Little Scholars Early Learning Centre - 22/08/2014

1 Evaluation of Little Scholars Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Little Scholars 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

Little Scholars Early Learning Centre is a well-established service that changed ownership in 2012. It provides full day care for up to 50 children from infants to school age, in three age-related groups. Infants and toddlers mix together in the outdoor environment. Most of the staff are registered teachers and they reflect the cultural diversity of centre families.

The new owner delegates the daily operation of the service to a centre manager, but visits often and actively contributes to centre management decisions. As service provider he encourages the professional development of staff and is building the extent and quality of centre resources. He has supported several improvements to the outdoor environment.

In 2011 ERO identified the quality of relationships and the care of children as strengths of the service. Children responded well to adult support for their learning and early literacy and numeracy featured in the programme. ERO encouraged teachers to improve learning experiences for babies and toddlers, and to provide more challenges for older children. The new management team supports these goals for ongoing centre development.

The recently reviewed philosophy statement is clearly aligned with the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Centre leaders are committed to fostering a bicultural curriculum that supports families’ cultures and recognises children as competent learners.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and settled in the centre. They benefit from positive relationships with teachers and developing friendships with their peers. Children are socially confident and enjoy the resources and activities that teachers prepare. They respond well to adult support for their play and many engage well in meaningful conversations as they play together in small groups. Teachers could now consider ways to extend opportunities for longer periods of uninterrupted play.

A supportive environment for infants encourages their social development and fosters their exploration of resources. Children are supported well through teachers’ knowledge of their families and cultures. Routines for care are positive and teachers provide good support for children’s language development. Older toddlers are supported to explore the environment and develop independence. Managers and teachers are considering ways to make better use of the outdoor area to enhance the safety of babies and foster tuakana/ teina relationships between infants and toddlers.

Teachers support children's involvement in play. They often work alongside small groups fostering conversation and encouraging children to investigate resources, using questions and prompts to help them develop new ideas. Teachers integrate opportunities for early literacy and numeracy learning and incorporate te reo Māori and waiata in mat activities. They value children's individual identities and cultural heritage. Teachers are exploring ways to use their knowledge of children to empower them to be confident learners.

Teachers plan separately for each group. They work collaboratively to develop teaching strategies that support children's interests, learning dispositions or developmental needs. Teachers identify activities and resources that foster individual interests and include excursions to extend the range of children's experiences.

Teachers frequently discuss the impact of their teaching and formally evaluate programmes every month. They are developing their focus on individual narrative assessment of children's learning as an alternative to less informative checklist reporting to parents. As centre self review becomes more rigorous the match between teachers’ robust planning processes and the outcomes for children should improve.

Parents who were interviewed are enthusiastic about the centre. They expressed appreciation for the care and support their children receive to develop socially and to achieve milestones. Parents are well informed about their children’s learning opportunities and value the respect shown for family languages and cultures. They are able to share their aspirations for their children’s learning and contribute to decision making. Centre leaders are eager to continue building their partnerships with families.

The owner and manager are a collaborative team, focused on centre improvement. They have established strategic and annual plans to identify and implement goals for development and are using self-review processes to monitor their progress. The manager is providing good leadership for staff, engaging them in self review and encouraging them to take increasing responsibility for managing their respective rooms. Teachers are supported to participate in individual and whole centre professional development to address personal and centre goals. Teachers’ learning has included strategies to enhance the integration of tikanga and te reo Māori in programmes. Centre leaders acknowledge this is an area for ongoing development.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and ERO agree that the key next steps should include:

  • ongoing development of self-review processes to embed good practices and become more critically reflective in relation to the quality of learning outcomes for children
  • refining performance management systems and establishing an appraisal process for the centre manager, in particular
  • continuing to develop strategies for minimising the adverse affects of routines on learning and to strengthen the effectiveness of planning and assessment
  • enhancing learning experiences for children to provide them with further challenges and opportunities for critical thinking.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Scholars 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.

In order to improve current practices the managers should ensure that children who are able to stand are not placed in the multi-storey wall cots.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Little Scholars Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

22 August 2014

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

Mt Roskill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10270

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

55

Gender composition

Boys 28

Girls 27

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Samoan

Niue

Other

7

14

11

9

4

1

9

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

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

22 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2011

 

Education Review

June 2008

 

Education Review

June 2006

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.