Wise Owl Early Learning Centre - 16/03/2015

1. Evaluation of Wise Owl Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Wise Owl 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

Wise Owl Early Learning Centre is located in Pukekohe and provides full day care and education for up to 42 children from babies to school age. The centre operates three separate spaces for infants, toddlers and preschool children but there are opportunities for children to mix with other age groups. The centre philosophy expresses a commitment to support children to become life-long learners.

The owner administers the centre and employs a supervisor to oversee teaching practices in all three rooms. Lead teachers in each room work with their colleagues to plan programmes and provide written reports each month for the managers. This enables the owner and supervisor to monitor the provision for children.

The centre currently has six registered teachers, including the managers. The service is approaching a period of change with anticipated lower numbers and two teachers on parental leave and a third recently resigned. The owner will replace these teachers as roll numbers demand.

The owner provides ongoing mentoring and internal professional development for teachers. While external professional learning opportunities are not funded, teachers are encouraged to access courses and are provided with release time for these experiences.

The centre has a small number of children with Māori, Pacific or Asian backgrounds. The owner and teachers continue to consider strategies that will encourage these families to share their cultural values and help them to meet the diverse learning interests of the children.

In 2012 ERO commended the positive relationships in the centre, teachers’ support for children's play, and the integration of literacy and mathematics in children's learning. Teachers were considering ways to strengthen learning programmes and the owner was beginning to establish selfreview processes. The positive features of the programme have been sustained and work continues on self review, biculturalism and strategies to extend children's learning.

The Review Findings

Children are relaxed and happy in the centre. They are welcomed and settle quickly at activities of interest on arrival. Children interact enthusiastically with teachers, work well together on ongoing projects and have good opportunities to develop self-help skills. Children engage in sustained social play and enjoy resources that support early science and exploration. As teachers continue to develop bicultural practices, children are likely to benefit from further learning about their dual cultural heritage.

Toddlers gain a sense of wellbeing from learning in small groups with attentive teachers. They are responsive to adult prompts that encourage their developmental milestones and support their growing independence. At the time of ERO’s visit there were no infants attending the centre, but new enrolments were imminent.

Teachers consistently support children's play. They engage children in conversations about their interests and encourage them to share ideas and work cooperatively. Teachers know children well and skilfully respond to individual personalities and strengths. They are beginning to focus on strategies for transition to school. Further developing experiences that extend learning and challenge children's thinking would contribute well to their current review of ‘school-ready’ practices.

The supervisor leads ongoing reflection on planning, assessment and evaluation. Some useful processes are in place, including those for supporting teachers to use Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and clearly linking projects to children's interests. On-line systems for recording learning stories and assessment of children's progress enable centre leaders to readily monitor teachers’ work and provide easy access for most parents. The owner and supervisor have identified the need for teachers to strengthen their focus on children's individual learning. The centre's review of the outdoor environment could contribute further to this focus.

Centre leaders are keen to enhance their partnerships with parents. Although they have several strategies to keep families well informed and to enable parents to contribute to children's learning, not all parents fully participate. The owner recognises that further collaboration could strengthen learning initiatives and support children's transition to school.

The owner has developed a vision statement to guide the direction of the centre. An annual plan identifies goals and strategies for ongoing improvement. Together with the supervisor, she has identified the need to broaden the scope of self review and to ensure reviews are focused on improving outcomes for children. A review of teachers’ appraisal process is underway. Planned changes will enable teachers to demonstrate how they are meeting The Registered Teachers’ Criteria.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps should include:

  • teachers using learning stories more effectively to link assessments and identify children's individual learning
  • teachers continuing to refine programme planning in order to better identify teaching strategies that could extend learning and support biculturalism
  • providing ongoing support for teachers to extend their professional knowledge, including some external learning opportunities
  • continuing to develop self-review processes with a focus on strategies to measure the effectiveness of reviews.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wise Owl 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

16 March 2015

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

Pukekohe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

25358

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

42 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

37

Gender composition

Girls 21 Boys 16

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Tongan

Indian

Chinese

4

26

3

3

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2015

Date of this report

16 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

April 2012

 

Education Review

April 2009

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.