Children enjoyed a positive learning environment. They settled well on arrival and engaged positively with others. Children responded well to the support teachers provided and were comfortable to participate in a variety of learning situations. Leadership amongst children was fostered. Children had the opportunity to lead mat times and to be responsible for daily routines. They played cooperatively with one another and demonstrated independence and confidence.
The centre’s environment celebrated Samoan culture and New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. Teachers were proficient in the Samoan language. They consistently built children’s confidence in using and understanding Samoan. While teachers used Samoan throughout the programme they supported children to improve their Samoan language through bilingual responses. Consequently, children conversed confidently with adults and one another.
Infants were cared for and nurtured by their teachers. Teachers were responsive to individual infant’s routines and care needs, and developed strong and secure attachments. They understood the developmental stages of younger children, fostered their independence, supported language development, and promoted opportunities for infants to learn through play.
Leaders of these Pacific services acknowledged the need to make changes to improve learning outcomes of Pacific children. This required courage and collaboration, and led to a shift in practices.
These services revisited and established a shared philosophy and vision that leaders, teachers, parents and families understood and could identify with. The philosophy guided the services’ curriculum decisions such as identifying priorities for children’s learning and supporting their language, culture, and identity by clarifying teachers’ duties to ensure that the children experienced a high quality education.
Services moved from having an informal approach to self review to a more systemic, connected and coherent way of working that was aligned to their philosophy and strategic plan.
Services were clear about:
When the need arose, these services sought expertise to support them in implementing and evaluating the impact of their improvements.
These services changed the focus of their engagement with parents and families from just gathering ideas to involving them in shared decision-making for ongoing improvement. The knowledge and expertise of the children, their parents and families, and the local Pacific community was actively sought and acknowledged. Teachers’ capability to take on leadership roles was developed through relevant and targeted PLD, which supported the model of shared decision-making for improved quality of education.
Leaders of these services knew they had to make improvement-focused changes but more importantly they recognised the need for them to know what difference, if any, these improvements made for the children in their centre, their parents and families, and the teachers.