Stanmore Bay Kindergarten - 08/09/2011

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Stanmore Bay Kindergarten provides six-hour days for up to twenty children and morning sessions for an additional twenty children from about three years of age. The centre operates under the auspices of the North Auckland Kindergarten Association, which provides support personnel and a framework for kindergarten operations. The Association is currently undergoing a period of change and development and is in the process of developing strategic plans to guide ongoing development in its 13 kindergartens.

At the time of ERO’s 2008 review, a new head teacher, who had introduced new ideas and directions, was working in the kindergarten. However, since that time staff turnover has been an ongoing challenge. A new head teacher was appointed in October 2010 and a stable teaching team has now been established. The head teacher provides skilled leadership with a focus on building whanaungatanga in the kindergarten community, providing a warm and inclusive learning environment, and facilitating very good educational programmes for children.

The teachers’ philosophy statement articulates shared beliefs about teaching and learning and underpins programme implementation. Teachers are creative and innovative in the ways in which they respond to and build on children’s emerging interests and ideas and in their presentation of resources and challenges in the environment. They show respect for children as capable, independent learners and decision makers. Children are self assured and articulate, readily initiate and extend play ideas, and show developing negotiation and problem-solving skills.

Teachers skilfully integrate literacy, numeracy and science in meaningful ways as children engage in the wide variety of learning experiences available to them. Teachers have strengthened their partnerships with families, and the extent to which te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are included in their interactions with children. Whānau appreciate the ways in which their contributions are recognised and valued.

Teachers’ self review and reflections on programme development are well documented. Teachers and an Association manager agree that kindergarten operations could now be strengthened by better documentation of strategic goals and long-term plans for all aspects of kindergarten operations.

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 Stanmore 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 atStanmore 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
  • the interactions between children and adults.

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

The Quality of Education

Background

Changes since ERO’s 2008 review include substantial building renovations and a change from providing separate morning and afternoon sessions to provision of a ‘kindergarten day model’ (KDM). The kindergarten is licensed for 40 children, providing six-hour days for 20 children, and morning sessions for a further 20 children. The teaching team comprises the new head teacher and a team of three qualified teachers, two of whom work part time. Teachers are very well supported by an active parent community.

Areas of strength

Philosophy and leadership. Teachers’ philosophy statement articulates their beliefs about teaching and learning, which are clearly evident in practice. The new head teacher has provided effective leadership in terms of curriculum implementation and theoretical understandings about high quality provision in early childhood education. Her vision and energy have contributed significantly to the vibrant atmosphere of the kindergarten.

Whanaungatanga. The head teacher has focused on building a strong teaching team and establishing inclusive and consultative relationships with parents/whānau, and a warm and caring environment for children. As a result, there is an increasingly evident sense of whanaungatanga and belonging in the kindergarten. Parents/whānau appreciate the welcoming atmosphere. Many help with kindergarten projects and play an active part in programmes, supporting their children’s learning.

Responsive teaching. Teachers are creative and innovative in the ways that they respond to and build on children’s emerging interests and ideas. The head teacher models and promotes the following practices, which are becoming more consistent in all teachers’ everyday practice. Teachers:

  • show respect for children as capable, independent learners and decision makers
  • listen carefully to children and engage in ongoing conversations with them
  • present a variety of resources, learning experiences and challenges in interesting ways that support children’s emerging interests and invite further exploration
  • encourage children to view, think about and discuss ideas from different perspectives
  • skilfully integrate literacy, numeracy and science in meaningful ways as they engage with children in the wide variety of learning experiences available
  • are increasing the use of te reo Māori in their interactions with children
  • recognise and celebrate the diverse cultures of the kindergarten community.

Children have a strong sense of themselves as capable, learners and decision makers. They are self assured and articulate. Children readily initiate play ideas, direct and extend their activities, and show developing negotiation and problem solving skills.

Narrative assessment and programme records. Displays of learning, programme records and children’s individual portfolios include stories that describe children’s learning, show how ideas evolve over time, and how teachers support extended learning. Celebration of children’s capabilities and achievements is a feature of this work. These records give parents/whānau good information about their children’s individual learning, as well as about the kindergarten’s wider programme developments. They also provide teachers with a good basis for critically evaluating their practice and the effectiveness of their work.

Self review. Teachers have kept good records of changes made in the past ten months and their impact on children’s learning. Reflective practice is ongoing and is becoming more formalised as the teaching team has become more settled and cohesive. Association monitoring and support contributes to the review of programme management and implementation and other aspects of kindergarten operations.

Areas for development and review

Teachers have identified a number of areas for further development, to build on improvements made over the past ten months. As the teaching team is consolidated and consistently high quality practices are embedded, teachers plan to continue:

  • strengthening the depth of self review with a focus on continually enhancing provision for children’s learning and relationships with families and community
  • reviewing and improving the kindergarten’s resourcing and physical environment
  • increasing the extent to which information and communication technologies (ICT) are used by children to support their learning
  • working with whānau Māori to develop a more bicultural programme and building teachers’ confidence and skills in the use of te reo Māori.

Documented planning. Teachers and an Association manager agree that it is timely to document strategic goals and long-term plans. Well documented planning relating to all aspects of kindergarten operations would provide a worthwhile guide for future developments, help make that planning more visible for the kindergarten’s community, and should inform annual planning. It could contribute to teachers’ ongoing self review and increase the sustainability of good practices.

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

ERO’s 2008 report noted that, while teachers placed a high value on Māori perspectives in the environment, they needed to assist children to experience te reo Māori as a living language by using it in their everyday interactions. There are currently 13 children of Māori descent enrolled in the kindergarten.

Areas of strength

Māori children and their whānau benefit from the good quality practices identified earlier in this report. Teachers’ commitment to recognising and valuing te ao Māori is evident in displays, resources, the programme, and teaching practices.

This teaching team has focused on building a strong sense of whanaungatanga in the kindergarten. They have worked to strengthen relationships with families and the adjacent school, and to improve transitions for children, both into and out of the kindergarten.

Whānau appreciate the welcoming and inclusive environment in the kindergarten and the steps taken by teachers to develop a bicultural programme. Teachers are increasing the extent to which they include te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in everyday programmes. They value the contributions that parents/whānau make to programmes and the advice they provide to support teachers’ development in this area.

Areas for development and review

ERO supports the teaching team’s plans to continue building their confidence and capability in using te reo Māori and to continue reviewing their practices. Using ERO’s national evaluation reports and the Ministry of Education’s Ka Hikitia publication as part of their review will assist teachers as they continue to foster partnerships with whānau Māori and should help them to establish strong foundations for Māori children to be successful in their education.

ERO also supports a plan for developing an Association bicultural strategic plan, as signalled by the teaching support manager.

4 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Stanmore Bay 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

5 Recommendation

ERO and the kindergarten teachers and managers agree that teachers should continue to build the depth of their review and reflection, with a view to continually improving their teaching practice and the quality of programmes provided for children.

6 Future Action

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

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the Centre

Type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, over the age of two years

Roll number

58

Gender composition

Girls 29,

Boys 29

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 41,

Māori 13,

Asian 1,

Indian 1,

other European 2

Review team on site

July 2011

Date of this report

8 September 2011

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review, July 2008

Education Review, June 2005

Accountability Review, May 2001

8 September 2011

To the Parents and Community of Stanmore Bay Kindergarten

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

Stanmore Bay Kindergarten provides six-hour days for up to twenty children and morning sessions for an additional twenty children from about three years of age. The centre operates under the auspices of the North Auckland Kindergarten Association, which provides support personnel and a framework for kindergarten operations. The Association is currently undergoing a period of change and development and is in the process of developing strategic plans to guide ongoing development in its 13 kindergartens.

At the time of ERO’s 2008 review, a new head teacher, who had introduced new ideas and directions, was working in the kindergarten. However, since that time staff turnover has been an ongoing challenge. A new head teacher was appointed in October 2010 and a stable teaching team has now been established. The head teacher provides skilled leadership with a focus on building whanaungatanga in the kindergarten community, providing a warm and inclusive learning environment, and facilitating very good educational programmes for children.

The teachers’ philosophy statement articulates shared beliefs about teaching and learning and underpins programme implementation. Teachers are creative and innovative in the ways in which they respond to and build on children’s emerging interests and ideas and in their presentation of resources and challenges in the environment. They show respect for children as capable, independent learners and decision makers. Children are self assured and articulate, readily initiate and extend play ideas, and show developing negotiation and problem-solving skills.

Teachers skilfully integrate literacy, numeracy and science in meaningful ways as children engage in the wide variety of learning experiences available to them. Teachers have strengthened their partnerships with families, and the extent to which te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are included in their interactions with children. Whānau appreciate the ways in which their contributions are recognised and valued.

Teachers’ self review and reflections on programme development are well documented. Teachers and an Association manager agree that kindergarten operations could now be strengthened by better documentation of strategic goals and long-term plans for all aspects of kindergarten operations.

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.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern 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.