Noah's Ark Early Learning Centre - 21/05/2014

Evaluation of Noah's Ark Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Noah's Ark Early Learning 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

Noah’s Ark Early Learning Centre is a privately owned, purpose-built centre located close to the Whanganui District Hospital.

The centre caters for 50 children, including 18 under two years of age and 12 who identify as Māori. Separate areas are organised for over two-year-olds, and infants and toddlers. Noah’s Ark serves a wide and diverse community. Children move from the centre to 15 different schools across Whanganui.

The owners place the overall responsibility for centre operation with the centre manager. She is well supported by two head teachers, providing professional leadership for teachers and strategic direction for the service.

This is the centre's first ERO review. The collaboratively developed philosophy expresses the aim for the centre to become the ‘heart’ of its community, valuing families and welcoming them as whānau.

The Review Findings

The curriculum is well planned to meet the specific needs of infants, toddlers and young children. They are enthusiastic participants in relevant learning experiences. The centre manager and head teachers have a clear vision that guides the curriculum. It relates strongly to the service’s philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

A Ministry of Education and iwi initiative, ‘Te Kopae Ririki’, has recently begun to improve teachers’ knowledge and understanding of how to promote Māori identity, language and culture. Children participate in routines which include tikanga, karakia and waiata. Teachers frequently incorporate te reo Māori into conversations with infants, toddlers and young children. Leaders acknowledge that bicultural practice is an ongoing area for development.

Environments are organised in ways to foster social play and support independence and relationship building. Regular trips into the community extend children’s perspective of their world.

Transitions across the centre are flexible and responsive to meet the needs of individual children and families. The centre has developed relationships and new entrant enrolment protocols with local schools.

Individual and group planning is used suitably to notice, recognise and respond to children’s interests and dispositions; and make home links through family and whānau. Children’s learning, social and emotional competency is well catered for.

Review has been undertaken by leaders and educators to promote a clear and shared understanding of planning, assessment and evaluation. This is well conveyed to parents and whānau. Assessment information is contained in attractive portfolios or Learning Journeys. Children proudly share these with each other, revisiting past experiences. Learning Journeys are easily accessible to parents, whānau and children.

Teachers successfully use strategies to promote positive outcomes for infants and toddlers, these include:

  • key teachers, who provide primary care for babies

  • responsive relationships and nurture that are attuned to infants and toddlers' routines and rhythms

  • fostering independence

  • encouraging exploration, discovery and communication

  • gentle and respectful interactions.

Infants, toddlers and young children are consulted and empowered to take increasing responsibility for their own wellbeing. Children are gaining awareness that literacy is a means to share ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Mathematical and science experiences are positively promoted. Children are able to theorise and view themselves as learners.

Teachers work well as a team, informing each other about the interests, emotional needs and comfort of children.

Leadership is shared and collaborative. The centre manager provides mentoring, advice and guidance for registering teachers, and takes responsibility for appraisal. Head teachers provide high quality models of effective teaching, share best practice and ensure consistency is an ongoing development. All staff have opportunities to take responsibility and initiate ideas. Whānau willingly share their knowledge and link home experiences and routines to centre practice.

Leaders establish a culture in which children are first and foremost valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning.

Self review is still developing. It clearly focuses on the effectiveness of processes, practices and progress toward positive results. Reviews are documented and outcomes are shared with all involved in the service, including whānau. There is evidence that self review leads to improved teaching and learning for children and the current system provides a strong basis for improvement.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the centre leader agree that the next key steps are to further develop:

  • teacher capability in te reo Māori and the implementation of a culturally responsive curriculum

  • self review to provide a more cohesive approach to teaching and learning by aligning strategic planning, philosophy, appraisal and targeted professional learning and development.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Noah's Ark Early Learning 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Noah's Ark Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

21 May 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

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

46132

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll

58

Gender composition

Boys 34, Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

12

38

8

Percentage of qualified adults

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

1:6

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

21 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

First report

 

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.