Sunny Days Community Preschool - 21/09/2018

1 Evaluation of Sunny Days Community Preschool

How well placed is Sunny Days Community 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

Sunny Days Community Preschool is licensed for 34 children including 6 up to two years of age and has served families in Helensville for over 30 years. Most children are either Pākehā or Māori, and they are joined by smaller numbers of children from increasingly diverse cultural backgrounds.

The centre operates in a renovated bank on the main street of Helensville. Babies and toddlers have their own indoor and outdoor spaces, and children from two years to school age have access to a multi-levelled outside environment and a spacious indoor area. Older children are able to visit the babies and toddlers at times during the day.

The centre philosophy emphasises an inclusive and welcoming environment. It highlights the importance of positive and respectful relationships between teachers and children, and learning programmes that are child initiated.

The 2014 ERO report identified many aspects of good practice that included positive relationships with parents and children. However, it also expressed concern that staffing changes had impeded progress in addressing the next steps identified in ERO's 2011 report.

The centre manager, operations manager and most teachers were new to their roles in 2014, and ERO recommended that the centre respond to the next steps identified in the 2011 ERO report. These areas for development included further enriching children's learning opportunities, participating in centre-wide professional learning for teachers, and promoting parents' contributions to their children's learning journey. In addition, the report suggested that managers provide children with appropriate early learning approaches to learning literacy and mathematics. This 2018 ERO report identifies that some progress has been made in some of these areas for development.

Since 2014, the centre manager and operations manager have continue in their roles, and staff turnover has been low over the past 2 years. A parent-led and elected committee continues to provide governance support for the management team.

The Review Findings

Children and parents experience a warm and welcoming centre environment. Children settle easily into their day, and play independently or cooperatively with others in learning areas of their choice. They have strong bonds with their teachers and positive relationships with each other. Teachers are nurturing with children, catering well to their care needs. As a result, children are secure and have a strong sense of belonging in their centre.

Teachers collaborate in planning an increasingly child-centred curriculum. They meet monthly to respond to children's individual interests that emerge from the programme, and create individualised plans for each child. Teachers place an increased emphasis on celebrating children's different cultures through events such as Chinese New Year and simple Samoan words and songs. Matariki is observed as part of the centre's bicultural curriculum, and children experience myths and waiata, and an increasing focus on te reo Māori and tikanga.

Teachers who care for babies and toddlers are calm and unhurried in their approach. They are gentle, affectionate and respectful, following children's cues and parent preferences. Teachers are highly engaged with these youngest children, using effective teaching strategies to promote language and other learning. In response to these good practices, children are very settled and content. Managers are now planning to review and improve how well toddlers are transitioned into the older children's area.

Parents' involvement in the centre is actively encouraged by teachers and managers. A newly established key teacher approach is improving engagement between teachers, parents and children. Teachers' use of an online system allows them to share photographs and stories about their children's learning. This practice and other approaches, promote effective and regular communication with parents.

Centre managers are improvement focused and reflective. They provide generous professional learning opportunities for teachers and recognise teachers' leadership strengths. The centre's strategic plan is well aligned to teachers' goals and to their professional learning. Managers generously staff the centre to maintain the very good teacher:child ratios.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree, that a key next step for the teaching team is to access externally facilitated, in-centre professional learning. This approach would provide opportunities for teachers to learn collaboratively and further improve teaching practices throughout the centre. These improvements include teachers:

  • partnering with parents to establish and evaluate progress towards children's individual learning goals

  • evaluating the purpose and effectiveness of the more formal literacy and numeracy learning that occurs as part of the centre's transition to school programme

  • responding increasingly to children's interests as they emerge in the programmes

  • increasing the intentional and active role they play in enhancing children's learning

  • critically reflecting on the effectiveness of their teaching practices in promoting children's learning.

Key next steps for management include:

  • reviewing and improving the teacher appraisal process so that it meets current Education Council requirements

  • improving the quality of reports written for the committee so that they are more evaluative

  • accessing external support for the committee to ensure that all members have a clear understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Sunny Days Community 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 Sunny Days Community Preschool will be in three years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

21 September 2018

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

Helensville, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20067

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

34 children, including up to 6 aged under 2

Service roll

41

Gender composition

Boys 24 Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
other ethnic groups

15
18
8

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:6

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

21 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2014

Education Review

September 2011

Education Review

August 2008

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.