Leamington Kindergarten - 06/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Leamington Kindergarten

How well placed is Leamington Kindergarten 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

Leamington Kindergarten is one of 29 kindergartens located in the Waikato and operates under the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA). It is located in Cambridge and licenced for up to 40 children from two years to school age. The kindergarten offers full-day education and care, and flexible attendance to meet the requirements of families. All teachers are qualified and registered teachers. The organisation provides 20 free hours for children.

Since the 2014 ERO review, there has been changes to staff while the long serving head teacher has remained in her position. Teachers have engaged in a range of professional development that has further developed internal evaluation practices. Developments include ongoing improvement in the teaching and learning of mathematics, increased bicultural practices, and strengthened connections with the local community.

Teachers have reviewed their philosophy for learning in consultation with families. Values are centred on the goals and principles of Te Whāriki and are focused on laying the foundations for a lifelong love of learning.

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 kindergartens in Waikato Kindergarten Association are involved in sustainable programmes promoting the care of people and environment, such as Enviroschools, Sport Waikato Under 5 Energise and a ‘Cool for School’ Transition programme. A kaumātua from Tainui provides advice, guidance and support to the organisation. The kindergartens’ education, operational and administrative responsibilities are well supported by Association specialist personnel.

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

The Review Findings

Children experience an inclusive curriculum that is highly responsive to their overall wellbeing and learning. Values documented in the kindergarten philosophy are highly evident in practice. Children and their families are warmly welcomed into the kindergarten and quickly develop positive, and respectful relationships that support their sense of belonging.

The curriculum reflects the principles of Te Whāriki the early childhood curriculum, and responds very effectively to the interests, strengths and abilities of all children. The kindergarten environment is purposely organised so children can take responsibility for their own learning through active exploration. They have access to high-quality resources and equipment that supports them to engage in sustained play and learning. Resources include a wide range of natural materials and cultural artefacts that reflect the cultural backgrounds of families and the community. Children learn literacy, mathematics, science, technology and the arts through play and having fun is an important aspect of the learning process.

Children's language, communication and social relationships are central to learning and are strongly supported by teachers. Teachers actively encourage peer interactions and tuakana teina relationships where children share their knowledge and strengths, contributing to others' learning.

Teachers use a wide range of effective intentional teaching practices to support children's learning. They skilfully notice children's interests and strengths, and use this knowledge to respond appropriately. They collaboratively reflect and plan for further learning opportunities. Teachers learning conversations encourage children to problem solve, develop their ideas and understandings, use their imagination and be creative.

Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own wellbeing of themselves, the wellbeing of others and to care for the environment. Teaching includes a focus on sustainable environmental practices, where children learn care and respect for the world around them. Children experience success in learning and are gaining the foundations for developing dispositions for life-long-learning.

Māori kawa, tikanga and stories are interwoven into the learning. Te reo Māori is used daily by teachers, who recognise it is a living language indigenous to Aotearoa and is beneficial for all children to learn. Teachers understand about the Māori child's mana, and wairua to promote learning. Children confidently participate in waiata and karakia. Children's whakapapa is displayed and they proudly share this with others at group times. Teachers are increasingly valuing Māori children's whakapapa and linking it to learning their assessment practices.

Learning is further enriched through children's outings in the local community. Children participate in the care of the local park and are planting sustainable gardens for its community. Transitions to school are well supported through reciprocal relationships and visits that help children become familiar with the school environment. Visitors to the kindergarten and opportunities for children to visit people from local community groups further enriches children's learning experiences.

Partnerships with parents and whānau are based on acceptance, respect and willingness to listen and respond. The partnership and participation principles of Treaty of Waitangi are reflected in teachers practice and visually within the environment.

Assessment practices are holistic and focused on children's strengths. Photographs and narratives celebrate children's achievements and successes in learning. Children have strong ownership of their assessment portfolios and often revisit these to reflect on and share their learning Journey. Parents and extended family also have access to learning stories digitally on-line. They share aspirations they have for their child and add stories about their learning.

Leadership in the kindergarten is effective. The teaching team bring a range of complementary strengths that contribute to positive outcomes for children. Teachers are experienced and have sound knowledge of current theory and practice in early childhood education. They systematically inquire into the effectiveness of their practice. Well-established and highly-effective internal evaluation processes, contributes to ongoing improvements to the quality of care and education. Teachers' 2017 draft annual goals have a focus on further strengthening assessment practices that document progressions of learning, as well as enhancing inclusive and culturally responsive curriculum systems and practices. These goals have a particular focus on positive outcomes for Māori and Pacific Island children wellbeing and learning.

The WKA has a commitment to providing high-quality, inclusive and equitable services for children. The association provides sound, comprehensive systems, policies and procedures to guide kindergarten practice. Teachers have access to ongoing and targeted professional development to support improved practices and lead to improved outcomes for children. Education Support Managers work closely with the head teacher and provide well-informed professional leadership to support kindergarten operations.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the service agree the kindergarten internal evaluation goals to further develop and improve culturally responsive assessment, planning and teaching practice is focused on positive educational outcomes for children. Long term goals include further developing assessment processes using Te Whātu Pōkeka, the Māori assessment exemplars and the revised early childhood Te Whāriki 2017.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Leamington 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 Leamington Kindergarten will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

6 October 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

Cambridge

Ministry of Education profile number

5150

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

52

Gender composition

Boys 32 Girls 20

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Indian
Other European
Other

11
25
9
3
4

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 2017

Date of this report

6 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

April 2011

Education Review

January 2008

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.