The Learning Space - 10/01/2018

1 Evaluation of The Learning Space

How well placed is The Learning Space 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

The Learning Space, is a newly established early childhood centre located in central Auckland that opened in early 2015. The premises had been previously occupied by another centre, Uptown Kids, which ERO reviewed in 2014. This centre closed in 2014.

The Learning Space provides care and education for 23 children, including up to 15 under two years of age. The very experienced service provider and curriculum leader have established high quality education and care services specialised for infants and children to three years of age.

The facilities have been extensively upgraded and newly resourced. The organisation of the indoor and outdoor areas, and all equipment throughout the centre, promotes the centre philosophy of child-led learning through play.

This is ERO's first review of The Learning Space.

The Review Findings

The centre manager has established a capable team of teachers and staff. Many have worked together previously in other early childhood establishments. They have a clear understanding of the centre vision, and work in openly collaborative ways. Teachers have developed very good relationships with parents, who speak highly of the services provided for children and families.

The centre environment is calm and unhurried throughout. Children and their parents are greeted warmly on arrival. Teachers are gentle and caring in their relationships with children. They consistently promote the centre's philosophy of kindness, and help children understand the routines that support their physical and emotional care and wellbeing.

The theories and research that inform the centre philosophy and practices are ideally suited to the young ages of the children. Infants and toddlers have uncluttered spaces and natural resources to explore, and teachers who are immediately available to provide support. Two and three year olds, can engage with younger children. This is part of their learning development and helps them develop empathy for others.

Children are confident in the centre surroundings. They initiate play, and are encouraged to be curious and creative. They engage positively with each other, with teachers and other adults. Teachers actively support children's learning and respond to their questions. Project activities, led by children, extend their interests and understanding of concepts. Teachers' planning documents reflect the learning progress of individual children.

Transition into the centre is well managed. Children's cultural heritage is well known and valued by teachers. Aspects of tikanga and te reo Māori are included naturally through play and centre rituals. Family and whānau relationships feature in photos and displays that are easily accessible to staff and children. Children's learning is shared verbally and digitally with families, whose feedback is encouraged.

Teachers' practice is highly valued by centre leaders and is guided by purposeful professional learning and development. Teachers meet regularly to evaluate the learning programmes and reflect on the impact of any new initiatives. They are motivated to improve outcomes for children, and contribute to shaping the centre's planning and long term goals.

Centre operations are underpinned by a framework of relevant policies and procedures. The experienced centre leaders have very high professional standards and expectations, and are continually evaluating the quality of the programme. They are very capable of making meaningful improvements, including implementing the revised early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that future developments to ensure sustainability could include, continuing to document the centre's expectations for:

  • bicultural practices that reflect its Treaty of Waitangi policy commitments

  • professional practice, aligning the revised early childhood curriculum with new Education Council practising teacher requirements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of The Learning Space 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 The Learning Space will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

10 January 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

Newton, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

25271

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

23 children, including up to 15 aged under 2 years

Service roll

26

Gender composition

Girls 15 Boys 11

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pasifika
Chinese
other European
other

1
13
4
3
3
2

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

October 2017

Date of this report

10 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO Reports

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.