Whanui Early Learning Centre - 06/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Whanui Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Whanui Early Learning Centre 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

Whānui Early Learning Centre is one of many services under the umbrella of the Waahi Whaanui Trust, (Trust) that is an iwi service provider that operates under the auspices of te iwi o Tainui. It provides social, health and environmental services for six marae in the wider Huntly area. The centre is located on the western side of the Waikato river in Huntly. Strategic direction, vision and philosophy is set by the Trust.

The centre is licensed for 30 children including up to five under the age of two. At the time of the ERO review it operated a six hour service from 8.30am to 2.30pm daily. In line with the concepts of tuakana/teina and whanaungatanga, babies, toddlers and young children learn and play together. All children are Māori and most whakapapa to one of the six marae served by the trust.

The centre is closely aligned with the Kīngitanga and clearly supports Kīngitanga kaupapa. Ensuring te reo and tikanga Māori, language, culture and identity is valued, practised and passed on to future generations. The centre also supports the vision of its umbrella organisation, 'Manaakitia te iwi, To serve the people'. The centre philosophy is clearly stated and well supported by staff and whānau. It promotes respect for individual children within a kaupapa Māori framework.

The all-embracing concept of whanaungatanga underpins the way this centre operates. Ngā Taumata Whakahirahira clearly identifies the centralised roles of Mana Atua (spiritual and emotional connections), Mana Tangata (potential and power of the child), Mana Whenua (connections between the child and the land), Mana Reo (power of language and confident communicator) and Mana Aoturoa (relationships and connections with the environment).

Most teachers are fully qualified and registered. Others have expert knowledge and experience, and bring useful skills and expertise to the kaupapa of whanaungatanga. The centre continues to be led by an experienced team leader. 

The 2013 ERO report recognised the centre’s strengths in engaging parents and whānau and in developing children’s social competence, confidence, and their strong sense of belonging in the centre. Key next steps related to programme planning, curriculum and self review are developing. Appraisal for the team leader has been established under the guidelines of the Trust.

The Review Findings

Children and whānau benefit from the holistic approach that supports the development of whānau, hapū and iwi. They are warmly greeted into an inclusive environment, and whanaungatanga is strongly reflected through children's interactions with adults, their peers and the environment. Children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging. This is supported by the respectful, caring relationships they experience with staff and their peers. Māori culture, language and identity are valued through positive and affirming interactions.

Tamariki are capable and confident learners. They trust adults within the environment to be responsive to their needs, interests and strengths. Infants and toddlers are well catered for, free to explore, and learn in meaningful social and cultural contexts. The mixed-age group setting promotes tuakana-teina relationships and reciprocal learning (ako). These positive relationships empower children to share their knowledge and strengths with others and to successfully support learning.

Children enjoy a rich range of experiences through the use of community facilities such as the māra kai, river, bush walks and the outdoor environment. Kaitiakitanga skills and knowledge are promoted. An area for further review includes evaluating the quality of resourcing and equipment provided. This should ensure the diverse interests and ability levels are sufficiently catered for with infants, toddlers and young children.

Teachers are skilled at naturally including te ao Māori perspectives throughout the programme. They confidently interweave these perspectives across all aspects of the curriculum. They have good knowledge of waiata, haka, pūrakau, pakiwaitara, karakia and whānau. This supports them to build on children’s existing understandings, knowledge, and develop skills and dispositions that support lifelong learning.

Whanaungatanga values of respect, sharing and support underpin the way this centre operates. Concepts that underpin Māori children’s social competence include the processes and practices used to implement Ngā Taumata Whakahirahira throughout the environment. Children are affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning.

Teacher's involvement in appropriate professional learning and development has strengthened their interactions and relationships with children. They interact using a wide range of teaching strategies that affirm children's contributions and encourage oral language and communication skills.

Planning is responsive to children's interests and strengths. Teacher observe children, noticing and recognising the learning and respond to potential teaching and learning opportunities. Children's learning dispositions, skills and knowledge is identified and documented through the assessments (learning stories), and shared with children and their whānau to celebrate children's successes. 

The centre effectively operates within the values and strategic direction of the trust. A major priority is the well being, health, and education of children and whānau within the centre, and Waahi whaanui. Leadership within the centre is inclusive and collaborative. It is based on respect, trust and reciprocity. Skills, expertise and knowledge of staff is recognised and used in the best interests of the programme, staff, tamariki and whānau. The centre community benefits from the 'wrap around' support provided by the trust who strongly promote an equitable provision of services and support for all.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and teachers should:

  • strengthen self-review processes based on centre priorities and plan strategically to work through these in a systematic way

  • review the centre philosophy to better reflect a kaupapa Māori perspective that links to Ngā Taumata Whakahirahira

  • review the quality of learning resources and equipment provided to cater for the specific ages and ability levels of infants, toddlers and young children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Whanui Early Learning Centre 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.

In order to improve the current practice the Trust in consultation with teachers should clearly align the appraisal process with the Education Council’s Professional Teachers' Criteria. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Whanui Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

6 March 2017

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

Huntly

Ministry of Education profile number

34118

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll

25

Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 5

Ethnic composition

Māori

25

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

6 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

October 2013

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

October 2007

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.