Little Footprints - 08/12/2017

1 Evaluation of Little Footprints

How well placed is Little Footprints 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

Little Footprints Early Learning Centre (trading as Eden Early Learning Ltd) is a family-owned and operated service providing full-day education and care for 76 children from birth to school age. Children come from a diverse range of cultural and family backgrounds. Nearly 20% identify as Māori.

Children are grouped according to age and play and learn in three areas. The Pūkeko room is for toddlers and at the time of the review was preparing to provide for children under two. The Kea room is for children aged two to three and a half and the Tui room for children aged four years to school age. There are two outdoor play areas and a centre carpark that is often used for bike riding.

At the time of this review the service had just been purchased by new owners who will be fully involved in the management and daily running of the service. One of the owners is an experienced and qualified early childhood teacher who will work with three team leaders to support the teaching team.

There has been a number of staff changes since March 2014 ERO review, including the centre manager who left in early 2016 but returned in 2017 to assist with the sale of the service and support the transition process for the new owners. Some progress has been made on the recommendations identified in the last ERO report.

The Review Findings

Children at this service show a sense of belonging and wellbeing. They benefit from caring relationships with their teachers and play and learn in calm environments. Transitions into and within the service and to school are carefully planned and well managed. Teachers provide a variety of interesting experiences, including visitors to the service and many local excursions to support and extend children's learning. These aspects are contributing to the way this service promotes positive outcomes for children.

Teachers notice and effectively respond to children's interests. They provide programmes that include a number of identified priorities. These priorities include children:

  • learning the skills of friendship and relating to others

  • developing a sense of connection and belonging to the local community

  • developing strong foundations for early literacy, oral language and mathematics

  • being ready for school

  • being confident to take risks and develop physical skills.

These priorities now need to be more clearly identified in documentation such as, group and individual planning, and in the service philosophy.

All children in the service have some opportunities to hear and use te reo Māori and gain an appreciation of Māori perspectives. However, this is an area that still requires more work so that Māori children and their whānau can be supported to experience success and pride as Māori.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported. The service has collaborative relationships with agencies and works together with them and families to develop planning and interventions to help children in their learning and development. Teachers identify early, and provide for those children that need it, a specific programme to build oral language.

There is a well-established system in place for regularly planning, assessing and evaluating the learning of groups and individual children. Profile books are a rich record of children's experiences in the centre and are frequently added to. The next step for teachers, is to strengthen the focus on learning in group planning and improve aspects of individual planning. In particular individual records need to:

  • show how teachers recognise and value children's cultural backgrounds and languages other than English

  • make better links to children's goals and next steps over time

  • show how teachers gather and respond to parents' wishes for their children's learning.

An effective leadership structure and established systems support the smooth operation of the service. The team leaders, manager and teachers work collegially together. Teachers are encouraged to work to their individual strengths and interests, which enriches the learning programme.

The current manager has worked productively with the new owners to help a smooth handover. The newly written philosophy and strategic plan give sound focus for the new owners to further develop the service. They agree that the next steps are to:

  • further consult with teachers and families about the service philosophy

  • include a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi in the philosophy

  • develop philosophies for each room

  • ensure the strategic plan has sufficient focus on change management.

A culture of reflection and improvement is evident. The new owners, with the teachers, need to develop a schedule of internal review and use internal evaluation for improvement and to monitor the impact of changes and key centre priorities.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for the owners, head teachers and teachers are to:

  • develop culturally responsive teaching practices and further develop the environment and resources to better reflect and respond to Māori and Pacific children's cultural heritages and the diverse cultural heritages of all children in the service

  • strengthen group and individual planning

  • further consult about and develop the centre philosophy

  • use internal evaluation to improve outcomes for children and monitor the impact of changes and key priorities of this service.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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 Little Footprints will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

8 December 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

Tahunanui, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

45156

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

76 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll

65

Gender composition

Boys: 32

Girls: 33

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Other

11
40
4
10

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

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

8 December 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review:

March 2014

Education Review:

June 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.