Owhiro Bay Kindergarten - 08/12/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Owhiro Bay Kindergarten is affiliated to the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association (the association). The association has a governing board and a general manager. The general manager is the service provider contact person for the kindergarten. The association employs a team of senior teachers, one of whom is responsible for leading the professional support and advice and guidance to the teaching team. She also liaises with the kindergarten community.

This new purpose-built kindergarten was opened in November 2009. It is situated in the grounds of Owhiro Bay School. Staff work with those in the school, joining together for a range of regular activities for children and to share special events.

The kindergarten caters for children from 6 months to 5 years. The play space for infants and toddlers is known as Tipu (seedlings) and the play areas for older children are known as Puawai (blossom).

A new head teacher commenced at the beginning of 2011. She has developed a vision for the kindergarten with the team and this is evident through the effective focus on building relationships and creating a climate of care at all levels in the kindergarten. Teachers feel empowered to share and reflect on their teaching practice and to undertake research projects around areas of particular interest that contribute to staff development. One example has resulted in a high quality focus on bicultural practices giving prominence to te ao Māori and authentic integration into the well-planned programme.

Consistent, good quality interactions, and the thoughtful transitions within and beyond the kindergarten support children’s well-being. Teachers share an understanding of high quality practices for infants and toddlers. These are demonstrated in the way they calmly organise the programme and routines around the children's natural rhythms, interests and care needs.

Children are settled and engaged in their play throughout the kindergarten and show positive relationships with one another. Teachers foster tuakana teina relationships where older children demonstrate care and responsibility for younger children. Teachers effectively promote literacy learning and support their language development. They recognise children’s wide ranging interests through lively narrative and recounts of children's participation in the programme. Linked stories acknowledge developing friendships and interest in their world.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Owhiro Bay Kindergarten was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atOwhiro Bay Kindergarten.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children;
  • the learning environment; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

The new purpose-built kindergarten opened in November 2009. It is situated in the grounds of Owhiro Bay School. Staff work with those in the school, joining together for a range of regular activities for children and to share special events.

The kindergarten caters for children from 6 months to 5 years. The play space for infants and toddlers is known as Tipu (seedlings) and the play areas for older children are known as Puawai (blossom).

A new head teacher commenced at the beginning of 2011. She has developed a vision for the kindergarten with the team and this is evident through the effective focus on building relationships and creating a climate of care at all levels in the kindergarten.

This is the kindergarten’s first ERO review.

Areas of strength

Bicultural practices Teachers work collaboratively promoting high quality bicultural practices that are shared authentically with children and whānau. These are well integrated and naturally incorporate te ao Māori into programmes and daily practices. Regular excursions into the local environment strengthen children’s sense of place and belonging.

Literacy Teachers effectively integrate a range of practices to promote children’s literacy learning. Children enjoy listening to and recounting stories, and creating their own. A range of opportunities stimulate children's imagination and creativity, and support language development.

Portfolios Teachers record children’s interests through lively narrative and recounts of participation in the programme. Stories link to reveal children’s ongoing and deepening interests.

Planning The well-planned programme is based on authentic learning experiences and promotes manaakitanga (well-being). Children can develop their ideas and revisit their emerging interests. Programme evaluations identify future directions.

Provision for infants and toddlers Teachers share an understanding of high quality practices for infants and toddlers. They demonstrate an affinity for working with this age group and organise the programme and routines around the children's natural rhythms, interests and care needs.

Transitions Children are well supported through a variety of transitions. When they move from Tipu to Puawai it is well considered and flexibly caters for individual needs. Children move in and out of the two areas at their own inclination and pace. The closeness of the relationship between the kindergarten and school promotes smooth transitions as children turn five.

Interactions Interactions are consistently good quality, respectful and empowering. Children are encouraged to make their own decisions and choose whether or not they participate in various aspects of the programme. Teachers respond to children with warmth and affection.

Relationships Children’s interactions with one another are positive and caring. Their support of each other is evident in the tuakana teina relationships that the teachers foster. Teachers model positive relationships through their interactions with team members.

Self review Teachers are highly reflective and work effectively with one another to develop the kindergarten’s culture and to strengthen planning and assessment. Actions ensure they are responsive to children’s emerging and developing interests.

Spontaneous reviews enable teachers to reflect more deeply, to scrutinise their practice and to consider parents’ questions and concerns. Teachers use Te Manawa indicators to formally investigate aspects of their practice.

Learning environment Children are confident and secure as they explore their learning environment. They are familiar with routines and expectations. They are settled and highly engaged in their play choices.

Leadership Strong, empowering leadership encourages innovative practice. The head teacher has focused on building relationships, creating a climate of care at all levels. She encourages the teaching team to share individuals’ areas of strength and assist each other. Teachers undertake their own research to improve their practice and outcomes for children.

Areas for development and review

Kindergarten management and ERO’s external evaluation have identified the following areas for ongoing development and review:

  • continue to build shared understandings about planned self review in order to make judgements about the quality of teaching and learning practices
  • continue to strengthen assessment practices by adding greater depth to the analysis of learning stories, more clearly identifying the learning and suggesting possible next steps
  • develop appraisal to provide specific feedback and support for individual teachers’ development
  • plan to develop the outdoor environment to create more inviting play spaces.

Association Support

Background

The 2008 ERO review of the association identified several strengths, including the provision of professional development, sound operation plans, support for property development and the use of a range of communication strategies to keep teachers and communities informed. Areas for improvement included the quality and depth of the written feedback given to teachers by the senior teacher and strengthening the appraisal process.

Since 2008, the association has led consultation with the community to modify session times and improve the ratio of teachers to children from 1:15 to 1:10 and maintained its policy of employing qualified, registered teachers in regulated permanent positions.

The association provides expectations and guidance to the kindergarten through its strategic plan, policies and procedures and more recently, the professional development strategy Te Manawa: Criteria for Curriculum Implementation.

Areas of strength

The association continues to provide high levels of guidance and support to teachers for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. These include:

  • the strategic plan setting expectations for participation, parent/whānau involvement and quality teaching practices
  • clearly defined indicators of quality teaching and learning practice through Te Manawa
  • a wide range of professional development opportunities
  • ongoing support in property development, human resource management, finance and resourcing

Areas for development and review

The association, senior teachers and ERO have identified areas where they can strengthen their support for teachers. These include:

  • further developing and supporting leadership, including a review of the appraisal process
  • reviewing senior teacher documentation to show how teachers have improved their practice as a result of feedback
  • reviewing how kindergartens’ annual plans for teaching and learning could more explicitly show how teachers respond to the association strategic priorities.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Inclusion of children with moderate to severe special needs

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions ensure the continuing well-being, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs are supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

Although there are no children with moderate to severe special needs currently enrolled in this service the team recognises the importance of inclusive education and has a focus on building relationships. The building is physically accessible.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Owhiro Bay Kindergarten completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration;
  • health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management; and
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse);
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures);
  • staff qualifications and organisation; and
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

5. Recommendation

ERO and the kindergarten leaders agree that the priorities for development and review are those outlined in the report.

6. Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

About the Centre

Type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Roll number

61

Gender composition

Boys 36, Girls 25

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 33,

Assyrian 10,

Māori 5,

Other ethnic groups 13

Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

8 December 2011

Type

First Review

8 December 2011

To the Parents and Community of Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Owhiro Bay Kindergarten.

Owhiro Bay Kindergarten is affiliated to the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association (the association). The association has a governing board and a general manager. The general manager is the service provider contact person for the kindergarten. The association employs a team of senior teachers, one of whom is responsible for leading the professional support and advice and guidance to the teaching team. She also liaises with the kindergarten community.

This new purpose-built kindergarten was opened in November 2009. It is situated in the grounds of Owhiro Bay School. Staff work with those in the school, joining together for a range of regular activities for children and to share special events.

The kindergarten caters for children from 6 months to 5 years. The play space for infants and toddlers is known as Tipu (seedlings) and the play areas for older children are known as Puawai (blossom).

A new head teacher commenced at the beginning of 2011. She has developed a vision for the kindergarten with the team and this is evident through the effective focus on building relationships and creating a climate of care at all levels in the kindergarten. Teachers feel empowered to share and reflect on their teaching practice and to undertake research projects around areas of particular interest that contribute to staff development. One example has resulted in a high quality focus on bicultural practices giving prominence to te ao Māori and authentic integration into the well-planned programme.

Consistent, good quality interactions, and the thoughtful transitions within and beyond the kindergarten support children’s well-being. Teachers share an understanding of high quality practices for infants and toddlers. These are demonstrated in the way they calmly organise the programme and routines around the children's natural rhythms, interests and care needs.

Children are settled and engaged in their play throughout the kindergarten and show positive relationships with one another. Teachers foster tuakana teina relationships where older children demonstrate care and responsibility for younger children. Teachers effectively promote literacy learning and support their language development. They recognise children’s wide ranging interests through lively narrative and recounts of children's participation in the programme. Linked stories acknowledge developing friendships and interest in their world.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.

Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.

National Evaluation Topics – This strand contributes to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.

Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre 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 this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.