Wadestown Kindergarten - 15/12/2011

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Wadestown Kindergarten is affiliated to the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association (the association). The association has a governing board and a general manager. The general manager is the licensed service provider contact person for the kindergarten. The association employs a team of senior teachers, one of whom is responsible for leading the professional support and advice and guidance to the teaching team. She also liaises with the kindergarten community.

Since the May 2008 ERO review the teaching team has changed and increased from three teachers to four. It is now a full day, licensed kindergarten. This has led to changes in the way children’s and community needs are being met and the programme is delivered.

Teachers create an atmosphere that is welcoming for families. Warm, responsive interactions occur between teachers and children, and among children. Teachers and whānau have developed a good relationship. Parents are confident to spend time in the kindergarten with their children and to discuss their child’s progress. There is a clear sense of belonging.

The environment is well resourced. Children are stimulated to develop language and scientific concepts. Books, displays, accessible resources and materials are suitably selected to support children’s learning. Children are self directed, confident, competent learners.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are evident in practice, displays, resources and signage. A successful annual celebration of Matariki provides an opportunity for children to learn and develop skills related to this culture.

The programme offers opportunities for children to play independently, cooperatively and creatively. Children are settled and highly engaged in learning experiences.

Although there are no children with special needs in the kindergarten, staff are aware of the need to adapt the curriculum for these children. The physical environment is suitable for meeting a range of needs.

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 Wadestown Kindergarten 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 atWadestown Kindergarten.

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.

In addition, ERO decided to evaluate:

  • association support

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

Since the May 2008 ERO review of the kindergarten has been relicensed as an all-day service. This has improved the ratio of teachers to children. The teaching team has changed and increased from three teachers to four.

The teaching team has reviewed its philosophy and developed a draft procedure for curriculum implementation. It is intended that these documents will guide teachers in further providing good quality education for children.

Areas of strength

The child-centred, play-based programme offers many opportunities for children to play independently, cooperatively and creatively. Children’s independence is actively promoted. They are settled and highly engaged in the learning experiences offered.

The programme is planned in response to the children’s and community’s interests. This broadens the experiences and adds challenge to learning. Literacy is meaningfully integrated throughout the programme and very good science opportunities enable scientific concepts to be explored.

Bicultural awareness is evident. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are incorporated in displays, signage and formal routines. The annual kindergarten focus on Matariki has helped children to develop skills and knowledge of tikanga Māori.

Children’s portfolios are accessible and provide useful information to parents. Parents are encouraged to contribute by sharing their aspirations for their child, observations of development and responses to the teachers and child’s input. The portfolios use a narrative approach to highlight children’s engagement in the programme and developing friendships.

Well-being and a sense of belonging are fostered through the attractive, well presented physical environment. Children take advantage of the easy access from indoor to outdoor spaces. They experience a wide range of activities to develop physical and cognitive skills. Equipment varies in complexity and challenge to meet the range of children’s abilities and to extend the curriculum.

Interactions are warm, friendly and responsive. Children relate positively to their peers and are confident and purposeful with teachers and visitors. Routines are clearly established and responsive to children’s growing independence. Expectations for behaviour are clear and understood.

Parents and whānau are confident to spend time in the kindergarten. The effective relationships they have with teachers, facilitates informed communication about their child’s learning and development.

Staff work well as a team. Members interact positively, providing mutual support and encouragement. Teachers draw on their knowledge of children, making links to past experiences and family interests. Some teachers use effective strategies to engage and sustain children in conversations. Some capitalise on opportunities that arise to engage them in effective problem solving.

Areas for development and review

Although the programme offers many opportunities for children’s development, extending learning and giving positive, specific feedback could be strengthened. Teachers should provide for a balance of child-initiated and teacher-led activities.

Teachers have identified that their use of te reo Māori and inclusion of tikanga Māori could be extended. They have set a team goal to increase their use of te reo Māori in conversations, children’s portfolios and waiata in the programme.

Entries in the portfolios should be linked to provide a sense of continuity, and make the children’s learning and progress clear for parents.

Teachers write a programme evaluation each term. They recognise the usefulness of recording interim discussions on how well the programme is continuing to meet children’s needs. Recording judgements about the quality and effectiveness of the experiences and the impact on children’s learning would strengthen these evaluations.

Teachers are in the early stages of reviewing their programmes. Spontaneous reviews have been well used to improve outcomes for children. Next steps are for teachers to gain clarity about the difference between review and development and to be strategic in their choice of review topics.

Association Support

Background

The 2008 ERO review of the association identified several strengths, including the provision of professional development, sound operation plans, support for property development and the use of a range of communication strategies to keep teachers and communities informed. Areas for improvement included the quality and depth of the written feedback given to teachers by the senior teacher and strengthening the appraisal process.

Since 2008, the association has led consultation with the community to modify session times and improve the ratio of teachers to children from 1:15 to 1:10 and maintained its policy of employing qualified, registered teachers in regulated permanent positions.

The association provides expectations and guidance to the kindergarten through its strategic plan, policies and procedures and more recently, the professional development strategy Te Manawa: Criteria for Curriculum Implementation.

Areas of strength

The association continues to provide high levels of guidance and support to teachers for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. These include:

  • the strategic plan, setting expectations for participation, parent/whānau involvement and quality teaching practices

  • clearly defined indicators of quality teaching and learning practice through Te Manawa

  • a wide range of professional development opportunities

  • ongoing support in property development, human resource management, finance and resourcing.

Areas for development and review

The association, senior teachers and ERO have identified areas where the association can strengthen their support for teachers. These include:

  • further developing and supporting leadership, including a review of the appraisal process

  • reviewing senior teacher documentation to show how teachers have improved their practice as a result of feedback

  • reviewing how kindergartens’ annual plans for teaching and learning could more explicitly show how teachers respond to the association strategic priorities.

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.

Inclusion of Children with Moderate to Severe Special Needs

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions promote the continuing well-being, learning and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • these children are supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service demonstrates inclusion.

Although there are no children with moderate to severe needs, the kindergarten is inclusive and well prepared to enrol children who may require extra support. Teachers are aware of the need to adapt the curriculum for these children. Some staff have had related professional development and experience. The physical environment is suitable.

4 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Wadestown Kindergarten 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.

5 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the priorities for review and development, identified through the kindergarten’s reflection and this external evaluation, and outlined in this report, be addressed.

6 Future Action

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

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

About the Centre

Type

All Day Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children aged over 2

Roll number

61

Gender composition

Girls 31, Boys 30

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 44,

Asian 6,

Māori 5,

Other ethnic groups 6

Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

15 December 2011

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review May 2008

Education Review August 2005

Accountability Review August 1998

15 December 2011

To the Parents and Community of Wadestown Kindergarten

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Wadestown Kindergarten.

Wadestown Kindergarten is affiliated to the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association (the association). The association has a governing board and a general manager. The general manager is the licensed service provider contact person for the kindergarten. The association employs a team of senior teachers, one of whom is responsible for leading the professional support and advice and guidance to the teaching team. She also liaises with the kindergarten community.

Since the May 2008 ERO review the teaching team has changed and increased from three teachers to four. It is now a full day, licensed kindergarten. This has led to changes in the way children’s and community needs are being met and the programme is delivered.

Teachers create an atmosphere that is welcoming for families. Warm, responsive interactions occur between teachers and children, and among children. Teachers and whānau have developed a good relationship. Parents are confident to spend time in the kindergarten with their children and to discuss their child’s progress. There is a clear sense of belonging.

The environment is well resourced. Children are stimulated to develop language and scientific concepts. Books, displays, accessible resources and materials are suitably selected to support children’s learning. Children are self directed, confident, competent learners.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are evident in practice, displays, resources and signage. A successful annual celebration of Matariki provides an opportunity for children to learn and develop skills related to this culture.

The programme offers opportunities for children to play independently, cooperatively and creatively. Children are settled and highly engaged in learning experiences.

Although there are no children with special needs in the kindergarten, staff are aware of the need to adapt the curriculum for these children. The physical environment is suitable for meeting a range of needs.

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.

Kathleen Atkins

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.

National Evaluation Topics – This strand contributes to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.

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.