Matamata Childcare Centre - 26/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Matamata Childcare Centre

How well placed is Matamata Childcare 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

Kids Corner, trading as Matamata Childcare Centre, is owned and operated by a non-profit making incorporated society. An elected parent committee governs the centre. The centre manager is now a member of this committee. The committee provides appropriate resourcing for the centre to support the programme.

The centre was re-licensed in January 2015, following an extension of the facilities with the purchase of an adjacent house. It is now licensed to provide education and care for a maximum of 75 children from birth to school age, including 19 babies and toddlers (children up to two years). The centre is open from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday and offers all day and flexible sessional care, in response to the needs of families.

Considerable change and development has occurred since the last ERO review and report in 2012. Buildings and facilities have been extended and upgraded. Two separate age-based areas have been established, and became operational at the start of 2015. Five additional teachers were employed in response to the extended licence. Almost all of the teachers at the centre are qualified, and two are in training.

The centre manager provides overall management and leadership for the centre. Two team leaders have been appointed to lead each of the age-group areas. The newly formed teaching team is made up of both longstanding and more recently appointed staff. Teachers are currently building relationships and developing ways of working together effectively, and in the best interests of children.

The centre provides a welcoming environment for children and their parents. Priority is placed on developing and maintaining positive relationships. These relationships support the reciprocal communication of information about children, toddlers and babies that is important to their daily care and wellbeing.

The centre’s existing programme philosophy aims to provide an emergent curriculum that is responsive to children’s emerging interests and develops them as confident and competent learners. However, this philosophy is in urgent need of review so that all teachers in the newly formed team understand what is expected of them as teachers in this centre.

Areas identified for development in the 2012 ERO report are yet to be addressed. These relate to strategic planning, self review, assessment and bicultural practices. The development of a strategic plan has been identified as a particular priority for the centre’s immediate and long term development.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

The centre manager works cooperatively with the parent committee to ensure that the learning environment is safe, attractive and well resourced. Careful consideration has been given to the building renovations in both age-group areas to make them inviting spaces where babies, toddlers and young children can play with and alongside their friends to have fun and develop their early learning.

Teachers place strong priority on getting to know children and their families well. They make parents feel very welcome in the centre and develop respectful relationships with them and their children. Very good communication between teachers and parents is evident across the centre. Important information about children’s care and wellbeing is shared in a manner that is of benefit to the child.

There has been a recent focus on strengthening the involvement of parents and whānau in their children’s participation in the centre programme. Under the leadership of the centre manager, a range of strategies are being used to encourage parents to have a voice and to share their aspirations for their child’s education and care. This is an area for continuing development. Similarly, teachers have been giving careful consideration to the transition between the two age-based areas. The need for this has been highlighted with the development of the separate building. This review of transition, and development of agreed guidelines should be most useful for parents and staff, and bring consistency of practice to the process.

Teachers work hard to develop trusting relationships with children. Their interactions with them are respectful and caring, and babies, toddlers and young children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in the centre. Teachers of the babies and toddlers are very responsive to children’s individual care needs. They are in tune with their non-verbal cues and provide for each child’s feeding, toileting and sleep rhythms throughout the day.

Older children especially develop friendships, and are able to play cooperatively with one another independently of adults. Children, including toddlers are encouraged to make independent choices, engage in creative activity and experience social interaction. There are opportunities for children to engage in physical challenge and the easy access to an adjacent park provides additional space and variety for them. This is particularly important for older boys, as they near school age, who are in need of additional opportunities to engage in games and purposeful physical activities.

The centre manager has introduced systems to improve supervision and to ensure smooth organisation of the centre. This has been important as the centre has been restructured and numbers of children and staff have increased. However, it is now time to review the programme in the over two area, particularly the routines for eating and mat times to improve the flow of the programme, and to enable more relaxed management of this increased group size. In carrying out this urgent review, leaders and teachers need to give careful consideration to increasing opportunities for children to be involved in purposeful, uninterrupted and more complex play in an emergent, learner-centred programme.

In conjunction with the review and development of the programme and philosophy, the centre leader must plan and provide a relevant programme of ongoing professional learning and development for all teaching staff. This development should enable all teachers to confidently and consistently recognise and respond to children’s learning in play, to engage with them in purposeful learning conversations and intentional teaching. Aligning this professional learning with teachers’ appraisal goals is likely to strengthen this work, and lead to greater opportunities for teacher sharing and reflection on best practice for learning and teaching.

Key Next Steps

Priority areas for development are as follows:

Strategic planning:The centre manager acknowledges the importance of leading a strategic planning process with committee members and staff. The resulting plan should be owned and understood by all members of the centre community, and be a working document that sets the vision, and guides development. This plan should also provide a shared reference point for ongoing self review.

Philosophy review and professional learning and development: The centre manager needs to work collaboratively with team leaders and teachers to establish an agreed and shared approach to learning and teaching that is informed by current research and best practice in early childhood education. It is important that teachers are involved in ongoing, relevant professional learning as part of this process.

Building leadership capability: The centre manager recognises the need to continue to build her capacity to provide effective leadership for this growing centre. It is also necessary to empower team leaders to effectively lead learning and teaching in their respective age-group areas in order to strengthen teaching practice and improve learning outcomes for children, especially in the over two area.

Appraisal process: The centre manager recognises the need to strengthen and consistently implement the appraisal process for leaders and teachers in the centre.

Recommendation

ERO recommends, and the centre manager recognises the need for guidance and assistance from Ministry of Education providers, to develop and implement manageable and sustainable strategic planning and self-review processes. This is particularly important as the centre faces the challenges of an increased group size and the associated challenges.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Matamata Childcare 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.

To improve current practice the centre manager must consistently implement a robust appraisal process for all teaching staff annually.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Matamata Childcare Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

26 January 2016

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Matamata, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

34026

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

104

Gender composition

Boys 57 Girls 47

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

African

Other European

17

77

4

4

1

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

50-79%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:6

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2015

Date of this report

26 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2012

 

Education Review

February 2010

 

Education Review

March 2007

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.

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.