Nurture Early Learning Centre - 22/02/2016

1 Evaluation of Nurture Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Nurture 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

Nurture Early Learning Centre in Avondale, Auckland provides very good quality education and care for children from three months to school age. It has operated from the same purpose built facility since opening in 2010 and continues to be run by the same owners, manager and many of the staff.

The centre is divided into four age-related rooms. The Tiny Tui room caters for the youngest children until they are about 18 months old and move on to the Cheeky Kea room. Children aged from around 2½ to 3½ years are in the Playful Pukeko room and the Mighty Morepork room caters for the oldest children, from about 3½ years until school age. The Playful Pukeko and Mighty Morepork rooms have their own outdoor play areas, with the younger children sharing an outside play space. The centre also has a separate kitchen and dining area where toddlers and older children are served healthy and nutritious meals.

The centre environment and teaching and learning programmes are inspired by the principles promoted by Reggio Emilia, where children are encouraged to be leaders of their own learning. The centre’s philosophy supports this child-centred approach and promotes meaningful partnerships with parents that enhance children’s learning.

When the service opened in 2010, the owners employed a specialist early childhood consultancy to provide governance and management support for the centre. This consultancy team also provided professional learning for teachers and staff. In 2015, the owners and specialist consultancy team agreed that the centre was capable of governing and managing without specialist support. Also in 2015, the owners opened a second Nurture centre in Onehunga. The existing supervisor from the Avondale centre has been made director of both centres.

The 2012 ERO report identified many good practices in the centre, with notable strengths in the way teachers interacted with children and their parents. Centre management and staff have responded well to the next steps identified in that report and have improved in all aspects of planning, assessment and evaluation.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and highly engaged in their learning. They play well with and alongside each other. True to the centre’s philosophy, children are the focus of learning programmes and strategic decision making. Centre managers and staff work collaboratively together and with parents so that the vision for children to be respected as capable and competent learners is shared.

Teachers are skilled professionals. They plan learning programmes around children’s individual strengths, talents, interests and needs. They are increasingly strengthening their bicultural learning focus and promoting te reo Māori and tikanga. Teachers are also strengthening the way they plan for, and respond culturally to, children with varied Pacific heritage. Teachers are gentle with children and are aware of their learning and care needs. They treat children and each other with dignity and respect.

Babies and toddlers experience calm environments, and warm and affectionate interactions with their teachers. Teachers respond very well to the individual personalities and preferences of each child. They follow children’s home routines and communicate daily with parents about their children’s learning and care needs.

Indoor and outside environments are carefully and deliberately designed to inspire children’s learning and encourage their exploration. Learning spaces are uncluttered and children have free access to high quality resources and equipment, and natural materials. Teachers plan for and encourage children’s interests, thinking and curiosity about the world. They are continuing to promote the teachers’ role in provoking, extending and recording children’s thinking, especially in relation to children’s emerging interests.

Teachers manage children’s transitions into and through the centre effectively. As children attend many different primary schools throughout Auckland, the centre has forged partnerships with two primary schools. Visits to these schools and participation in school events gives children good opportunities to experience school with their preschool friends and teachers.

Parents are valued as partners in their children’s learning and as members of the centre community. They are supported to understand the early learning theories and practices used in the centre, especially those inspired by Reggio Emilia. They are invited to contribute to centre self-review.

The centre is very well led and managed at all levels of the operation. All staff are valued equally for their work, and have access to a comfortable staff room and separate work space. The owners invest generously in the professionalism of teachers and support staff. Teachers are supported as lifelong learners and have meaningful professional learning opportunities. Self-review, including the development and use of a very good staff appraisal system, is very well used by managers and teachers as a tool for ongoing improvement.

Managers are future focused and align their strategic planning to all aspects of centre operations. As part of their own future thinking and inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, they are now looking to develop an atelier: a studio where older children could experiment and work on long-term projects that extend their learning and thinking.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Nurture 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 Nurture Early Learning Centre will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 February 2016

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

Avondale, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

45568

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 30 aged under 2

Service roll

132

Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Samoan

South African

other Pacific

other

5%

77%

6%

4%

2%

2%

2%

2%

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

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2015

Date of this report

22 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

October 2012

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.