Newstead Country Preschool - 03/12/2012

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Newstead Country Preschool continues to ensure children are safe and well cared for. The service will be better placed to promote children’s learning and continually improve when approaches to curriculum and self review are strengthened.

Context

Newstead Country Preschool is a mixed-age, all day, privately owned early childhood centre licensed for 37 children including 15 under two. The centre is located in a unique country setting in close proximity to Hamilton City.

The management team is committed to employing qualified early childhood teachers. They currently employ over 80% qualified teachers, and have three staff members in training. The management team maintains adult to child ratios that are above licensing requirements.

The owner and centre manager have a strong working relationship having worked together at previous centres. The centre manager joined the current management team of Newstead Country Preschool in 2007.

The Review Findings

Since the last ERO review teachers have continued to have trusting, positive and caring relationships with children that promote a sense of belonging. Children are encouraged to develop independence and self-care skills that foster their confidence to participate. In addition, ERO observed the following good practices:

  • teachers having conversations with children during their play and routines
  • older children learning to care for and showing consideration of younger children
  • children taking substantial leadership roles and actively contributing during age-group times.

A special feature of the centre is the opportunities provided for children to participate in real learning experiences in the farm environment and rural surroundings. Children enjoy daily walks where they explore and investigate the natural world. They undertake practical activities on the farm about caring for animals and the environment. Teachers now need to use this unique natural setting as a foundation for further developing the centre’s curriculum and strengthening learning outcomes for children.

The management team has successfully created a positive working environment. Teachers work together in respectful and collaborative ways, and parents perspectives are valued. ERO believes these positive relationships position the centre well to respond to the areas for review and development identified in this report.

The owner, centre manager and administrator have recently formalised their role as a management team. Their primary goal is developing a collaborative strategic plan to guide the future direction of the centre. This process is helping the management team to share their knowledge and make decisions about ongoing improvement.

Areas for development and review

In order to better support children’s learning the management team should support staff to:

  • respond more effectively to teachable moments to maximise and extend children’s learning
  • plan programmes that build on individual children’s interests, ideas and strengths
  • deepen their understanding and implementation of current assessment, planning and evaluation practices.

Special consideration needs to be given to the development of a curriculum for children up to two years of age.

In order to support ongoing improvements in centre operations, the management team should further develop their understanding and implementation of:

  • strategic and annual planning
  • processes that monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the quality of education and care
  • curriculum leadership
  • a staff appraisal system that is clearly aligned to strategic and annual goals, professional teacher standards, and used to inform staff professional development.

Recommendation

ERO recommends that the early childhood service seek support from the Ministry of Education for whole-centre professional development in self review, and assessment, planning and evaluation.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Newstead Country Preschool 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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

3 December 2012

Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

30020

Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

37 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

50

Gender composition

Girls 30

Boys 20

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Other European

Other

47

2

1

Review team on site

September

Date of this report

3 December 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

March 2007

March 2004

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.