Akoteu Kato Kakala - 18/05/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Akoteu Kato Kakala provides a Tongan language and cultural context for early childhood care and education for children. It opened in 2006 and operates under the governance of the Kakala Malie Trust, in a purpose-built centre near Yendarra School in Otara.

The teaching team is well qualified and bases teaching practices and self-review processes on the concept of kakala, where children are seen as fragrant flowers to be nurtured as they bloom. Kato Kakala (basket of fragrant flowers) recognises the need for a culturally rich environment to promote growth and development. The centre’s inclusive, caring, family atmosphere, and teachers’ consistent use of Tongan language support children’s sense of belonging and wellbeing in the akoteu.

The environment reflects Tongan language and culture in displays, artefacts, resources and newly developed gardens. A well resourced separate space is provided for children up to two years of age. These children benefit from sharing the main play area with older children for much of the day. Teachers should continue to review the layout and presentation of play areas to make the best use of space available and to provide children with access to a greater variety of high quality resources.

Teachers respond to, and support, child-initiated play and regularly reflect on children’s learning. They have established thoughtful and useful processes for assessment and programme planning. Teachers provide a sound foundation for helping children to transition to school, and could now consider ways to build on their current good practices. They should ensure that they plan more purposefully for greater interest, creativity and challenge in day-to-day programmes and to extend learning over time. Specific strategies for supporting children to use Tongan language in conversation, and to develop complex play and peaceful negotiation skills, would help teachers improve children’s engagement in learning.

Reflective practice and formal self review are becoming an established feature of the centre. Strategic and annual plans provide a guide for managers and a basis for regular review of progress towards key goals. Ongoing improvement-focused self review could help managers and teachers make their educational theories more evident in practice and to continually raise the quality of provision for children in Kato Kakala.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Akoteu Kato Kakala 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 atAkoteu Kato Kakala.

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

ERO’s 2009 report recommended professional development for teacher and managers to improve the quality of programmes and self review. Managers responded positively to ERO’s recommendations and have monitored progress in areas identified. Teachers have improved their qualifications, with four staff now being provisionally or fully registered teachers and others currently in study programmes.

Areas of strength

  • Culture, language and identity.

Managers and teachers have given considerable focus to the Kato Kakala concept and values underpinning their philosophy of teaching and learning. Teachers mostly use Tongan language and some children also demonstrate confidence in using the language. Teachers recognise the value of fostering children’s sense of place and identity. Their commitment to providing a rich Tongan cultural and language environment for children is a strength of the akoteu.

There are high levels of integration and respect for Tongan cultural rituals, artefacts and language. Centre policy also expresses awareness of the Treaty of Waitangi and teachers include te reo me ōna tikanga Māori, as well as English language, incidentally in their interactions with children.

  • Support for child-initiated play.

Teachers provide good information for parents about the value of learning through child-initiated play. Children choose from a variety of resources and activities and play flows easily between the indoor and outdoor areas. Teachers follow children’s lead, respond to their ideas and support their play well. They value children’s creative drawing and often record children’s descriptions of their work.

  • Planning, assessment and evaluation processes.

Teachers collect a great deal of information about the programme and children’s learning activities. Processes and records that contribute to programme planning include regular review and talanoa (discussion). Parents have good opportunities to contribute their ideas about children’s learning and teachers often record children’s input. There are some good examples of individual assessment in children’s portfolios. Daily records for children up to two years of age provide rich information that is shared with parents.

Records show teachers’ increasingly reflective practice and growing knowledge about theory and good practice in early childhood education. Ongoing review will help teachers refine their extensive systems for planning, assessment and evaluation.

  • Management and self-review practices.

Managers and teachers keep useful records that show established good practices and ongoing self review. Strategic and annual plans provide a guide for managers and a sound basis for monitoring progress towards development goals.

Reflective practice is well established. Teachers use the meaningful and relevant concept of tui kalala as a framework for self review. They have reviewed several specific aspects of centre operations using this framework and habitually record their reflections about the programme and children’s learning.

Areas for development and review

More focused engagement in learning. Teachers should consider ways to minimise conflict and increase children’s engagement in learning by creating more interest and challenge in the programme. In order to extend children’s ideas over time and support complexity in children’s play they should:

  • ensure that there is a wider selection of equipment and activities for children to choose from at any time
  • improve the organisation of storage areas and the layout and presentation of furniture, displays and equipment, to increase access to resources that will help support and extend children’s play
  • plan more purposefully to revisit learning, build on prior knowledge and extend children’s thinking and problem solving abilities
  • reduce unnecessary interruptions to children’s play
  • more consistently promote children’s independent decision making, self management and responsibility wherever possible and appropriate.

Interactions. Teachers could also document specific strategies, and consistently model and implement these strategies to help children:

  • develop skills for positive social interaction, peaceful negotiation and conflict resolution
  • use Tongan language in their interactions with each other and adults, express their ideas and feelings, and contribute in more depth to conversations about learning activities.

Reviewing outcomes for children. To strengthen self-review practices managers and teachers could more specifically review aspects of their practice against intended and actual outcomes for children. They should continue to critique their practice to identify shared goals and determine the professional development needed to improve teaching and learning. In this way, self review could continue supporting the development of increasingly higher quality care and education for children.

3. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Akoteu Kato Kakala completed an ERO Centre ManagementAssurance 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.

In order to improve current practice the manager and teachers should:

  • ensure that children have independent access to drinking water at all times
  • minimise time that children spend in highchairs
  • ensure that medication and sleep monitoring records are accurately kept
  • improve shelving and organisation, and address safety concerns in the equipment storage shed.

4. Recommendations

ERO and the centre managers agree that the teaching team should now consider ways to extend children’s ideas over time, create more challenge, and support complexity in children’s play.

5. Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

 

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

 

About the Centre

Type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

33 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Roll number

33

Gender composition

Girls 17

Boys 16

Ethnic composition

Tongan 30, Samoan 3

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

18 May 2012

Previous ERO reports

Education Review, February 2009

18 May 2012

 

To the Parents and Community of Akoteu Kato Kakala

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Akoteu Kato Kakala.

Akoteu Kato Kakala provides a Tongan language and cultural context for early childhood care and education for children. It opened in 2006 and operates under the governance of the Kakala Malie Trust, in a purpose-built centre near Yendarra School in Otara.

The teaching team is well qualified and bases teaching practices and self-review processes on the concept of kakala. Kato Kakala recognises the need for a culturally rich environment to promote growth and development. The centre’s inclusive, caring, family atmosphere, and teachers’ consistent use of Tongan language support children’s sense of belonging and wellbeing in the akoteu.

The environment reflects Tongan language and culture in displays, artefacts, resources and newly developed gardens. A well resourced separate space is provided for children up to two years of age. These children benefit from sharing the main play area with older children for much of the day. Teachers should continue to review the layout and presentation of play areas to make the best use of space available and to provide children with access to a greater variety of high quality resources.

Teachers respond to, and support, child-initiated play and regularly reflect on children’s learning. They have established thoughtful and useful processes for assessment and programme planning. Teachers provide a sound foundation for helping children to transition to school, and could now consider ways to build on their current good practices. They should ensure that they plan more purposefully for greater interest, creativity and challenge in day-to-day programmes and to extend learning over time. Specific strategies for supporting children to use Tongan language in conversation, and to develop complex play and peaceful negotiation skills, would help teachers improve children’s engagement in learning.

Reflective practice and formal self review are becoming an established feature of the centre. Strategic and annual plans provide a guide for managers and a basis for regular review of progress towards key goals. Ongoing improvement-focused self review could help managers and teachers put educational theory into practice and to continually raise the quality of provision for children in Kato Kakala.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre 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.

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

 

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

 

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.
  • 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.