Titirangi Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten 1 - 19/06/2014

1. Evaluation of Titirangi Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten 1

How well placed is Titirangi Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten 1 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

Titirangi Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten 1 is a well established kindergarten offering early childhood education and care for children from two and a half to six years of age. The kindergarten is on the site of, and affiliated to, the Rudolf Steiner School in Laingholm, which is situated on 100 acres of native forest land. Most of the families are from Waitakere City, but many families travel from the wider Auckland area.

The kindergarten is a member of the Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools and Early Childhood Centres in New Zealand. It is well managed by a trust board and led by a centre manager.

The centre offers a Waldorf Steiner preschool education philosophy based on supporting the child through the fundamental needs and phases of development. Children from a diverse range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds are welcomed into the centre. They are cared for in four groups, with two teachers for each group.

The managers and teachers have responded positively to ERO’s 2011 report. They have begun working with the Steiner Federation to develop a national Steiner Waldorf curriculum document that is aligned to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children's learning now aligns better to the centre’s philosophy, which focuses on learning through self-directed play.

The manager and lead teachers have conducted recent self review of how Steiner Waldorf education in New Zealand is becoming more closely associated to local communities and their changing cultural contexts. Teachers and leaders are currently discussing ways in which the programme can include an increased bicultural approach that promotes Māori culture and values. Teachers have been involved in workshops to increase their knowledge and use of te reo Māori.

The Review Findings

Children are articulate and settled within familiar routines. They enjoy the child-paced programme and thoughtfully considered and nurturing interactions of teachers. Children are aware of boundaries for behaviour and teachers’ expectations that they will work out solutions to problems independently. They have a strong sense of belonging in the centre. Teachers encourage them to explore creatively within a programme that promotes complex learning through fantasy and storytelling.

Teachers recognise that young children use both verbal and non-verbal ways to express their thoughts. They are accepting of, and responsive to, children’s developing and sometimes provocative language, and children are encouraged to express their ideas honestly and respectfully. Teachers are skilled and hold both Steiner and national qualifications.

The classroom environments reflect activities that take place in children’s homes. Areas are designed purposely with muted tones and colours to maintain a calm learning environment. Open-ended resources and simple props are used to encourage children’s dramatic play. Natural resources are used in the indoor learning environments and extensive outdoor areas provide many varied opportunities for children to engage with and learn through natural cycles of nature.

The curriculum is underpinned by the Steiner philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. A strong focus is evident on children developing their social, physical, spiritual and thinking abilities at their own pace and in accordance with their individual readiness to move from one stage to the next. Children are encouraged to become free, responsible, caring individuals who are able to live purposeful lives. Teachers provide them with appropriate ways of learning based on Steiner learning approaches.

Kindergarten leaders and teachers work closely with parents to build a strong community with shared understandings and beliefs about the Waldorf Steiner philosophy of education. There is active parent involvement and many engage in workshops about the centre’s philosophy. Many parents are also involved in decision making and fundraising activities.

Good policies and systems are in place and kindergarten operations are well managed. Teachers are well supported to build their teaching capability and their understanding about what effective learning looks like for children who attend the kindergarten. Self review is well used to support ongoing improvement.

Leadership is shared amongst teachers. Support from Steiner Federation advisors informs the centre’s operations and strategic direction. A clear strategic plan drives centre practices and ensures that teachers are informed of the centre’s goals and purpose. Kindergarten trust members and leaders work closely together to build a cohesive team. They frequently monitor their progress against their philosophy. The kindergarten’s governance and management structure is currently under review.

Key Next Steps

Kindergarten leaders agree that key next steps include:

  • continuing to strengthen their bicultural approaches by promoting te reo, tikanga and knowledge about te ao Māori in the programme
  • promoting a more culturally diverse programme
  • increasing the documentation of parents’ and children’s contributions to decision making.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Titirangi Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten 1 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 Titirangi Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten 1 will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

19 June 2014

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

Titirangi, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20495

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

70 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

58

Gender composition

Girls 35

Boys 23

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

African

Fijian

Indian

Other European

7

40

1

1

1

8

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

19 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

April 2011

 

Education Review

October 2007

 

Education Review

March 2004

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.