PORSE Henderson S1 - 01/06/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

PORSE (Play, Observe, Relate, Support, Extend, Evaluate) is an in-home early childhood organisation with its National Support Office located in Hawkes Bay. Area offices are located throughout New Zealand. Within the area offices, PORSE personnel, including coaches and programme tutors, work with parents, nannies and home educators to provide early childhood education and care for infants, toddlers and young children. Children are cared for in their own homes or in small groups in the home of their educator. The PORSE mission is “to have all people in New Zealand schooled in nurturing and educating children in their care.” Families are valued partners in children’s education and care.

PORSE Henderson S1 is one of two PORSE networks in Henderson. This review of the PORSE Henderson office focuses on the quality of care and education, and partnerships with whānau where 89 educators provide for 179 children.

Programme tutors who are registered teachers, have primary responsibility for children’s learning. They provide support, encouragement and information for in‑home educators, and also facilitate courses for educators and school students who are gaining work experience in early childhood education. PORSE offers opportunities for educators to share their practice, support each other and to participate in professional development courses.

Children benefit from warm, caring relationships in familiar environments. In the best examples, environments are well resourced and children enjoy varied and stimulating experiences that build on their interests and prior knowledge. Educators take advantage of community facilities, PORSE playschools, and other group activities that enable children to develop friendships with peers and to work alongside a variety of adults. PORSE encourages educators to make the most of natural environments. Refocusing assessment, planning and reflective practices on children’s learning would help programme tutors to enrich outcomes for children in both home and playschool environments. This focus on children’s learning is also likely to result in more targeted and purposeful support for educators.

Parents/whānau select their children’s educators. They have direct day-to-day relationships with educators and are well informed about their children’s daily activities. Parents/whānau are generally happy with the services offered by PORSE. PORSE staff agree that there is further work to do in strengthening provision for Māori children and their whānau, to enhance the educational success of these children.

Currently significant staffing changes are being made in PORSE Henderson. The coach and staff are working together to rebuild the team and re-establish stability and continuity in the office. A next step for the Henderson staff team is to increase the rigour of self-review practices. A more robust evaluation could assist programme tutors to continually improve the support they provide for children’s learning. It could be useful for PORSE to review its support for programme tutors so that they can refocus their work on enhancing outcomes for children.

Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of PORSE Henderson S1 was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by PORSE Henderson S1 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 service (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children at PORSE Henderson S1.

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

This review of the PORSE Henderson area office is informed by organisational and local documentation, visits to homes selected by PORSE, interviews with educators and PORSE staff, written and verbal feedback from parents, and observations of programmes for children.

In the PORSE Henderson Area Office a whole team approach means that all staff have direct contact with families and educators to support enrolment, induction and office administration. The Area Office team is reforming, with an experienced programme tutor moving into the team along with two new staff. administration of the office.

ERO’s 2006 report noted that support for educators was effective and that high levels of parent involvement were a positive feature of the service. ERO recommended that the service continue to provide support for educators’ developing skills and knowledge, review visits to educators, and ensure that bicultural perspectives were included in programmes.

Areas of good performance

Diverse learning environments. Children benefit from familiar home environments that are mostly well resourced and offer good access to indoor and outdoor play spaces. They also enjoy a diverse variety of additional environments. Educators make use of community facilities, and attend regular PORSE playschools and ‘NatureLIVE’ playschools that focus on natural resources and surroundings. Educators often get together informally to share resources and activities. Children have good opportunities to relate with others in the community and to develop friendships and skills for social interaction with other adults and children.

Family relationships. Warm, caring interactions with educators result in children being confident and comfortable with others and showing a sense of security and belonging. Close, trusting relationships, and daily contact between families and educators, are positive features of the service that assist educators to be responsive to whānau needs and aspirations and to discuss shared strategies for working with children. Educators’ very good knowledge about children in their care is often reflected in journals, which provide good information for parents/whānau about children’s day-to-day activities. Parents/whānau report that they are generally happy with PORSE arrangements and programmes provided for their children.

Building educator capability. PORSE resources and approval and training programmes are designed to motivate educators to further develop children’s education and their own personal growth. Educators have diverse backgrounds and training levels and are well supported to build their capability. Programme tutors provide affirming, encouraging support and often assist educators to identify strategies for managing specific situations. There are good opportunities for skilled educators to share their practice with those who are less experienced. Educator support and training is intended to contribute to continually improving programmes for children.

Good practices observed in home programmes include:

  • varied and stimulating experiences that build on children’s interests and prior knowledge and provide good opportunities for literacy and numeracy learning;
  • good support for children’s language development, and opportunities for children to engage in conversations and interactions that foster their learning; and
  • daily journals and programme journals that show how educators respond to what they notice about children’s learning and emerging interests, and that make links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Developing team approaches and reflective practice. The PORSE organisation has a variety of methods for monitoring and collecting information to review its operations. Staff and educators are encouraged to maintain reflective journals. Some are beginning to critique their practice and address needs or gaps identified through their reflections on their work. Team approaches to reflective practice are at an early stage of development.

PORSE is currently reviewing and strengthening processes educator approval and training and programme tutor induction and appraisal. Recent steps have been taken to revisit policies. These reviews should help ensure that the requirements of PORSE and relevant regulations are well understood and that appropriate tools and support are provided for all personnel.

Areas for development and review

Strategic and action planning. As the Henderson office team is re-established, it could be worthwhile for the coach and staff to work together to plan strategically and to develop a change management plan to prioritise and guide implementation processes. A purposeful, staged approach could help to ensure that good practices are sustainable.

Robust self review. PORSE staff agree that a next step for them is to establish processes for systematic and in-depth review of their practices. Review should be improvement focused. A more robust review of all aspects of their work, particularly relating to the impact of their work on outcomes for children, could assist staff to make their support for educators, and for children’s learning, more targeted and purposeful.

Programme tutor role. After a period of focus on building PORSE training programmes, the organisation has identified the need to refocus its attention on the quality of in-home programmes provided for children. It could be useful to review and clarify the role and responsibilities of programme tutors in this regard. Programme tutors are supported to improve their knowledge about current theories and developments in early childhood education and to help them to refocus their work on outcomes for children.

Child and educator records. PORSE personnel do not have good records of educator capabilities and development, or of individual children’s learning progress. Records of regular programme tutor communications with parents/whānau could also be more detailed and readily accessible. Improved records would assist programme tutors, particularly new staff, to provide continuity and targeted support for educators and for children’s learning. Good records provide assurance for PORSE that its requirements and legal obligations are being met.

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.

Partnerships with whānau of Māori children in early childhood services

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

  • this service understands and values the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau, particularly when the child and whānau transition to the service;
  • managers and educators have built relationships with whānau of Māori children;
  • this service works in partnership with whānau of Māori children.

Background

Programme tutors and educators in the Henderson office have responsibility for the care and education of three children of Māori descent. The PORSE Māori as Tangata Whenua policy promotes connections with Māori communities and professional development for staff on the application of the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The policy aims to increase Māori participation and to have the bicultural nature of New Zealand reflected in training programmes.

Areas of strength

Whānau Māori benefit from the close relationships and ongoing communication between educators and families noted above in this report.

Areas for development and review

Documentation. Educators’ discussions with whānau could be more frequently and explicitly included in family manuals, programme tutor records and children’s journals. Records could be kept of ways in which educators and programme tutors value and respond to children’s cultural heritage and input from whānau. These good practices are likely to help develop more effective partnerships that support children’s learning.

Review of policy and practice. It could be worthwhile for PORSE Henderson to review their implementation of the PORSE policy and to establish relationships and consultation with local Māori communities. They could also consider ways to ensure that the bicultural nature of Aotearoa/New Zealand is included to a greater extent in home and playschool programmes for children.

4. Management Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the management and staff of PORSE Henderson S1 completed an ERO Home-Based CareManagement Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had 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 checked the following items because they 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.

In order to improve current practice, PORSE should establish systems for hazard identification and management and ensure that all practicable steps are taken to eliminate, isolate, or minimise hazards in homes and other environments where educators provide care and education for children.

5. Recommendations

ERO, the PORSE coach and programme tutors agree that it could be worthwhile for the service to:

  • develop a strategic plan to guide development in the Henderson office;
  • implement processes for systematic, in-depth self review that focuses on the quality of outcomes for children; and
  • review policies and practices against Ministry of Education strategic plans and ERO’s evaluation reports and indicators of good practice to support success for Māori children.

6. Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years. 

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the Service

Licence type

Home-Based Care

Chartered under

Education (Home-based Care) Order 1992

Roll number

97

Gender composition

Girls 49,

Boys 48

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 43,

Māori 3,

other European 7,

other Pacific 2 

other 42

Review team onsite

March 2011

Date of this report

1 June 2011

Previous ERO report

Education Review, August 2006

To the Parents and Community of PORSE Henderson S1

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report onPORSE (Play, Observe, Relate, Support, Extend, Evaluate) is an in-home early childhood organisation with its National Support Office located in Hawkes Bay. Area offices are located throughout New Zealand. Within the area offices, PORSE personnel, including coaches and programme tutors, work with parents, nannies and home educators to provide early childhood education and care for infants, toddlers and young children. Children are cared for in their own homes or in small groups in the home of their educator. The PORSE mission is “to have all people in New Zealand schooled in nurturing and educating children in their care.” Families are valued partners in children’s education and care.

PORSE Henderson S1 is one of two PORSE networks in Henderson. This review of the PORSE Henderson office focuses on the quality of care and education, and partnerships with whānau where 89 educators provide for 179 children.

Programme tutors who are registered teachers, have primary responsibility for children’s learning. They provide support, encouragement and information for in‑home educators, and also facilitate courses for educators and school students who are gaining work experience in early childhood education. PORSE offers opportunities for educators to share their practice, support each other and to participate in professional development courses.

Children benefit from warm, caring relationships in familiar environments. In the best examples, environments are well resourced and children enjoy varied and stimulating experiences that build on their interests and prior knowledge. Educators take advantage of community facilities, PORSE playschools, and other group activities that enable children to develop friendships with peers and to work alongside a variety of adults. PORSE encourages educators to make the most of natural environments. Refocusing assessment, planning and reflective practices on children’s learning would help programme tutors to enrich outcomes for children in both home and playschool environments. This focus on children’s learning is also likely to result in more targeted and purposeful support for educators.

Parents/whānau select their children’s educators. They have direct day-to-day relationships with educators and are well informed about their children’s daily activities. Parents/whānau are generally happy with the services offered by PORSE. PORSE staff agree that there is further work to do in strengthening provision for Māori children and their whānau, to enhance the educational success of these children.

Currently significant staffing changes are being made in PORSE Henderson. The coach and staff are working together to rebuild the team and re-establish stability and continuity in the office. A next step for the Henderson staff team is to increase the rigour of self-review practices. A more robust evaluation could assist programme tutors to continually improve the support they provide for children’s learning. It could be useful for PORSE to review its support for programme tutors so that they can refocus their work on enhancing outcomes for children.

Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood service we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management 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 service or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz. 

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region