Miro House Kindergarten - 13/12/2017

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 is a kindergarten which follows the Rudolf Steiner philosophy of education in all aspects of its operations. It is located in the northern suburbs of Hamilton, and children attend from three years to school age. The kindergarten operates four mixed-age classrooms. Mostly, children stay in the same room from enrolment until they go on to school. A high proportion of children transition as a cohort to the adjoining Waldorf School, at the start of the year in which they turn seven. The kindergarten is licensed for 88 children. The current roll is 57 and includes 11 children identified as Māori.

The Rudolf Steiner Early Education Trust (RSECT) has responsibility for the governance of Miro House, in conjunction with three other early childhood services that follow the same philosophy. RSECT develops strategic pathways and the policy framework to ensure compliance with legislative requirements. It also retains responsibility for financial and employment matters.

The current principal was appointed in November 2016. She has completed specialist Rudolf Steiner training, in addition to her teaching qualifications. She is the professional leader of the kindergarten, and manages day-to-day operations. The kindergarten has retained a high proportion of qualified staff, through a period of recent changes in the teaching team.

The Rudolf Steiner philosophy emphasises a child-initiated play-based programme, where rhythms and routines provide a stable and secure basis from which children can grow and develop to their potential. The philosophy advocates for close partnership between the kindergarten and parents as guardians of the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual nature of every child.

Kindergarten leaders and the RSECT responded positively to recommendation in the 2014 ERO report. They strengthened the alignment of strategic and annual plans and established Rudolf Steiner philosophy-based priorities for teaching and learning. However, RSECT is yet to formalise the annual appraisal of the principal, and this remains a matter to be addressed with some urgency.

The Review Findings

Teachers have established close long-term relationships between teachers, children and their families. Children stay with the same teacher in the same room for their kindergarten years. This approach is consistent with the Rudolf Steiner philosophy. Mixed-age groups promote tuakana teina relationships of care and support between older and younger children. Daily and seasonal rhythms are central to teacher practice and children’s experiences, and include circle and story time, shared meals, regular sharing of verse and purposeful use of symbols. All children, including those who require additional help, are well supported to develop a sense of belonging.

Children benefit from curriculum planning and assessment that is based on the Rudolf Steiner philosophy. The programme successfully engages children’s imagination and creativity, and fosters their wonder for the environment. The curriculum is supported by high-quality resources that are natural, simple, tactile and readily accessible. A focus of the curriculum in the kindergarten years is on the four lower senses of touch, movement, balance and life. Teachers carefully plan for any additional learning and development needs of individual children, in partnership with their parents.

Teachers model purposeful activity. They model skills and activities so that, where possible, children initiate their own learning. There is strong evidence that children develop high levels of oral language, confidence and social competencies. Mathematical and scientific concepts are fully integrated in the regular programme. The rich curriculum motivates and supports children to develop as confident and competent learners.

The inclusive ethos of the kindergarten means that diversity is valued. Language, culture and identity for all children are celebrated. There are many examples of the natural integration of te ao Māori, including the use of te reo. A teacher who is fluent in te reo Māori is contributing to local knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori for children, teachers and families. The principal models the values of manaakitanga and aroha, promotes reciprocal learning and teaching by staff (ako), and demonstrates strong respect for the mana of people and environments. All children including Māori, gain an awareness and appreciation of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The principal’s leadership is strengthening the Rudolf Steiner pedagogy.This is increasingly evident in teacher practice and kindergarten operations. Teachers appreciate the regular mentoring and constructive feedback they receive to support their practice.

Spontaneous and planned self review is occurring at all levels of the kindergarten, and is increasingly informing planning. The principal recognises the importance of fully implementing the revised teacher appraisal process, which is now better aligned with Education Council requirements. Well-informed leadership and self review that is closely aligned to strategic pathways is enabling the kindergarten community to focus on positive growth and continuous improvement.

The Rudolf Steiner philosophy, vision and desired outcomes for children are very clear and shared with parents at enrolment. Kindergarten leaders ensure that regular information meetings and access to relevant readings build supportive partnerships with parents. These approaches foster coherence amongst parents, teachers and kindergarten leaders, as they work together to support children's growth and development.

Key Next Steps

ERO recommends that the RSECT Board reviews and strengthens their formal support for the principal. This includes establishing relevant development goals following the completion of her annual appraisal, and ensuring a programme of professional support.

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.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

13 December 2017

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

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

88 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

57

Gender composition

Girls 31 Boys 26

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

11
36
10

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

October 2017

Date of this report

13 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Supplementary Review

August 2009

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.