Oaktree Kindergarten - 11/06/2015

1. Evaluation of Oaktree Kindergarten

How well placed is Oaktree 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

Oaktree Kindergarten is located in Browns Bay on Auckland’s North Shore. It is licensed to provide education and care for up to 40 children aged over three years. Children aged four to five years attend three days per week and those aged three to four years attend two days. Four qualified teachers make up the teaching team.

The centre philosophy statement identifies a strong commitment to developing relationships that embrace children, their families and the wider community. Inclusion, well-being and effective, open communication are seen as essential foundations to support children’s learning. A strong commitment to bi-cultural practice is also evident.

The kindergarten operates under the guidance of the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association (NAKA). The Association provides the kindergarten with a framework of policies and procedures. A Teacher Services Manager regularly visits the kindergarten and offers the team useful professional support and guidance.

The 2012 ERO report acknowledged the quality programme being provided by skilled teachers. Other strengths identified were effective leadership, strategic planning and self review. Areas for development and review included developing children’s numeracy skills in play, promoting the use of the environment to support children’s learning, and using self review for continuous improvement. The team has responded in depth and well to these recommendations.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and settled and enjoy a very peaceful atmosphere. Teachers and children engage in quiet conversations that indicate strong relationships. Teachers sensitively introduce newer children to those with similar interests. They support the new children's developing social skills, and well-being.

The attractively presented, well resourced environment encourages exploration and children confidently make choices about their play. Skilled teachers support children to play for extended periods of time. The environment reflects the culturally diverse community and the provision of an inclusive programme.

The centre philosophy is very evident in practice and includes:

  • the formation of a culturally diverse parent committee
  • children chatting in their home languages during play
  • the deep commitment to bi-cultural development seamlessly woven through all aspects of centre processes and programme planning.

Parents spoken to by ERO shared their deep appreciation and respect for the teaching team and the programme.

Teachers strive to know children, families and their community well. They make very effective use of the local bus service, taking children in small groups to unique places of interest close by. These trips have allowed children to experience meaningful learning opportunities, particularly in the area of science, whilst becoming more aware of their natural surroundings.

Transitions into and through the centre are effectively managed. Teachers are respectful of children’s choices when they select a primary caregiver on first arriving at the centre. Sensitive interactions allow teachers to establish friendships and bonds with all children over time. All parents are invited to share their aspirations for their children on arrival and as they transition between the younger and older group. Effective relationships with local schools have been established.

The centre’s involvement in the Enviro Schools Project and a strong focus on sustainability has really engaged the children. Opportunities for them to learn mathematics, literacy and about the wider world have emerged from their involvement. Programme planning is multi-layered, incorporating and weaving together self review, children’s interests, and the centre philosophy.

The outdoor environment has recently benefitted from a comprehensive review. This in-depth review has resulted in the creation of a beautiful and very natural space, successfully combining physical challenges with quiet garden areas. Natural materials also feature in abundance in the indoors amongst the clearly defined play areas.

A strong commitment to, and belief in, the processes of self review are evident across the team. Self review projects are purposeful and incorporate links to the philosophy statement, Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum, and strategic planning. Outcomes of review positively influence teaching practice. Shared understandings of quality practice underpin the self-review process.

The teachers expressed appreciation of the opportunities they have to act in a leadership capacity. Individual strengths are acknowledged and appreciated in an organisational culture strongly conducive to ongoing improvement. Teachers felt well supported by the levels of professional development and support offered by NAKA.

Key Next Steps

ERO supports the team’s self identified next step to continue to develop appropriate responses for a diverse community, seeking to ask and understand the answers to the question “what does a competent child look like in your culture?”

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Oaktree 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 Oaktree Kindergarten will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

11 June 2015

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Browns Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5547

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children

Service roll

80

Gender composition

Girls 47

Boys 33

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Korean

Russian

Indian

South African

American

Pacific Island

other

2

41

12

6

6

3

3

2

2

3

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

April 2015

Date of this report

11 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

February 2012

 

Education Review

September 2008

 

Education Review

June 2005

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.