Lollipops Educare Te Rapa - 29/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Lollipops Educare Te Rapa

How well placed is Lollipops Educare Te Rapa 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

Lollipops Educare Te Rapa is an education and care service licensed to cater for 50 children including 20 up to two years old. At the time of this ERO review there were 58 children on the roll, including 19 identified as Māori. The purpose-built centre provides two adjacent age-based areas, one for children up to two years, who transition when ready into the area for children up to school-age.

The Lollipops Educare organisation and centres were purchased by Evolve Education Group (EEG) in early 2015. EEG now provides governance oversight as the umbrella organisation for the nation-wide group of early childhood services.

Since the 2013 ERO review there have been significant changes to leadership and staffing. The centre's roll has increased. Improvements made to the outdoor learning environment and an upgrade to the kitchen area are a result of requirements identified by the Ministry of Education due to the change of ownership.

The leadership model has been restructured. The centre director now has increased responsibility, which includes management oversight of two Lollipops Educare centres in Hamilton. The team leader has overall responsibility for curriculum and assessment centre wide, as well as being a teacher in the under two area.

The centre caters for a diverse, multi-cultural community. The recently reviewed philosophy is based around four Pou, and expresses the aim to provide children with a curriculum of kindness, awareness of themselves and others to grow to competent individuals who will add value to our world. The centre continues to benefit from the ongoing contribution and guidance of tangata whenua with close links to marae and the local community.

The Review Findings

Children participate in a programme that gives them opportunities to follow their interests, make choices and also experience teacher-led group times. Their wellbeing is fostered through well-managed and unhurried care routines.

Babies and toddlers experience responsive and nurturing care from consistent, key teachers. The aesthetically presented environment provides them with opportunities to safely explore and learn alongside each other. The focus on peaceful practice is contributing to calm and confident children in the under two area.

Older children are confident and settled. There are examples of children developing their early literacy skills and experimenting with appropriate mathematics concepts. A current interest in the natural world has resulted in children learning more about insects and growing plants to support the bees.

Particular strengths of the centre's programme are:

  • frequent use of the adjacent park for children to explore and experience physical challenge

  • welcoming the families and whānau into the centre for regular cultural celebrations and events

  • children expressing themselves through imaginary and dramatic play

  • the contribution of community members to share their knowledge, and enrich the arts and cultural programme for children.

Children are provided with healthy meals prepared by a qualified chef. Her inclusive approach to catering for children's particular dietary needs is a special feature of the centre. Children are learning positive attitudes to healthy food.

Children with identified needs and challenges are fully engaged in the programme working with and alongside other children and supportive adults. Centre leaders work with specialist agencies to access appropriate support for children and families.

Consideration should be given to further promoting the language, culture and identity of each child in the environment and programme to enhance children's sense of belonging and strengthen their links with home while they are in care.

Teachers regularly document children's learning and participation in the programme. Individual portfolio books for children are valued by teachers and kept in the centre for children to access. A digital format for teachers and adults has been recently introduced. Teachers report an increase in parent and whānau responses, and a strengthening of the learning partnership as a result of digital communication.

Parents also have regular formal interviews with teachers where they set useful goals for children's learning and care. Well-presented learning displays make current learning visible, celebrate children's creativity and provide parents with useful information about the programme. The centre's curriculum is underpinned by Te Whāriki and includes aspects of other current theories and approaches.

The newly established teaching team and staff have quickly formed positive, supportive and collegial relationships. They work well together in the best interests of children, families and whānau. Staff bring a complementary range of skills and experience to their roles and are enthusiastic about ongoing centre development and improvement. They have responded to recent professional development accessed by the centre director by:

  • implementing unhurried care routines

  • providing a peaceful environment for very young children

  • introducing ideas to further engage active learners and boys.

The centre director is an experienced early childhood practitioner and demonstrates a strong commitment to children and families. She works in a professional partnership with the team leader. Together they provide appropriate support for staff development and foster emerging leadership amongst the staff.

Centre leaders have led a review of the philosophy, using an effective self-review process. This has resulted in a shared understanding of centre values by parents and staff, and is promoting a positive centre culture and shared sense of purpose for ongoing centre improvement.

The team leader models high-quality practice for the care of infants and toddlers. She is knowledgeable and committed to sharing Māori cultural practices that promote success for Māori with children, whānau and staff. Parents and whanau expressed appreciation for the meaningful and welcoming relationships they have with staff members.

EEG has reviewed and updated policies that provide useful guidelines for centre operations. This includes the introduction of a comprehensive teacher appraisal process that meets the requirements of the Education Council. There are opportunities for the centre director to network with other leaders in the EEG group. An EEG centre support manager visits the centre to report on aspects of centre operations and regulatory requirements.

Key Next Steps

It is important for EEG to develop and document a clear vision and philosophy that makes a commitment to positive outcomes for children. This should enable decision making at governance level to be aligned with service priorities, effective self-review systems and processes, and to consistently promote positive outcomes for children, families and staff.

Centre leaders and teachers should review and strengthen teaching practices by developing clear and agreed expectations for:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation practices to show how teachers should respond to children's identified learning and developmental needs

  • increasing interactions that further promote children's thinking, problem-solving skills and add complexity to their play and learning over time

  • building the confidence of all teachers to integrate te reo and tikanga Māori practices into their interactions with children

  • providing children with greater access to a wider range of high quality equipment, materials and activities throughout the programme.

Recommendation

EEG and the service should seek external support to progress the areas for development identified in this report.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lollipops Educare Te Rapa 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.

ERO identified an area of non-compliance. During the review ERO and centre staff were aware of the noise levels that may have been unsafe for adults and children. EEG has undertaken to review these noise levels, and proceed with fixing the issue with a suitable solution, with a final completion date March 2017.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Lollipops Educare Te Rapa will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

29 June 2016

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

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

30261

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll

58

Gender composition

Boys 34 Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Fijian Indian

South African

Chinese

19

34

2

1

1

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

29 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2013

Education Review

March 2010

Supplementary Review

February 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.