TopKids Te Rapa - 25/10/2017

1 Evaluation of TopKids Te Rapa

How well placed is TopKids Te Rapa 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

TopKids Te Rapa is an education and care service owned and operated by BestStart, a private company. It is licensed for 92 children, including 25 up to the age of two years. There are currently 99 children on the roll, 30 of whom are Māori. There is also a significant number of children from other ethnic backgrounds, including Pākehā, Pacific and Indian. The centre offers a full-day service and is open from 7.30am until 6.00pm each weekday. It operates four age-specific rooms, one for infants and toddlers, two for those aged between two to four years and an area for older children.

The management team consisting of a centre manager and two head teachers has recently been appointed. The centre benefits substantially from the comprehensive professional and operational support at governance and management level, provided by the parent company. Over 80% of teachers are qualified early childhood practitioners. The centre philosophy emphasises children learning through play, kaitiakitanga - caring for the environment, whanauangatanga - celebrating the cultural backgrounds of every family in the centre, and manaakitanga - building upon each person's strengths.

The centre has responded well to the recommendations for review and development in the 2014 ERO report.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from a personalised, inclusive and responsive curriculum which is well-aligned to the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. An emphasis on open-ended and natural play resources promotes children's oral language development and thinking skills. Children are highly engaged in learning through play and have fun following their own interests. Well-balanced, teacher-directed programming adds complexity and depth to learning. Children's sense of belonging is enhanced by the way teachers affirm and celebrate their diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Many teachers use te reo Māori consistently in their interactions with children. Te ao Māori is well-integrated through many areas of the curriculum. Children's rights are respected and they are involved in decisions which affect them. Their understanding of their role as kaitiaki of the environment is developed through their involvement in gardening and recycling programmes.

Children up to the age of two are settled and happy. They benefit from the responsive physical and emotional care of their teachers. Their room is located in a more secluded area of the centre which minimises disruption. A calm and settled atmosphere allows infants and toddlers to explore safely and securely. Regular, responsive communication between teachers and parents ensures children's routines are consistent with those of home. Children are able to learn, play and explore in extensive inside and outdoor play spaces.

Centre leaders and teachers also provide practical support that enables equitable access to the centre for all families. Teachers work with outside agencies who provide advice and guidance about how best to support children with additional needs. Transition processes are well thought-out and considerate of both children and their whānau.

Planning and assessment is individualised for each child. This system promotes a focused and intentional approach to children's learning and progress, and supports authentic relationships with parents as partners in their child's development. Parents spoken to by ERO appreciate the sharing of children's assessment portfolios via an online portal. This portal allows children and the wider whānau to more easily follow progress and to contribute a home perspective. Teachers also maintain paper copies of learning stories which provide a literacy resource for children and as an opportunity for them to revisit prior learning.

Children and whānau are benefitting from efficient centre operations and effective teacher practice, aligned with the centre philosophy. Warm, respectful relationships between teachers, children and whānau promote high levels of trust and a strong sense of belonging. Teachers use a range of intentional teaching strategies informed by learning goals developed for each child. These individual goals have been co-constructed with parents through regular interviews. Teachers ensure children have learning opportunities across a variety of areas of play. Teachers systematically evaluate their teaching practices and the impact of these on outcomes for children.

Strategic and long term review follows a robust process which results in improved outcomes for children. Leaders have worked hard to develop a positive, collaborative and supportive team culture. There is a shared sense of purpose and enthusiasm. They have high expectations for teachers. A robust, company-wide teacher appraisal process is well-supported by centre leaders. It is increasingly based on teachers inquiring into their own practice. This promotes focused and sustained improvement in teacher practice. A collaborative approach to teacher performance management contributes to improved outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Professional managers, centre leaders and ERO agree that the key next steps are to:

  • deepen and extend the bicultural curriculum with an emphasis on:
    • local history and landmarks
    • the integration of Māori and other cultural perspectives in all curriculum areas
    • the development of a Māori framework for teaching and learning
    • whakapapa.
  • strengthen curriculum review with a focus on building teacher capacity.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of TopKids Te Rapa 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 TopKids Te Rapa will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

25 October 2017

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

30055

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

92 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

99

Gender composition

Boys 58 Girls 41

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Indian
Asian
Other

30
39
6
6
5
13

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

25 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

April 2008

Education Review

March 2005

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.

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.