Learning Adventures Ashhurst - 29/01/2018

1 Evaluation of Learning Adventures Ashhurst

How well placed is Learning Adventures Ashhurst to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

With targeted support from management and the development of an action plan, Learning Adventures Ashhurst is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Learning Adventures is a privately owned service located in Ashhurst, near Palmerston North. The centre is licensed to provide education and care for 57 children, including 16 aged up to two. At the time of this ERO evaluation, there were 73 children on the roll, including 20 Māori. Separate learning spaces provide for the needs of infants, toddlers and young children. Ongoing developments and improvements have resulted in enhanced outdoor environments with inviting gardens and natural areas.

In December 2014, the service was bought by Evolve Education Group (Evolve). They employ a teaching and learning manager to provide overall curriculum guidance for staff. A regional and centre support manager offer support to the centre manager and teaching team. Five teachers have an early childhood qualification and full certification. Two educators are in training and one teacher has a primary qualification.

The February 2015 ERO report identified areas requiring further consideration. These included: strengthening strategic and annual planning; and developing a robust appraisal process. Limited progress has been made in these areas.

The centre has experienced a significant number of staff and leadership changes during 2017.

The Review Findings

Teachers work collaboratively to provide a welcoming, inclusive learning environment for children and families. Staff promote practices that are responsive to family aspirations for their child. Leaders acknowledge that with staff changes and the rebranding of the centre, it is timely to review the philosophy to reflect collective values and beliefs.

Children enthusiastically engage in a range of child-initiated, play-based experiences for the majority of their time at the centre. Teachers select and introduce a variety of learning opportunities as part of group programme planning. E-profiles are records of learners’ participation and enjoyment in activities of choice. Observations of children in everyday activities support building a picture of what they know, understand, feel and can do. Whiteboards inform parents of daily happenings for individuals and groups, with a general focus on learning. Teachers should continue to seek support and guidance to build their capability in assessment, planning and evaluation.

Infants are encouraged to become active communicators and explorers. Programme provision for these very young learners focuses on nurturing their wellbeing through responsive caregiving. Teachers are very attuned to children's non-verbal cues. Adults play and work alongside children and support their developing skills.

Teachers consider ways to further their understanding that reflect and respond to Māori learners. Te reo is heard throughout the daily programmes. In one room a confident staff member role models and provides colleagues with valuable support in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. All teachers should investigate and reflect on ways to promote te ao Māori in a local, place-based context.

Transitions into the centre are flexible and responsive to the needs of individual children and families. Staff continue to think about processes for children as they move to school. Teachers should investigate ways to share information so that children’s confidence and capability at the centre transfers to the new entrant classrooms.

Professional leadership requires strengthening. Strategic planning has lapsed and the new appraisal system is not fully implemented. Further attention should be given to developing deliberate strategies for working towards teachers' inquiry goals and making clear links to relevant professional learning and development. Supporting staff to strengthen their knowledge of high quality practice should be a key next step.

Internal evaluation is in the early stages of development. Teachers need support to develop increased understanding of formal, in-depth internal evaluation to improve decisionmaking. A recent restructure within Evolve has led to the introduction of new management roles that aim to provide increased assistance for centre staff. The recently appointed support manager should provide ongoing guidance and support to centre leaders and teachers for continuous improvement of teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

ERO, managers and team leaders agree that the following areas need further development:

  • internal evaluation to improve decision making

  • assessment and planning to better inform curriculum priorities for teaching and learning

  • systems and processes that build leaders’ and teachers’ capabilities

  • philosophy to align with the rebranding of the service.

Recommendation

The service will provide ERO with an action plan that shows how the key next steps will be addressed. ERO will request progress updates.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Learning Adventures Ashhurst 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 Learning Adventures Ashhurst will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

29 January 2018

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

Ashhurst

Ministry of Education profile number

50036

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

57 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll

73

Gender composition

Girls 39, Boys 34

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
Other ethnic groups

20
48
2
3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

29 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

February 2012

Education Review

October 2007

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.