Akaroa Playcentre - 09/11/2010

1. Background

Introduction

A Supplementary Review is undertaken at the discretion of a National Manager, Review Services in the Education Review Office (ERO).

A supplementary review evaluates the extent and effectiveness of actions a centre has taken towards addressing issues specified in a previous education review and/or any additional areas identified since that review.

This supplementary review report was prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.

Terms of Reference

This supplementary review is based on an evaluation of the performance of the Akaroa Playcentre governing body and management in relation to areas identified in the July 2009 ERO report or issues identified since that review. The terms of reference for this review are to investigate:

  • the effectiveness of association support;
  • access to parent education and training in the local area;
  • planning, assessment and evaluation practices;
  • the quality of self review;
  • appraisal processes;
  • health and safety; and
  • any other issues relevant to the governance, management and operation of the centre arising during the course of the review.

2. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

The Akaroa Playcentre operates under the umbrella of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. It is one of 50 playcentres managed by the association. The association treasurer is the licensee of this centre. The association support person provides an essential link between the centre and the association.

The centre continues to be the only early childhood facility in Akaroa township. The centre is open for two sessions each week. At the time of this review, all children were attending only one of these sessions. An enthusiastic and committed group of parents is working well as a parent cooperative to provide education and care for the children.

This review evaluates the progress the centre and association have made in addressing the recommendations of the July 2009 ERO report. The areas identified for improvement included the level of support provided by the association, access to parent education, planning, assessment and evaluation, self review and performance appraisal.

The association has made good progress in addressing most of the areas identified above. The consistency and quality of support has been improved. A permanent support person maintains a close, ongoing relationship with the parent group. Parent education is now provided several times each term at the playcentre and is well attended. Parents value, and are benefiting from, the support they receive.

Some parents, together with a group of parents from other playcentres, have had training in self review led by the association. The focus of self review has been on assisting parents to understand and use planning and assessment practices. While there have been some improvements to the way parents identify and record children’s interests, this remains an area for further development. Self review could also be extended to review how well the programme and practices are leading to better outcomes for children and their learning.

The association has reviewed the performance appraisal policy and procedures and developed a more comprehensive approach. However, this process has yet to be fully implemented.

The safety issue identified in the 2009 ERO report has been addressed. The door from the adjoining hall to the unfenced car park is now kept locked.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interests of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again as part of the regular review cycle

3. Findings

Association Support

Background

The 2009 ERO report noted that the parent group had received limited support from the Canterbury Playcentre Association following the previous review in 2008. The parent group did not have regular support from the association support team. Parents were unaware of the courses available to them and how they could benefit from them.

Areas of progress

A permanent association support person has been assigned to the playcentre. She has established a positive relationship with the parent group. She is readily accessible for ongoing assistance and advice. She sometimes acts in a relieving position so that the centre can remain open when a coordinator is unavailable. Parents appreciate and are benefiting from the support they are receiving.

Access to Parent Education

Background

The 2009 ERO report identified that parents had few opportunities to attend local education training courses. This situation made it difficult for them to improve the quality of the education they provided for children and to meet the Canterbury Playcentre Association’s qualification requirements.

Areas of progress

The association has responded positively to the parent group’s request for more training. Courses are now taken regularly at the playcentre. The association support person plans the sessions to meet the needs and circumstances of the parents. For example, some training sessions have been held in the weekends. More parents are completing initial and advanced courses. Some training is shared with a neighbouring playcentre.

The coordinators assist the association by providing centre-based training for parents, such as a workshop on the value of children’s play.

Planning, Assessment and Evaluation

Background

At the time of the 2009 review, parents had not had sufficient training in planning, assessment and evaluation. They recognised the need to improve the way they identified and recorded children’s learning.

Areas of progress

The playcentre has developed expectations for the number of learning stories to be completed in each session and a way of monitoring these.

A new format has been introduced to guide parents in noticing and recognising children’s interests.

Area for further development

The learning stories are still mostly descriptive. In most cases, children’s learning is not clearly identified in individual or group stories. As parents complete more training courses, the quality of assessment and planning is likely to improve. The association support person is aware that she needs to provide ongoing assistance to extend the skills of the parent group in these areas.

Self Review

Background

The July 2009 report identified that self review was in the early stages of development. The parent group had begun to use the Ministry of Education guidelines for self review. However, parents had not received any specific training about self review from the association.

Areas of progress

The parent group is developing an increased understanding of the importance of self review. Two parents have attended training from the association with parents from other playcentres.

The association support person is helping the parent group to use self review as a means of improving the programme and practices. The use of a template is helping parents to review in a systematic way. The reviews undertaken have focused on extending parents’ knowledge and understanding of planning and assessment. The parent group has also carried out an informal review of the indoor area to improve the presentation of resources.

Area for further development

It is now time for the association support person to guide the parent group in using self review as a means of identifying how well the programme is extending children’s learning. This information should help the parent group to identify what is working well and what might need to be changed to improve outcomes for children. [Recommendation 4.1]

Appraisal

Background

The 2009 ERO report noted that the Canterbury Playcentre Association did not have a satisfactory performance appraisal process for ensuring accountability at all levels.

Area of progress

The association has reviewed its performance appraisal policy and procedures to make them more comprehensive for all playcentres. However, these changes have not yet been approved by the association board or implemented.

Area for further development

The support person told ERO that she has not appraised the coordinators because they were due to leave their positions. However, all playcentre personnel need to have regular constructive feedback on their performance so that their good practice is recognised and areas for development identified and acted upon. {Recommendation 4.2]

Health and Safety

The hazard identified in the previous report has been attended to. A bolt has been installed on the door in the hall which leads directly to the unfenced car park.

4. Recommendations

ERO recommends that the association continues to provide ongoing support for the parent group in:

  • improving the quality of planning, assessment, evaluation and self review; and
  • recognising and raising their performance through the implementation of an effective appraisal process.

5. Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interests of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again as part of the regular review cycle.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

9 November 2010

About the Centre

Type

Playcentre

Number licensed for

20 children including up to 6 aged under two

Roll number

31

Gender composition

Girls 16;

Boys 15

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 24;

Māori 4;

Other 3

Review team on site

August 2010

Date of this report

9 November 2010

Previous ERO reports

Supplementary Review July 2009

Education Review April 2008

Supplementary Review April 2005

9 November 2010

To the Parents and Community of Akaroa Playcentre

This supplementary review evaluates the quality of education and care received by the children and the performance of the centre’s management in relation to specific terms of reference.

The Education Review Office [ERO] evaluation of Akaroa Playcentre follows.

The Akaroa Playcentre operates under the umbrella of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. It is one of 50 playcentres managed by the association. The association treasurer is the licensee of this centre. The association support person provides an essential link between the centre and the association.

The centre continues to be the only early childhood facility in Akaroa township. The centre is open for two sessions each week. At the time of this review, all children were attending only one of these sessions. An enthusiastic and committed group of parents is working well as a parent cooperative to provide education and care for the children.

This review evaluates the progress the centre and association have made in addressing the recommendations of the July 2009 ERO report. The areas identified for improvement included the level of support provided by the association, access to parent education, planning, assessment and evaluation, self review and performance appraisal.

The association has made good progress in addressing most of the areas identified above. The consistency and quality of support has been improved. A permanent support person maintains a close, ongoing relationship with the parent group. Parent education is now provided several times each term at the playcentre and is well attended. Parents value, and are benefiting from, the support they receive.

Some parents, together with a group of parents from other playcentres, have had training in self review led by the association. The focus of self review has been on assisting parents to understand and use planning and assessment practices. While there have been some improvements to the way parents identify and record children’s interests, this remains an area for further development. Self review could also be extended to review how well the programme and practices are leading to better outcomes for children and their learning.

The association has reviewed the performance appraisal policy and procedures and developed a more comprehensive approach. However, this process has yet to be fully implemented.

The safety issue identified in the 2009 ERO report has been addressed. The door from the adjoining hall to the unfenced car park is now kept locked.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interests of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again as part of the regular review cycle

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow-up action they plan to do. You should talk to the management or licensee if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region