Magic Garden Over 2's Care & Education Centre - 10/05/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Magic Garden Over 2’s Care & Education Centre is a high quality learning environment for children from two to three and a half years old. It operates as one of three centres in a purpose-built facility in Browns Bay, North Shore. Effective management, collaborative leadership and regular consultation with parents underpin centre operations. Very good professional support for staff has resulted in a low staff turnover and a high proportion of qualified teachers. These features contribute to positive learning outcomes for children.

Children are settled, independent learners who confidently explore resources and make discoveries. They benefit from long periods of uninterrupted play and care routines that reflect their developmental needs. Children enjoy programmes that integrate early literacy and numeracy learning and foster the development of creative skills and imaginative play. Teachers respect children as capable learners and support them to take learning risks and become socially confident. Children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging are nurtured through positive transitions and trusting relationships with key teachers.

Teachers have skilfully integrated the philosophies of Magda Gerber and Reggio Emilia to provide an environment that invites and challenges children. Teachers work collaboratively to identify children’s interests and provide resources that provoke their thinking and problem solving. Extensive documentation records children’s learning and demonstrates teachers’ in-depth knowledge of early childhood theory and practice. Further input from parents and children would enrich the dimensions of these records.

The manager and teachers are reflective practitioners who regularly review their practices and explore new trends in early childhood education. They agree they could further refine their self-review processes as part of ongoing centre development.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive outcomes for children. To reach these findings ERO evaluates:

  • Mana Whakahaere – how governance and management determines the services’ vision/philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pouārahi – how the leadership and capability of all involved, including educators, enhances positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is implemented to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning reflect diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of partnerships with whānau and self review. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at Magic Garden Over 2’s Care & Education Centre.

How well placed is Magic Garden Over 2’s Care & Education Centre to promote positive outcomes for children?

Background

The centre has a history of providing rich learning experiences for children, stable staffing and an inviting learning environment. These elements continue to be features of the service.

Since the 2009 ERO review teachers have continued to engage in professional development and research projects. This has included strengthening the ways in which teachers share professional knowledge.

Teachers have worked hard on programme documentation and making children’s learning visible for families. They have created programme books and centre portfolios to preserve learning stories and capture the development of children’s interests and project work.

Areas of strength

Outcomes for children. The centre is well placed to continue to provide positive learning outcomes for children. Notable features of children’s experiences include:

  • close relationships with teachers who listen well, support children’s ideas and encourage them to take learning risks
  • opportunities to explore in a calm and organised environment where routines are responsive to their needs
  • cultural experiences including opportunities to learn basic waiata, te reo and tikanga Māori
  • opportunities to sustain their interest in challenging resources and revisit previous learning
  • a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing that enables them to settle well and transition effectively into the next centre.

Parents are very pleased with their children’s experiences at Magic Garden. They express appreciation for the quality of care, teachers and the environment.

Management and leadership. Collaborative teamwork among the manager and team leaders underpins a professional centre culture that is focused on keeping up to date with current trends and maintaining effective systems. Key features of their successful approach include:

  • staff who are valued and nurtured, most of whom are qualified teachers
  • multi-faceted self-review processes that foster in-depth reflection
  • annual operational goals that guide centre development
  • transparent management practices that include ongoing consultation with families.

The manager has established a community of learners amongst staff who thrive on professional discussion, reflection and research. An ongoing appraisal process supports them to enhance their practices and learn from their colleagues.

Teaching and learning. Teachers identify relationships with children as being of key importance in providing meaningful learning experiences. They value children’s strengths and interests and respond to their developmental needs by managing routines in small groups. Programmes for children include:

  • an effective blend of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and the philosophies of Reggio Emilia and Magda Gerber
  • careful transitions in and out of the centre
  • interactions that prompt children to think and solve their own problems
  • opportunities for children to work together on sustained projects
  • literacy, numeracy and science learning integrated in meaningful contexts
  • planning and assessment practices that provide detailed records of children’s learning, interests and development.

Learning environment. Teachers have established a high quality environment with thoughtful use of light, discrete learning areas and artistic displays of resources and equipment. Appealing arrangements of familiar and new resources provoke children to explore, investigate and make discoveries. Children use a wide range of natural materials, home-made resources and junk items in flexible ways to support their creativity and imaginative play.

Areas for development and review

The manager, team leaders and ERO agree the next steps for centre development include:

  • implementing identified goals for strengthening biculturalism and engaging whānau Māori
  • reflecting on strategies to refine self-review processes and documentation
  • continuing with initiatives to enhance children’s assessment portfolios
  • strengthening the evidence in centre documentation of children’s experiences with numeracy.

In addition, centre leaders could reflect on ways to further celebrate parents and children’s voices in the environment and documentation. Teachers’ considerable professional knowledge enables them to provide valuable information about children’s learning experiences. More recognition of the contributions from the other partners in learning would enrich the records of children’s achievement and acknowledge parents as the first teachers.

3. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Magic Garden Over 2's Care 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

4. Recommendation

ERO and the centre leaders agree that teachers should continue to refine their self-review practices as they consider the areas for development identified in this report.

5. Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

About the Centre

Location

Browns Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10381

Type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 4 under 2 years

Roll number

40

Gender composition

Boys 23

Girls 17

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 26

Māori 2

Chinese 6

Indian 1

other European 4

other Asian 1

Review team on site

March, 2012

Date of this report

10 May 2012

Previous ERO reports

Education Review, March 2009

Education Review, February 2006

To the Parents and Community of Magic Garden Over 2's Care

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Magic Garden Over 2's Care .

Magic Garden Over 2’s Care & Education Centre is a high quality learning environment for children from two to three and a half years old. It operates as one of three centres in a purpose-built facility in Browns Bay, North Shore. Effective management, collaborative leadership and regular consultation with parents underpin centre operations. Very good professional support for staff has resulted in a low staff turnover and a high proportion of qualified teachers. These features contribute to positive learning outcomes for children.

Children are settled, independent learners who confidently explore resources and make discoveries. They benefit from long periods of uninterrupted play and care routines that reflect their developmental needs. Children enjoy programmes that integrate early literacy and numeracy learning and foster the development of creative skills and imaginative play. Teachers respect children as capable learners and support them to take learning risks and become socially confident. Children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging are nurtured through positive transitions and trusting relationships with key teachers.

Teachers have skilfully integrated the philosophies of Magda Gerber and Reggio Emilia to provide an environment that invites and challenges children. Teachers work collaboratively to identify children’s interests and provide resources that provoke their thinking and problem solving. Extensive documentation records children’s learning and demonstrates teachers’ in-depth knowledge of early childhood theory and practice. Further input from parents and children would enrich the dimensions of these records.

The manager and teachers are reflective practitioners who regularly review their practices and explore new trends in early childhood education. They agree they could further refine their self-review processes as part of ongoing centre development.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

  • Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.
  • Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.