Orakei Kindergarten - 14/09/2017

1 Evaluation of Orakei Kindergarten

How well placed is Orakei 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

Orakei Kindergarten offers all day education and care for up to 40 children over the age of two years. The roll includes a small number of Māori, Samoan, Chinese and Albanian children.

The kindergarten's philosophy is based on respect for oneself, others and the environment. Teachers believe that teaching children about respect prepares them for life and enables them to learn important social skills that are needed to succeed and be a valued part of society.

A new teaching team has been established in the last year. The team consists of three registered teachers, a teacher aide, an administrator and a registered head teacher who is an effective leader of a cohesive and collaborative team. The outdoor environment has undergone a significant redesign and rebuild to maximise exploration, encourage safe risk-taking and to broaden learning experiences. New resources and furniture have been bought to enhance the indoor environment.

The 2014 ERO review identified many areas of good performance. These included assessment practices, relationships with parents and the community, affirmation of children's capability and competence, and support for teachers to grow their leadership capability.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework. Professional support personnel assist teachers with curriculum, management and property matters.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are confident, independent learners. They competently settle themselves in play areas and make deliberate choices about the resources they need. Many persist at activities for prolonged periods, problem solving and experimenting with new ideas as challenges arise. Children are friendly and caring towards their peers.

As a result of teachers' strong focus on aroha, meaningful relationships and responsive teaching, children see themselves as capable communicators, learners and leaders. They work together collaboratively in self-directed play and expect adults to support them where needed. Children and their families have a sense of ownership, belonging and wellbeing in the kindergarten. A noteworthy feature of the kindergarten is the significant support and individual planning for children with additional needs.

The atmosphere in the kindergarten is welcoming, calm and unhurried. The learning environment is thoughtfully laid out with well presented resources and inviting spaces. Attractive displays celebrate and value children's creativity and learning, family cultures, and the community. Children use resources flexibly to support their imaginative play. The outdoor environment encourages challenge and active engagement in physical activity, and provides good opportunities for children to be involved in environmental sustainability.

Transitions into and through the kindergarten are managed well. Teachers are respectful of children’s preference of a primary caregiver on their first day. Sensitive conversations 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. Effective relationships have been established with the local school, to make transitions into school smoother for the children.

Teachers’ conversations with children enhance their language development, communication skills, thinking and reasoning. Teachers listen carefully to children’s ideas and make good links to their prior knowledge. Teachers support children to take leadership roles and to share their expertise in areas of interest. Literacy, mathematical concepts, science and creativity are integrated in meaningful ways throughout the programme.

A significant focus on biculturalism underpins the curriculum and is evident in the learning environment. The carved pou that includes Rangitoto, and the Atua Māori displayed in the outdoor area are symbols of the value placed on bicultural perspectives. Children learn waiata, karakia and te reo Māori, mainly during mat times. Teachers are building useful relationships with people from the local marae. Teachers would like to continue increasing the use and integration of te reo Māori in the programme.

Teachers have improved their planning to focus more on children's individual learning interests. They have good systems for noticing, recognising and responding to children's emerging interests and learning dispositions. Portfolios record children's participation in the programme and strong links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and contain very good analysis of their learning and skills. Teachers plan to review and refine assessment practices and are focused on making learning more visible for parents and children in their learning stories. They could also consider ways to show in portfolios how they plan to respond to and deepen children's interests and learning.

Parents are encouraged to be partners with the kindergarten in their children’s learning. Teachers provide many opportunities for families to participate in the programme, contribute to reviews and be aware of their children’s progress. Children's learning is also shared with parents through wall displays and online e-portfolios. Teachers would like to encourage even more parent input into the programme.

Leadership is effective. Teachers work collaboratively and take on leadership roles based on their strengths and interests. Professional learning related to internal evaluation is supporting teachers to build their professional practice and capability. Internal evaluation is well established and results in improved learning outcomes for children. Teachers gather input from parents and children to inform internal evaluation. They should now deepen their evaluation so that it focuses more on outcomes for children.

Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA’s strategic goals. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) aligns with the AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. The QIP helps the AKA and teachers to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement. The AKA continues to review its management and leadership structure. It has begun a process of internal evaluation to establish how effectively the four pillars of its strategic plan are resulting in more positive outcomes for children, their families, and the organisation

Key Next Steps

The kindergarten teachers have identified appropriate key next steps. These include:

  • identifying learning outcomes and planning teaching strategies to challenge children's thinking and extend their learning

  • ensuring that portfolios contain a balance of individual and group learning stories and adequately demonstrate individual children's learning progress over time.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Orakei 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 Orakei Kindergarten will be in three years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

14 September 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

Orakei, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5084

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over two years of age

Service roll

53

Gender composition

Girls 31, Boys 22

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Other European
Samoan

3
41
4
3
2

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

14 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2014

Education Review

May 2011

Education Review

June 2008

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.