teaching strategies to guide individual programme planning and further assessment. The programme includes frequent excursions and visits to local places of interest. Children also enjoy weekly swimming lessons and dancing sessions facilitated by external providers. The popular group time for children aged four years old effectively engages them in age-appropriate literacy, mathematics and science activities associated with current topics of interest. 

Babies and toddlers benefit from high quality nurture and care. They play and learn in environments, which are welcoming, cheerful, and comfortable. Young children’s rhythms, needs and interests are noticed, recognised and individually responded to and planned for. In their designated indoor area, floor-level resources promote exploration and physical development. Teachers respond readily to children's verbal and non-verbal cues and to their individual rhythms and needs. Positive, regular, timely communication with parents builds trust that results in opportunities for parents to contribute to the programme and to seek advice as needed. Parents are welcome to remain with their children until they develop trusting relationships with teachers. There are daily opportunities for babies and toddlers to enjoy supervised play in over-two play areas. This provides opportunities for family-like interaction with older children, which is reciprocally beneficial. Younger children have space and time to lead their learning in all areas of the centre. 

The centre manager provides effective, collaborative and professional leadership for the centre. She empowers team leaders and teachers to take responsibility for a range of management and leadership roles. She drives continual improvement according to current and emerging best-practice ideas in early childhood education. Teachers engage in regular professional dialogue supported by team leaders. 

Manager, leaders and teachers continually emphasise a strong focus on identifying and meeting the needs of children and maintaining a family atmosphere. The appraisal process is well managed and regularly reviewed. Self review is well used to continually improve centre practices. There is a continuing emphasis on critical reflection and evaluation to improve outcomes for children and to sustain the positive culture at the centre.

Key Next Steps

Next steps identified by the centre and affirmed by ERO’s review process are to continue to:

  • increase the level of te reo Māori
  • integrate the assessment of children’s early literacy and mathematics more explicitly within learning stories
  • integrate the Professional Teaching Criteria and cultural competencies identified in Tātaiako more explicitly into the appraisal of registered teachers.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kidspace 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:

  • 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 Kidspace Early Learning Centre will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

14 January 2016

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

45439

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 6 aged under 2

Service roll

32

Gender composition

Boys 18 Girls 14

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Samoan

Other

6

17

3

3

3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

14 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012

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.

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.