Miro House Kindergarten - 10/09/2014

1 Evaluation of Miro House Kindergarten

How well placed is Miro House 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

Miro House Kindergarten is located in the suburb of Rototuna, in Hamilton north. It operates under the governance of the Rudolf Steiner School’s (Waikato) Trust. This kindergarten is licensed for 88 children over the age of two years. It operates four rooms of mixed age groups from four to six years in each room.

The service operates under the principles of Rudolf Steiner education and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The Rudolf Steiner principles are underpinned by values of imaginative play, creativity, gratitude, reverence and wonder in an environment that promotes love and warmth.

The centre shares a site with two other separately licensed early childhood centres and the Waikato Waldorf School (Rudolf Steiner). The trust has identified a need to better cater for the early childhood centre and plans to create a separate trust to govern the centres by January 2015. The trust is in the process of planning to build a new facility where all three centre licences will operate in close proximity to each other, creating an early childhood hub. This proposal is due for completion at the end of 2015.

All of the early childhood centres are overseen by the service’s early childhood principal. Since the last ERO review in 2011 there has been a re-structuring of management and leadership. A new position of curriculum leader has been created. This leadership supports the professional development of staff and provides improved access for families. Management has progressively addressed assessment and bicultural practice identified as areas for development in the last report. There have been some staff changes and now the kindergarten has a consistent and collaborative team of teachers.

The Review Findings

The kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

The calm and unrushed learning environments are purposefully designed to reflect the Steiner philosophy. The kindergarten has established a culture of inclusion where diversity is valued. Children have access to open-ended natural resources that support their creativity and imagination. The curriculum includes a focus on learning within and about natural cycles of nature and the seasons.

Children are confident and settled within familiar routines and rhythms of the day. They experience trusting and respectful relationships with their teachers and peers. Positive relationships promote children’s sense of wellbeing and belonging. Children are encouraged to express their ideas honestly and respectfully. Older children are given more responsibility through leadership roles and support and guide younger children within the programme. Children have established friendships and through their play develop their communication and social competencies.

Teachers are skilled at observing children and modelling strategies for learning. They know children well and this enables them to effectively communicate verbally and non-verbally. Teachers view each child holistically and in the context of family/whānau. Through their imaginative play children are able to problem solve, negotiate and develop their thinking skills. Children experience rich oral language through their interactions, and at story and circle times. Literacy and mathematical concepts are naturally integrated through child-initiated play. Teachers effectively model and introduce mathematical terms such as counting, capacity and measurement into children’s vocabulary in situations such as sand play, cooking and woodwork.

The service’s knowledgeable early childhood principal provides sound professional leadership for the kindergarten. She keeps the trust informed through monthly reports about the day-to-day operation of the kindergarten. The trust supports the kindergarten and is open to changes in the leadership structure.

The principal has built a cohesive team culture. Staff members regularly reflect on their professional practice. Self-review processes focus on improving teachers understanding and knowledge around bicultural and assessment practices. Ongoing internal professional development has further enhanced curriculum delivery. Teachers demonstrate improved capabilities and acknowledge that they can continue building on their practice in these areas.

Kindergarten leaders and teachers work closely with parents to build a strong community with shared understanding and beliefs about Rudolf Steiner philosophy of education. Parents are involved through participating and celebrating in festivals, birthdays and parent education meetings. Assessment portfolios are valued by parents and show children’s experiences while at the kindergarten.

Key Next Steps

ERO, the trust and the early childhood kindergarten principal agree that the areas for ongoing development are to:

  • align strategic and annual plans and self-review practices
  • establish priorities for teaching and learning
  • implement agreed processes for the principal’s annual appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Miro House 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 Miro House Kindergarten will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

10 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

45117

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

88 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

69

Gender composition

Boys 38 Girls 31

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other European

Other

10

51

4

4

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

August 2014

Date of this report

10 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2011

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.