Adventure Kindergarten - 09/06/2015

1 Evaluation of Adventure Kindergarten

How well placed is Adventure Kindergarten 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

Adventure Kindergarten is situated adjacent to Adventure School in Whitby. Since the
June 2012 ERO review, hours of operation have changed and a full-day service now operates for children from two years to school age.

Adventure Kindergarten is one of 85 kindergartens and three home-based education and care networks governed and managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). This is a new kindergarten association created from joining the Rimutaka and Wellington Kindergarten Associations in 2014. The transition to the new association is expected to be a three-year process.

The board and managers provide governance for the organisation. Senior teachers have delegated kindergartens. Their role is to provide regular support and a range of professional learning and development opportunities for teachers.

Four teachers at Adventure Kindergarten are qualified and fully registered. The service currently employs one provisionally registered teacher and a part time, third year teacher in training. Significant staffing changes have occurred since the previous ERO review.

In 2012, the association developed a framework to guide the implementation of its curriculum, Te Manawa. This document outlines criteria for curriculum delivery including expectations for assessment and planning for children’s learning.

The previous ERO report for Adventure Kindergarten identified at centre level that assessment, planning, self review and transition-to-school processes needed further development. Areas where the Wellington Kindergarten Association needed to strengthen its support for teachers were also identified. Improvement continues to be needed in some of these areas that the association has plans to address. These feature as key next steps in this report. The alignment of individual kindergartens' annual plans with the association’s strategic priorities has now been addressed.

This review was part of a cluster of 12 kindergarten reviews in He Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens. 

The Review Findings

Children learn in an environment that supports meaningful and enjoyable exploration. They engage in free, uninterrupted play and investigation that encourages independence and extends learning. Children’s emerging interests in literacy and numeracy are fostered. Portfolios provide a useful record of each child’s participation and enjoyment in learning. Teachers view each family and its knowledge of their child as an important part of the kindergarten’s learning community.

Teachers work collaboratively to strengthen and improve consistency of teaching and learning practices. Daily ‘aromatawai' discussion meetings support these ongoing developments. Teachers are aware of the need to continue to develop assessment, planning and evaluation processes and documentation of children’s learning.

Teachers recently revisited the kindergarten's philosophy and have a clear focus on ensuring teaching practice and the environment are supportive and inclusive. They share values that encourage respectful behaviour and support children's developing social competencies. Staff observe and closely monitor children with additional needs. They work in partnership with parents and whānau to develop individual learning or positive guidance plans.

The environment reflects the dual heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand in a variety of ways. The outdoor area, with well-integrated natural materials, has been designed collaboratively. It shows a strong bicultural commitment, is aesthetically appealing and supports sustainable practices. Children engage with the living world in authentic and meaningful ways.

Children have opportunities to experience te reo me ngā tikanga Māori practices incidentally within the programme. Teachers continue to extend their knowledge and understandings in giving significance to Māori learners’ culture, language and identity. ERO's evaluation affirms this approach for ongoing development.

Transition to school focuses on children feeling well supported and confident in a new situation. Kindergarten teachers support families with information and discussion. They continue to build positive relationships with the local school.

The head teacher provides collaborative leadership and values the skills and knowledge of the teaching team. Teachers are very reflective and improvement focused. Sound use is beginning to be made of current best practice to support developing self-review processes.

The senior teacher provides termly written reports that outline agreed development priorities and progress in the quality of teaching and learning. The association has recently implemented new reports that should more deliberately focus on outcomes for children, teacher and leader performance. ERO's evaluation affirms this development.

The 2012 ERO report identified that the association needed to improve the appraisal processes. These continue to require strengthening. A recently revised appraisal model, yet to be implemented, includes: more focused goals that build teacher and leader capability; more regular and targeted feedback and feed forward about teaching practice; and clearer links with the Registered Teacher Criteria. 

Key Next Steps

The senior teacher, head teacher, staff and ERO agree on the following key next steps for Adventure Kindergarten, to:

  • continue to work on assessment, planning and evaluation of children’s learning
  • further develop self review.

The senior management team of He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua should continue to further improve processes for growing and developing the practice of teachers, head teachers and senior teachers. This should include:

  • improvements to the quality and monitoring of processes to support individual kindergartens and regular implementation of a robust appraisal system.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Adventure Kindergarten 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 Adventure Kindergarten will be in three years. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 June 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

Whitby, Porirua

Ministry of Education profile number

5537

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged over 2

Service roll

70

Gender composition

Boys 38, Girls 32

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Samoan
Tongan
Tokelauan
Vietnamese
Indian
Chinese
Other ethnic groups

  3
47
  2
  1
  1
  2
  2
  1
11

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

9 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

April 2008

Education Review

August 2005

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.