Royal Road Pre-School - 07/12/2017

1 Evaluation of Royal Road Preschool

How well placed is Royal Road Preschool 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

Royal Road Preschool is located in the grounds of Royal Road School in Massey, Auckland. It is licensed for 40 children over two years of age and offers a full six-hour day, or half days if parents require them. The centre has two indoor spaces that cater for different ages. Most children are Māori and there is also a large group of Pacific children. Nearly all children attend Royal Road School when they move on from the preschool.

The centre is a community based and not-for-profit service. Since 2012 it has been governed and managed by Lifewise Trust, an Auckland-based social development organisation. An arm of the Methodist Mission, the trust offers a variety of community services, including a small number of licensed early learning centres. The low fees approach adopted by the trust ensures that families have equitable access to good quality education and care that prepares children well for their future.

The centre's philosophy promotes respect for children as capable, competent learners and affirms children's cultural heritage and strengths. It also promotes an environment where diversity is valued and families are welcome.

A centre manager leads, and is part of a team of five registered teachers. A Lifewise service manager supports the governance and leadership of the centre. She works with the centre manager to provide ongoing guidance for the teaching team. The centre's whānau committee provides a leadership role for parents. It takes responsibility for organising events that encourage whānau involvement.

The 2014 ERO report noted that most teachers were new to the centre and that they were using good strategies to engage children in their play and learning. The report identified next steps for improvements in programmes for toddlers and older children and in developing bicultural practices. It identified the need for Lifewise Trust to improve governance and management practices, including the development of strategic planning, teacher appraisal and support, and internal evaluation. These areas have been addressed.

The Review Findings

Very good teaching practices support and promote children's play and learning. Teachers listen carefully to children and respect their ideas and knowledge. They use questions effectively to stimulate children's thinking. They encourage children to problem solve, and to plan and lead their play. Teachers partner with children, joining in with their imaginary play and following their direction. As a result, children are highly engaged and confident learners, and have a strong sense of ownership in their centre.

The centre's environment invites children's interest and exploration, and offers good opportunities for physical challenge alongside stimulating quieter activities. Literacy and maths learning are supported meaningfully in the context of children's play, and good opportunities for reading and writing are available across all learning areas. Children can independently access good quality resources. They are encouraged to be responsible and take good care of their learning spaces.

Teachers work collaboratively to design learning programmes based on children's interests and strengths. They seek ways to maintain children's connections to their cultures in the context of the curriculum. Teachers are continuing to grow their own knowledge and understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori, and of the languages and cultures of other children. As a result of these good practices, children are proud of their identity, and are confident to take appropriate risks in their learning.

A significant feature of the centre is the strong working relationship between the centre, parents and primary school staff. This good connection allows children to experience seamless transitions through the centre and on to school.

Centre leaders provide highly effective, collaborative leadership. They enact the centre's vision to serve their local community and provide the best start possible for children's learning. Leaders encourage teachers to share in decision making and planning for the future direction of the centre. Teachers' appraisal is robust and team-focused. They meet regularly with leaders to share and discuss ideas to improve their professional practice.

Lifewise Trust provides good governance and management support, including a sound policy framework. The trust has a good working relationship with staff. Internal evaluation is well understood and used extensively at all levels of the centre to improve learning outcomes for children. Staff ensure that evaluation findings link to the centre's strategic planning, which includes teachers' professional learning and appraisal goals. This well documented process drives and continually improves teaching practice and outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps include:

  • continuing to use assessment information to strengthen planning for children's individual learning pathways

  • evaluating the impact that teaching practice has on improving children's learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Royal Road Preschool 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 Royal Road Preschool will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 December 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

Massey, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

25178

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over the age of 2 years

Service roll

40

Gender composition

Boys 23 Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
Chinese
Fijian
other

18
5
7
3
3
4

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

7 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2014

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.