Rangitoto Kindergarten - 15/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Rangitoto Kindergarten

How well placed is Rangitoto 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

Rangitoto Kindergarten is part of the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association, Te Manatōpū Kura o Te Tai Tokerau. The Association provides support and an organisational framework for 15 services. The Association’s management team comprises the general manager and two teaching services managers (TSMs), as well as development and finance managers. Teachers and whānau are represented on the Association’s board.

The kindergarten has been an established as part of the Mairangi Bay community for over 40 years. There is a strong sense of community connectedness. Sixhour Tuakana sessions are provided for older children three days each week. The Teina session for younger children, who are mostly three years of age, operates two days each week until 1pm.

The team of five registered teachers has been stable for some time, but there have recently been unforeseen changes. The team and relieving teachers are working well together to manage these changes. Programmes for children are underpinned by the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teaching practices are influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. The kindergarten has joined the Enviroschools programme. This strong focus on environmental sustainability is apparent in all aspects of the environment, and in curriculum planning and implementation.

ERO's 2012 report noted that the teaching team was in a good position to sustain high quality practices. ERO recommended that teachers plan strategically to strengthen bicultural teaching practices. The head teacher has led professional learning in this area. Since ERO’s 2012 review, the outdoor area has been upgraded and greater use is being made of digital technologies. Recently a building (whare whakatā) has been completed to improve provision for staff breaks.

This review was part of a cluster of four kindergarten reviews in the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children and their families at Rangitoto Kindergarten have a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing. Teachers and whānau value strong relationships and community connections as outstanding features of the kindergarten. Family members often stay, spend time at the kindergarten and become involved in their children’s learning experiences.

The kindergarten’s environments play a powerful role in supporting children’s learning. The spacious grounds are thoughtfully designed and resourced, and used flexibly by children and adults. Families' cultural backgrounds are reflected and acknowledged in the environment. Creative and attractive presentation of the environment invites investigation and exploration, and helps children to develop as capable, self-directed learners. Environments are often adapted in innovative ways to foster children’s curiosity and to provide physical challenge.

Teachers’ conversations with children promote language, communication, thinking and reasoning. Teachers listen carefully to children’s ideas, make good links with their prior knowledge, and foster a sense of wonder and fascination with nature. 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 programmes. Teachers’ self review has focused their attention on supporting children well as they approach their transition to school.

Families have many opportunities to contribute through active involvement in the kindergarten committee and participation in programmes, events and activities. They appreciate teachers’ commitment to their children’s care and education and the varied learning experiences provided. Teachers value whānau contributions and the knowledge that they share. They provide very good information for whānau about their children’s learning, kindergarten programmes and good quality practices in early childhood education. They are making increasing use of digital technologies for sharing information with whānau.

Bicultural practices are deliberately promoted. Teachers continue to strengthen the ways that they recognise Māori as tangata whenua and promote the natural integration of te reo and tikanga Māori. The head teacher, TSM and Association Board lead and model a commitment to professional development in this area. A marae visit was well supported by whānau and helped to support a growing understanding about te Ao Māori.

Teachers have developed a useful and purposeful process for programme planning that identifies their role as teachers and opportunities for whānau contributions and for extending children’s learning. Planning is clearly aligned with the kindergarten’s environmental sustainability focus and programme records show how this interest has evolved over time. Some examples of learning story assessment show the teacher’s good knowledge of the child’s personality and developing dispositions for learning.

Association managers lead a culture of reflective and strategic thinking. They continually seek to strengthen systems for knowing about and enhancing the quality of provision for children, communities and staff. Managers are currently reviewing and developing several key systems and practices. These include strategic planning, teacher performance appraisal, and health and safety systems. They are working to strengthen links between quality assurance processes and indicators of best practice in early childhood education.

Key Next Steps

Recent staff changes have resulted in a current focus on building team shared understandings, workload and leadership. Teachers and managers agree that it is timely to review, and increase the rigour of assessment, planning and evaluation practices. Teachers could consider ways to:

  • use evaluative questions more consistently and deepen the analysis of review findings

  • more specifically connect assessment documentation and programme plans for each child to their family's cultural knowledge and home languages, and to teachers good knowledge about their learning progress

Planned professional development focusing on developing a culture of reflective practice should support these next steps.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 April 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

Mairangi Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5024

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

80

Gender composition

Girls 41 Boys 39

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

other European

other

4

62

2

4

8

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

February 2016

Date of this report

15 April 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2012

Education Review

December 2009

Education Review

February 2007

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.