Mahurangi Kindergarten - 15/04/2016

1 Evaluation of Mahurangi Kindergarten

How well placed is Mahurangi Kindergarten 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

Mahurangi Kindergarten is part of the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association, Te Manatōpū Kura o Te Tai Tokerau. The Association provides support and an organisational framework for 15 services. The Association’s management team comprises the general manager and two teaching services managers (TSMs), as well as development and finance managers. Teachers and whānau are represented on the Association’s board.

The kindergarten provides a service for the families of Warkworth and its surrounding rural community. It is licensed for up to 40 children over two years of age and currently caters for 59 children each week. As a result of changes in the community, more children now enrol before they are three, and there is increasing cultural diversity. Many families and most staff have had a long association with the community and this kindergarten.

The head teacher is on leave and an acting head teacher has been appointed for 2016. The four registered teachers are well supported by an administrator. The kindergarten's philosophy is values based. It promotes relationships, inclusion and bicultural practice, with a strong focus on fostering a sense of belonging and community.

This review was part of a cluster of four kindergarten reviews in the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

The kindergarten's vision and philosophical approaches have been thoughtfully developed in consultation with families. They incorporate families' cultural perspectives and are translated into several community languages, so they are well understood. The philosophy is underpinned by early childhood education theory and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It is visible throughout the environment and in all aspects of teaching and learning. Whanaungatanga, manaaki and a strong sense of community are features in the kindergarten. Children often engage in and make an active and valued contribution to community events.

As a result of teachers' strong focus on meaningful relationships and responsive teaching, children see themselves as capable communicators, learners and leaders. They work together collaboratively in self-directed play and expect adults to support them where needed. Children and their families have a sense of ownership, belonging and wellbeing in the kindergarten.

The atmosphere in the kindergarten is welcoming, calm and unhurried. The learning environment is thoughtfully laid out with well-presented resources and inviting spaces. Attractive displays celebrate and value children's creativity and learning, family cultures, and the community. Children use resources flexibly to support their imaginative play. The outdoor environment encourages challenge and active engagement in physical activity, and provides good opportunities for children to be involved in gardening. Teachers are currently considering ways to better use the surrounding natural environment to expand children's learning experiences.

Teachers' shared knowledge of children results in a programme that responds to children's emerging interests and growing capabilities. A current focus on 'mindfulness' illustrates how teachers value and build on whānau contributions to the programme. Teachers skilfully support child-initiated learning and listen carefully to children's ideas to extend conversations and promote thinking. They integrate literacy, mathematics and science into the programme in meaningful ways. Children are very well supported and prepared to transition smoothly to school.

Teachers' commitment to bicultural practice is evident in their respect for tikanga and their natural use of te reo Māori as they work with children. Māori concepts and values are visible and well expressed for whānau. Teachers have been proactive in learning more about the Kiribati community and this has resulted in significantly increased cross-cultural understanding and inclusive practices.

Teachers provide very good information for whānau about children's learning and how it reflects the kindergarten's philosophy and best practice in early childhood education. Assessment records recognise children's developing abilities and dispositions for learning. There are very good examples of teachers responding to individual children's strengths and interests and extending learning over time. Some assessment portfolios illustrate the partnership between teachers and whānau very well. Children make good use of their own portfolios to revisit and share their learning experiences.

Teachers' self-review processes are well established and informed by research and professional discussion. They clearly identify positive learning outcomes for children. Some curriculum documentation shows purposefully planned teaching strategies and teachers' reflection about their effectiveness particularly well.

The acting head teacher provides considered, strategic leadership. The teaching team has recently developed more comprehensive strategic and annual plans to guide kindergarten developments. Strategic goals link well with the kindergarten's philosophical approaches, are well informed by teachers' professional research and reflection, and align with the Association's strategic plans. The team is keen to consolidate and monitor this strategic planning. Teachers are open to new ideas and challenge. They are committed to growing their professional practice and knowledge, and to connecting with and serving their community.

Association managers lead a culture of reflective and strategic thinking. They continually seek to strengthen systems for knowing about and enhancing the quality of provision for children, communities and staff. Managers are currently reviewing and developing several key systems and practices. These include strategic planning, teacher performance appraisal, and health and safety systems. They are working to strengthen links between quality assurance processes and indicators of best practice in early childhood education.

Key Next Steps

The teaching team has appropriately identified strategic priorities for development, building on their current areas of focus and good practice. Key next steps include:

  • reviewing children's assessment records to increase the consistency of high quality practices

  • more explicit recognition of and response to individual Māori children's cultural identity

  • more frequently recording planned teaching strategies and evaluating their effectiveness in responding to the interests and abilities of all children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mahurangi Kindergarten 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 Mahurangi Kindergarten will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 April 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

Warkworth

Ministry of Education profile number

5023

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

59

Gender composition

Boys 31 Girls 28

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Kiribati

Tongan

Ugandan

other

5

42

3

2

2

5

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

15 April 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2012

Education Review

December 2009

Education Review

January 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.