Tapawera Playcentre - 05/04/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Tapawera Playcentre serves the rural community of Tapawera. It operates in the community hall and is adjacent to a number of other community services, including the local area school. Some members travel long distances to attend and a high percentage of parents stay for the whole session.

The centre is well supported by the Nelson Playcentre Association (the association) through regular visits and reports from a delegated liaison officer, provision of policies and templates, and training.

The sound centre philosophy is evident in practice, with children and adults learning alongside each other. The many adults involved in playcentre training supports the quality of the programme and interactions. The atmosphere is calm and unhurried. Flexible routines support the settled tone and children’s engagement in uninterrupted play.

Centre members value children learning literacy and mathematical concepts and these are integrated naturally into play in meaningful ways. Sharing books with children is a regular feature.

Daily evaluations usefully inform programme direction. The current and relevant wall displays effectively inform parents and team members, enabling them to build on the interests and learning of previous sessions.

Portfolios provide a good record of each child’s learning and interests while at the playcentre. They are shared with the new entrant teacher as part of the transitiontoschool strategy.

Children easily access the expansive, well-maintained grounds. Supervisors make maximum use of the space available. They provide interesting and inviting learning opportunities with good flow to outside areas. The outdoor environment is effectively maintained and further enhanced with the introduction of more natural materials. Opportunities abound for age-appropriate physical challenges, creative and cooperative play. Mixed-age groups are well catered for.

Children and parents are warmly welcomed and effort is made to ensure new families feel comfortable. Children develop trust along with building friendships, leading to a secure sense of belonging.

A supportive, committed parent committee shows this community asset is in good heart. Strengthening self-review processes is likely to assist with managing for continuous improvement.

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 Tapawera Playcentre 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 at Tapawera Playcentre.

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

Tapawera Playcentre, situated in rural Tasman, west of Richmond, operates in the local community hall. Strong community relationships are maintained with nearby services, including the adjacent area school. Discussions are in progress about the possibility of purpose-built premises due to the requirements for relicensing.

The centre operates under the guidance of the Nelson Playcentre Association (the association) personnel. They provide support to centre members for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning practices. This support includes:

  • objectives outlined in the strategic plan which sets the expectations for quality learning experiences, clear communication with members and streamlining of moderation and administration systems
  • a set of robust policies that guide centre practice that are regularly reviewed and updated
  • an extensive range of workshops and professional development offered in response to term goals as well as training modules
  • liaison officers who play a key support role in the association by providing advice and guidance to centres
  • support for children with moderate to severe special needs through the provision of a special needs resource person and access to funding to support identified children in their centres
  • Te Roopu Whānau o Whakatu, a group made up of association families to support individual centres with a range of initiatives to further the learning and development of Māori children and their whānau at playcentre.

Areas of strength

Programme

Children benefit from playing and learning through a programme consistent with the principles and strands of Te Whāriki. The centre philosophy is sound and evident in practice with children and adults learning alongside each other. The many adults involved in playcentre training supports the quality of the programme and interactions. The atmosphere is calm and unhurried. Flexible routines support the settled tone and engagement in uninterrupted play.

Centre members value children learning literacy and mathematical concepts and these are integrated naturally into play in meaningful ways. Sharing books with children is a regular feature.

Some te reo Māori is used and activities that reflect Māori culture are considered and integrated into the programme.

Daily evaluations are effectively used to inform programme direction. They show some continuity of learning and achievements for children, and identify interests of groups and individuals. Wall displays are kept current and relevant. They effectively help parents and team members to build on the interests and learning that occurred in previous sessions.

Portfolios provide a good record of each child’s learning and interests while at the playcentre. Good prompts and information provided for parents support their understanding of the purpose of learning stories. Adults identify meaningful next learning steps to build on current knowledge. Portfolios are shared with the new entrant teacher as part of the transition-to-school strategy.

Environment

There are constraints in using the hall which the centre does not own. Supervisors make maximum use of the available space to provide interesting and inviting learning opportunities. There is good flow to outside areas and children easily access the expansive grounds. The outdoor environment is effectively maintained and enhanced with the provision of introduced natural materials. Opportunities abound for age-appropriate physical challenge, creative and cooperative play. Mixed-age groups are well catered for. A quiet indoor area is available for infants.

Interactions

Children and parents are warmly welcomed and effort is made to ensure new families feel comfortable. Children are settled and secure. They develop trust, build friendships and gain a secure sense of belonging.

Adults work well with children. They positively guide and support their social and language development. Good questioning assists getting to know more about the children. Adult presence aids sustained and purposeful play. Experienced members are good role models and support newer parents in interactions with children.

Good community relationships are fostered to support children’s well-being and development. Centre personnel have a strong sense of place in the community. The parent committee works well to oversee centre operations and provide educational opportunities for children. Communication with parents and the wider community occurs in a variety of ways.

Self review

Members understand and use the association procedures for monitoring and improving practice. Family input effectively informs annual and strategic objectives. Regular review of the areas of play ensures resources are adequate and of a high standard. The association systems for playground audits and Liaison Officer reports provide positive, thorough, constructive feedback to centre members.

Areas for development and review

Appraisal processes have been strengthened to include input from the association liaison officer and a peer in addition to self-reflection. The development and use of set criteria to inform self-reflection is likely to support ongoing improvement.

Self-review processes would be enriched through evidence-based evaluation of effectiveness. Aspects of centre operation that ERO identified would benefit from this approach are:

  • planned self review to evaluate progress toward, or achievement of, the expected outcomes documented in the annual plan
  • children’s portfolios to consider how usefully all contents illustrate learning and progress
  • use of feedback contained in the liaison officer’s reports
  • adequacy of civil defence provisions.

3. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Tapawera Playcentre completed an ERO Centre Management 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; and
  • 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; and
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

4. Recommendations

ERO and the centre management agree that:

  1. centre leaders, in conjunction with the association, work to develop selfreview processes, including implementation of an effective performance management cycle.

5. Future Action

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

Joyce Gebbie

Acting National Manager Review Services

Central Region

About the Centre

Location

Taparewa

Ministry of Education profile number

65109

Type

Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Roll number

27

Gender composition

Girls 15

Boys 12

Ethnic composition

NZ European Pākehā 23

Māori 3

Other ethnic groups 1

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

5 April 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review August 2007

Education Review February 2005

Accountability Review June 1998

To the Parents and Community of Tapawera Playcentre

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Tapawera Playcentre.

Tapawera Playcentre serves the rural community of Tapawera. It operates in the community hall and is adjacent to a number of other community services, including the local area school. Some members travel long distances to attend and a high percentage of parents stay for the whole session.

The centre is well supported by the Nelson Playcentre Association (the association) through regular visits and reports from a delegated liaison officer, provision of policies and templates, and training.

The sound centre philosophy is evident in practice, with children and adults learning alongside each other. The many adults involved in playcentre training supports the quality of the programme and interactions. The atmosphere is calm and unhurried. Flexible routines support the settled tone and children’s engagement in uninterrupted play.

Centre members value literacy and mathematical concepts learning and these are integrated naturally into play in meaningful ways. Sharing books with children is a regular feature.

Daily evaluations usefully inform programme direction. The current and relevant wall displays effectively inform parents and team members, enabling them to build on the interests and learning of previous sessions.

Portfolios provide a good record of each child’s learning and interests while at the playcentre. They are shared with the new entrant teacher as part of the transitiontoschool strategy.

Children easily access the expansive, well-maintained grounds. Supervisors make maximum use of the space available. They provide interesting and inviting learning opportunities with good flow to outside areas. The outdoor environment is effectively maintained and further enhanced with the introduction of more natural materials. Opportunities abound for age-appropriate physical challenges, creative and cooperative play. Mixed-age groups are well catered for.

Children and parents are warmly welcomed and effort is made to ensure new families feel comfortable. Children develop trust along with building friendships, leading to a secure sense of belonging.

A supportive, committed parent committee shows this community asset is in good heart. Strengthening self-review processes is likely to assist with managing for continuous improvement.

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.

Joyce Gebbie

Acting National Manager Review Services

Central 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.
  • 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.