Tikipunga Educare - 03/05/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Tikipunga Educare in Tikipunga, Whangarei provides children with good quality care in a family/whānau atmosphere. Babies, toddlers and young children are catered for in three separate developmental levels and also enjoy common interaction times. Respectful interactions amongst children and adults support children’s sense of belonging in the centre. Parents, families/whānau and the community are included in the programme. Positive relationships between the centre and Māori families/whānau are contributing to the development of learning partnerships.

Teacher planning is child focused. Children play well together and their interests guide the programme, which is clearly aligned with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Improvements in assessment and planning enable staff to individualise programmes so that they respond to children’s interests, strengths and needs. The centre manager agrees that teachers could now consider ways to increase the complexity of interactions between teachers and children to support the development children’s life-long learning skills.

The learning environment is well organised and attractive and invites children’s exploration. Good use has been made of natural resources to stimulate children’s curiosity about the natural world. The outdoor area, in particular, makes good use of the available space to provide interesting learning and play areas to suit children’s different developmental stages.

Well established systems to support teachers are contributing to improvements in teaching practice, the programme and the centre environment. Centre managers could also consider ways to support staff to consolidate their understanding of high quality teaching practice. Managers agree that centre self-review processes could be further developed to ensure that they focus on enhanced learning outcomes for children.

Future Action

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

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Tikipunga Educare 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 atTikipunga Educare.

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

Tikipunga Educare is one of seven Educare North Early Childhood Services in the Whangarei area. Educare North is progressively developing standardised policies and procedures to guide the organisation and day-to-day running of the centre. A general manager supports teaching and learning in the seven centres, and a newly appointed professional learning facilitator coordinates the provision of professional support and guidance.

The new manager has led the development of the centre. Staff have continued to improve planning and assessment, and self-review practices. Professional learning and development in 2010 focused on positive behaviour management. This focus led to a review of the Educare philosophy and resulted in the development of a centre philosophy and statements about team culture.

Areas of strength

Sense of whānau. Children across age groups play well together, responding to the whānau culture of the centre. Staff have continued to build on the strong relationships noted during ERO’s 2007 review, and show a commitment to improving partnerships with parents. Parents speak appreciatively of their children’s and their own sense of belonging and inclusion in the centre.

Programme implementation. Good practices that promote children’s physical and emotional well being include:

  • respectful interactions between staff and children;
  • careful and sensitive monitoring of children’s transitions into the centre, and their subsequent transitions across the age groups;
  • natural inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme;
  • staff responsiveness to children’s developmental stages when they engage them in conversation; and
  • use of natural experiences and a thoughtfully planned outdoor learning environment to promote the development of children’s curiosity.

Planning and assessment practices. Improved planning and assessment practices are resulting in children’s increased engagement in cooperative and collaborative play. Staff have continued to develop child-focused practices, including:

  • planning that is responsive to children’s emerging interests;
  • gathering and using information about the aspirations of parents and families/whānau for their children;
  • inclusion of the child and parent voice in learning portfolios; and
  • documenting children’s emerging interests in individual and group learning stories.

Professional support. The licensee and managers have high expectations of themselves and their staff. They acknowledge staff as leaders and provide opportunities for them to share their knowledge and expertise. Teachers are encouraged to be involved in committees to improve the overall programme and teaching practice. The general manager provides teachers with professional learning and development to support teaching and learning. Staff are challenged to improve their practice through a newly revised performance appraisal system.

Areas for development and review

Extending children’s interests. Some teachers are skilled at extending children’s interests. All teachers should now consider ways to further develop children’s thinking and reasoning skills, and to build on children’s natural curiosity and sense of exploration to extend their interests.

Further developing self review. Managers have developed a framework for self review and are using this to make useful changes in the programme and the learning environment. Self review could also enhance the quality of learning opportunities for children. Further development in self review could include:

  • establishing a clear rationale for self review that is focused on improved outcomes for children and the implications for teaching and learning;
  • working with parents to extend their understanding of how their children learn and how they can be involved in the child/teacher/parent learning partnership;
  • ensuring that children’s learning, including literacy and numeracy learning, is supported in all areas of play;
  • encouraging teachers to think critically about their own professional practice; and
  • developing a strategic direction that informs the annual plan so that it guides ongoing practice and the operations of the centre.

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

Nineteen Māori children are enrolled in Tikipunga Educare. The focus for professional learning and development in 2011 is the integration of biculturalism into teaching and learning in a meaningful way. The general manager for Educare North is using the Ministry of Education publication, Success for Māori children in Early Childhood Services, to guide centre direction.

Areas of strength

Māori parents appreciate the whānau-based environment of Tikipunga Educare. Staff have developed strong relationships with Māori families/whānau through:

  • consultation with Māori parents so that their values and beliefs can be acknowledged and included in the development of the centre philosophy;
  • effective and inclusive transition practices that welcome parents and their child and enable them to develop a sense of belonging in the centre;
  • consistent opportunities for respectful and relaxed conversations with Māori parents and families/whānau;
  • encouraging whānau involvement in developing staff understanding about Māori protocols and customs; and
  • annual marae visits to help build strong relationships between children and the community.

Areas for development and review

The centre manager acknowledges that managers and staff could further strengthen relationships and learning partnerships with Māori whānau by:

  • increasing their knowledge about children’s whakapapa and iwi connections;
  • providing ongoing opportunities for formal discussions with Māori parents and families/whānau about their goals and aspirations for their children;
  • documenting, in the strategic and annual plan, aims for the meaningful integration of biculturalism in the centre; and
  • evaluating the extent to which managers and staff are meeting whānau aspirations and developing partnerships in learning.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Tikipunga Educare completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-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.

In order to improve current practice, centre managers should ensure that:

  • earthquake practices are recorded; and
  • articles on high shelves are secured or removed.

5. Recommendations

The centre owners and managers agree that teachers could:

  1. use interactions with children to help develop children’s life-long learning skills; and
  2. further develop self review so that it focuses on positive outcomes for children and is used to identify the implications for teaching and learning.

6. Future Action

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

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the Centre

Type

All Day Education and Care Centre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 16 under two years

Roll number

48

Gender composition

Boys 27, Girls 21

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 22, Māori 19, South African 4, other 3

Review team on site

March 2011

Date of this report

3 May 2011

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review, July 2007

Education Review, June 2004

Accountability Review, June 2001

To the Parents and Community of Tikipunga Educare

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Tikipunga Educare.

Tikipunga Educare in Tikipunga, Whangarei provides children with good quality care in a family/whānau atmosphere. Babies, toddlers and young children are catered for in three separate developmental levels and also enjoy common interaction times. Respectful interactions amongst children and adults support children’s sense of belonging in the centre. Parents, families/whānau and the community are included in the programme. Positive relationships between the centre and Māori families/whānau are contributing to the development of learning partnerships.

Teacher planning is child focused. Children play well together and their interests guide the programme, which is clearly aligned with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Improvements in assessment and planning enable staff to individualise programmes so that they respond to children’s interests, strengths and needs. The centre manager agrees that teachers could now consider ways to increase the complexity of interactions between teachers and children to support the development children’s life-long learning skills.

The learning environment is well organised and attractive and invites children’s exploration. Good use has been made of natural resources to stimulate children’s curiosity about the natural world. The outdoor area, in particular, makes good use of the available space to provide interesting learning and play areas to suit children’s different developmental stages.

Well established systems to support teachers are contributing to improvements in teaching practice, the programme and the centre environment. Centre managers could also consider ways to support staff to consolidate their understanding of high quality teaching practice. Managers agree that centre self-review processes could be further developed to ensure that they focus on enhanced learning outcomes for children.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again within 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