Midcity Childcare - 26/09/2014

1. Evaluation of Midcity Childcare

How well placed is Midcity Childcare 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

Midcity Childcare is owned by a trust and is located in the central business district of Hamilton City. The service provides an all-day service of education and care for a maximum of 49 children at any one time, including up to 20 children who are under the age of two years. At the time of this ERO review, 55 children were enrolled, of whom 11 are identified as Māori. Children from a variety of other ethnicities are also enrolled. While most children attend full time, some places are shared by children who attend for half days.

The centre is managed by two knowledgeable leaders who are experienced in early childhood education. They are supported by the leaders of three age groups, who have long-term service in the centre and are also experienced in their roles. The centre maintains a high ratio of staff to children.

The centre has developed separate areas for the three age groups. It features a large indoor playground which is available for active play in all weathers. Children can also play in outdoor areas designed for each of the age groups.

Since the last ERO review in July 2011, the centre has made improvements to the environment, introduced a gym programme for toddlers and preschool aged children, and developed a nature programme, where older children can visit and explore a local bush area weekly. There has also been a focus on improving outcomes for children by building and supporting teacher practice.

The Review Findings

Relationships among children, teachers and parents are positive, reciprocal and highly respectful. The service offers a friendly, family-like culture where people are greeted, welcomed and included in the life of the centre. Children settle quickly to explore and play in an attractive, well-equipped environment that provides a wide variety of activities and experiences. They are learning to make good choices, play happily with others and develop leadership skills. Regular trips into the community and walks in the local area allow children to become familiar with the wider world and gain new experiences. Older children are able to participate weekly in a planned nature programme outside the centre that extends their understanding of the living world and the New Zealand environment.

Children aged up to two years receive nurturing and responsive care-giving in a separate area where there is a high teacher to child ratio. The programme is designed to reflect children’s individual home routines. Babies and toddlers develop positive attachments with teachers that enable them to settle and play happily. They investigate an interesting variety of resources and interact with teachers who provide calm, respectful support for their well-being and learning. Children’s oral language is developing as teachers constantly talk with them, read stories, and sing songs and nursery rhymes. Parents appreciate the low-stress approach that eases children’s transition to the next age group area.

Teachers know children and their families/whānau well. They form close partnerships and seek to develop a connection between children’s home and centre experiences and learning. Parents’ aspirations for their children are valued and included in programme plans. Teachers seek to recognise and respond to children’s interests, and to extend their learning through longer-term projects and themes. Literacy, numeracy and science are incorporated within children’s play and exploration, which provide many opportunities for teachers to strengthen and extend understanding of important concepts for ongoing learning. Teachers notice and celebrate children’s successes and positive contributions. They maintain attractive individual profiles using photographs and written assessments. These profiles are readily available for parents and children to revisit earlier learning and experiences.

The service is increasingly including bicultural aspects as a significant, natural feature of the programme. Teachers are growing their knowledge and confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori, and use phrases in te reo incidentally. Children are learning the waiata that are most valued by their families, and are developing their understandings and respect for Māori protocols and practices. The centre also recognises aspects of Pacific identities and culture, and appreciates support from Pacific families to incorporate this focus. Other cultures are also recognised and celebrated.

Teachers are knowledgeable and highly reflective practitioners who value the culture and high expectations of the service. They work as cohesive teams, and have worked hard to establish good communication and consistent practices between the three age-group areas. Teachers benefit from a thorough and rigorous appraisal process that links to strategic goals and professional development opportunities.

Managers and leaders are experienced and highly committed to the vision and philosophy of the service. They work together to sustain a strongly collaborative service where children’s best interest guides all decisions. Managers are focused on continuing improvement and recognise the importance of providing increased opportunities for leaders and teachers to take on leadership and areas of responsibility. Managers value professional development and ongoing self review for its influence on the professional knowledge and competency of the staff team.

Key Next Steps

Centre management and ERO agree that the following next steps are likely to result in improved outcomes for children.

The centre recognises the importance of assessment for providing useful information for teachers, families and children. Children’s portfolios could be improved by increasing the connections with children’s previous learning to show progress and development.

The centre recognises the importance of developing relationships with local iwi. This would assist the centre to strengthen the strategic approach to enriching children’s culture, language and identity.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Midcity Childcare 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 Midcity Childcare will be in three years.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

26 September 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

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

30205

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

49 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll

55

Gender composition

Girls 29 Boys 26

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other African

Other

Asian

Cook Island Māori

Other Asian

South-east Asian

11

32

5

2

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

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

26 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

July 2011

 

Education Review

June 2008

 

Education Review

May 2005

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.