Active Learners Leeston - 30/07/2014

1 Evaluation of Active Learners Leeston

How well placed is Active Learners Leeston 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

Active Learners Leeston opened in January 2014. It is one of two centres operated by the owners. The Leeston centre was formerly known as Treasure Trove Kindergarten. The new service retained the children and families and some staff. A new centre manager and other staff have been appointed.

Since January 2014, the roll has increased considerably. In the short time that this service has been operating the owners, leaders and staff have made significant progress towards achieving their goals and vision.

Leaders and teachers are developing a relationship with other early childhood services and schools in the area.

This is the first ERO review of this centre.

The Review Findings

The owners and staff have a strong focus on developing positive relationships with the children, parents, whānau, community and amongst staff. Parent surveys indicate high levels of satisfaction with the new owners, leaders, staff and the programme provided for their children. Feedback from staff is also extremely positive about the supportive working environment.

Teachers encourage children to develop their independence. They work with children in ways that help to build positive relationships with others.

During the review, children confidently made their own choices in play. They played with and alongside others happily and remained involved in some activities for long periods of time.

The individual interests, needs and preferences of infants and toddlers are well met through calm and unhurried interactions. Teachers are caring, supportive and nurturing. This contributes to the children’s sense of belonging and developing confidence.

The owners and staff are committed to providing a bicultural curriculum and supporting the learning of Māori children in ways that are respectful of their language, culture and identity. This remains an ongoing area of development.

Teachers engage children in a wide range of interesting learning experiences. They provide many opportunities for children to explore and make their own discoveries. A spacious outdoor area and adjoining section are used well to extend children’s physical skills and interest in the environment. Learning experiences are often relevant to children’s lives and help children to make connections between home and the centre.

Teachers’ different cultural backgrounds, strengths and capabilities are recognised and used to enhance the learning programme. Science is a particular strength of learning experiences.

Teachers are focused on developing children’s numeracy and literacy understandings. In the best examples, teachers integrate literacy and numeracy in meaningful ways in individual children’s play. Children benefit from the increasing focus and use of information and communication technologies.

The new owners provide strong educational leadership to the team. They have a clear vision and high expectations for children’s learning and wellbeing.

A commitment is evident from the owners, centre leaders and teachers to making ongoing improvements to programmes and practices to provide a high-quality learning environment for children.

Leadership is well supported through mentoring and targeted professional development. The Timaru centre manager visits regularly to provide guidance and support to the new centre manager.

Leaders and teachers have made good use of a developing self-review process, including long and short-term plans and appraisal, to focus on making ongoing improvements.

Key Next Steps

The centre owners, managers and staff have identified, and have begun to address, the following areas for ongoing development. These include:

  • making the intended learning outcomes for children and the teaching practices to achieve these more explicit in assessment, planning and evaluation
  • making further improvements to self-review processes
  • providing children under three with an environment that is better suited to the particular needs of these young learners.

ERO recommends that centre leaders review the organisation of group learning times to ensure that these are effectively building on individual children’s interests, strengths and capabilities. This includes reviewing the formal teaching of literacy and numeracy at these times.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Active Learners Leeston 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 Active Learners Leeston will be in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

30 July 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

Leeston

Ministry of Education profile number

70001

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 10 aged under two

Service roll

88

Gender composition

Girls 36

Boys 52

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

10

75

3

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

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

30 July 2014

Most recent ERO report

No previous ERO reports

 

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.