- 26/10/2011

 

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Bookworms Learning Centre was opened in February 2010 and it is situated in the shopping complex at Northwood, Christchurch. It is a small centre catering for up to 19 children over two years of age. The environment is extensively resourced and there is a high teacher-to-child ratio.

The special character of the centre is reflected in the focus given to developing literacy and numeracy skills. Teachers also focus on developing ‘skills before school’. These include social and self management skills and the development of oral language skills.

Teachers establish warm and supportive relationships with children and respond well to their interests and learning needs. Teachers effectively use conversation and questioning to help children engage in sustained periods of play and learning. Learning stories help teachers and parents to follow children’s interests and assess their learning. These assessments can now be extended to more specifically identify and develop children’s learning over time.

The programme and environment reflects the centre’s commitment to using creative arts, drama and music regularly. A feature of the programme is a range of structured activities that children can choose to participate in. There is also a wide range of activities for free play.

The licensee has established sound governance and management processes. The next steps are to:

extend strategic and self-review planning, and to evaluate how effectively the centre’s philosophy is being met

modify appraisal processes so the licensee and teachers receive more specific and constructive feedback against their goals.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore 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 Bookworms Learning Centre 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 atBookworms Learning Centre.

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
  • the interactions between children and adults.

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

The Quality of Education

Background

Bookworms Learning Centre is a new centre opened in February 2010. The centre’s philosophy gives high priority to developing literacy and numeracy skills and understandings. Children have choice within a programme that has many structured and free play opportunities. The centre environment reflects a commitment to using the arts, music and drama as media for learning.

Areas of strength

Focus on learning

Literacy and numeracy is given high priority within the programme. The centre has a clearly stated philosophy, based on Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, and reflecting values that give the programme a distinct character. The licensee and teachers have developed an approach that fosters understandings and skills that they identify as ‘skills before school’. This approach is well embedded in an environment that values creative arts, music and drama as a way of involving children in play and learning. Children have free choice across a wide range of activities that are formal and informal.

Programme in action

The programme clearly reflects the philosophy of the centre and effectively involves children in play and learning. Teachers establish warm and supportive relationships with children and consistently respond to their interests and learning needs. Good levels of conversation and questioning result in sustained interactions and play. The programme is planned around a range of structured activities and free play opportunities from which children can choose. Creative play is a strength in the programme. The programme is very well supported by an extensively resourced environment.

Observing children

Teachers monitor children’s engagement in the programme closely. They use profile books well as a record of children’s interests and the learning activities they engage in. Teachers have very good knowledge of children’s needs and progress. There is a high level of sharing of this knowledge between teachers. Some learning stories include child and parent voice. Most stories are well linked to learning outcomes in Te Whāriki.

Professional development

The professional development programme supports teachers to improve their teaching and observation of children. Teachers’ strengths are utilised and external advice is used when appropriate. Teachers support each other well to strengthen the programme to meet children’s needs.

Self-review process

The licensee has established a self-review process that has the potential to ensure improvement and change within the centre. A recent review of literacy followed a sound process, involved children and parents, and resulted in significant improvements and change. Teachers have shown they are able to carry out spontaneous reviews as needs arise. The licensee and teachers are also developing reflective journals as part of individual self review. Policies and procedures are reviewed on a regular basis.

Areas for development and review

Assessment practices

Teachers are now in the position to extend their assessment of children’s learning so they can:

  • more consistently describe individual children’s learning
  • specifically identify what teachers will do to support children’s ongoing learning
  • better track and evaluate children’s learning and progress over time.

Appraisal

The licensee and all teachers participate in an appraisal programme. The licensee is aware of the need to extend this programme to:

  • differentiate between appraisal and attestation processes
  • ensure that everyone receives more specific and constructive feedback against centre-wide and personal goals.

Strategic planning and review

The next step for the licensee is to further develop strategic planning to include goals and priorities for the future development of the centre. This should also include a plan for self review that identifies priorities, actions, timelines and outcomes. Planning and review at this level should enable the licensee and teachers to identify strengths and areas for development within the programme, and to evaluate how well the centre’s philosophy is being achieved.

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 ensure the continuing wellbeing, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

Although there are no children with moderate to severe special needs currently enrolled, this centre is well prepared to meet the needs of these children. Three staff members have special needs qualifications. There is a high staff/child ratio and staff work closely together to support individual children.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Bookworms Learning Centre completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration;
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

5. Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

26 October 2011

About the Centre

Type

All Day Early Childhood Education and Care Centre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

19 children

Roll number

31

Gender composition

Girls 20 Boys 11

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 28; Māori 1; Samoan 1; Indian 1

Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

26 October 2011

Previous three ERO reports

New Centre – first ERO review

 

To the Parents and Community of Bookworms Learning Centre

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Bookworms Learning Centre.

Bookworms Learning Centre was opened in February 2010 and it is situated in the shopping complex at Northwood, Christchurch. It is a small centre catering for up to 19 children over two years of age. The environment is extensively resourced and there is a high child teacher ratio.

The special character of the centre is reflected in the focus given to developing literacy and numeracy skills. Teachers also focus on developing ‘skills before school’. These include social and self management skills and the development of oral language skills.

Teachers establish warm and supportive relationships with children and respond well to their interests and learning needs. Teachers effectively use conversation and questioning to help children engage in sustained periods of play and learning. Learning stories help teachers and parents to follow children’s interests and assess their learning. These assessments can now be extended to more specifically identify and develop children’s learning over time.

The programme and environment reflects the centre’s commitment to using creative arts, drama and music regularly. A feature of the programme is a range of structured activities that children can choose to participate in. There are also a wide range of activities for free play.

The licensee has established sound governance and management processes. The next steps are to:

  • extend strategic and self review planning, and to evaluate how effectively the centre’s philosophy is being met
  • modify appraisal processes so the licensee and teachers receive more specific and constructive feedback against their goals.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore 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.

 

 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern 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.