West End Kindergarten (Timaru) - 14/10/2014

1. Evaluation of West End Kindergarten (Timaru)

How well placed is West End Kindergarten (Timaru) 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

West End Kindergarten in Timaru is part of the South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association. The kindergarten runs five morning sessions a week for the older children and three afternoons for the younger ones.

Children at West End Kindergarten benefit from a stimulating programme that supports their learning and wellbeing. It receives strong community support and has a large active parent committee. The teachers use ICT as a tool for communicating with parents. The kindergarten is part of a group of kindergartens and schools whose teachers meet to support children’s successful transition to school.

Two teachers share the head teacher position, allowing one of them to take on an advisory role for other kindergartens in the association. The teachers have made good progress on the recommendations from the 2011 ERO report.

This review was part of a cluster of eleven kindergarten reviews in the South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

West End Kindergarten has a strong philosophy based around empowering children as learners and communicators. The philosophy is evident in practice in many ways. Children’s play is settled and purposeful, and the teachers trust them to play independently. This allows the teachers to devote time to small groups or individuals. Teachers genuinely listen to and converse with children. Through these conversations they help extend children’s learning about themselves and the world.

Children at the kindergarten develop strong friendships with each other and enjoy their time together. The teachers foster a culture of care and respect for other people. They deliberately help children learn ways to get on well with their friends, solve the problems that arise, and invite others to join their play. A child guide told ERO that “teachers teach children how to play together.”

The large outside and inside areas offer many interesting spaces for different activities. Children make their own decisions about where they wish to play and what they want to do. Teachers are clear about the learning that is important for the children. They set out resources and provide experiences to promote this learning.

Children have a strong sense of belonging and ownership at the kindergarten. Teachers know the children well and follow up on their enthusiasms and interests to build a rich programme. They also actively seek parents’ wishes for their children’s learning and weave these ideas into the programme. Teachers respect children’s rights to express a point of view and involve them in decisions that affect them.

Teachers are skilled at turning opportunities into learning experiences for children. They follow up on real-life events such as a recent fire at the kindergarten, and model important learning and attitudes. Children benefit from rich early literacy and mathematics experiences which are integrated throughout the day.

Children hear and use some te reo Māori, learn waiata, and take part in celebrations such as Mātariki and the local Flava festival. Teachers’ planning shows a focus of increasing Māori perspectives within the kindergarten.

The teachers have developed useful systems to plan for children’s learning. Children are keen to share the records of their learning in their profile books. The teachers have identified a group of children who need additional support with speech and language. They have recently set up and are implementing individual plans around this.

The enthusiastic team of teachers works well together. They have a shared understanding of what is important for the children. The effective leadership in the kindergarten guides ongoing improvement, and the leaders deliberately support others to grow.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree that next steps for the kindergarten are to:

  • strengthen self review by including evaluative questions and indicators to measure progress

  • continue to develop partnerships with Māori whānau

  • refine aspects of assessment, planning, and evaluation.

Governance

The South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association is governed by a board and managed by a newly appointed general manager. The board:

  • has a strong commitment to teaching and learning

  • seeks parents’ views about important matters in the association

  • has made changes to the roll size and opening hours of the kindergartens to be more responsive to community needs and maintain the financial viability of the association

  • is very responsive to important government initiatives such as ensuring educational success for all children.

Next steps for the board are to:

  • know more about its roles and responsibilities as the governing body

  • develop strategic planning

  • ensure that reports review how well the association’s goals are met, are more evaluative and are better used for future planning

  • refine appraisal systems to ensure that staff and teachers more formally receive critical feedback about their work.

The senior teachers provide useful ongoing professional development and maintain a strong focus on teaching and learning to the kindergartens within the association. They have shared with the teachers at West End Kindergarten the expectations they have for teaching and learning and how well they think the team is meeting those expectations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of West End Kindergarten (Timaru) 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 West End Kindergarten (Timaru) will be in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

14 October 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

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

5481

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children from 2 years to school age

Service roll

59

Gender composition

Boys: 31 Girls: 28

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Other

5

51

2

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable

 
 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

14 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

June 2011

 

Education Review

November 2007

 

Education Review

November 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.