Albany Kindergarten - 27/03/2020

1 Evaluation of Albany Kindergarten

How well placed is Albany Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Albany Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

Albany Kindergarten is one of 15 early childhood services operating under the umbrella of the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association, (the association) now trading as Kaitiaki Kindergartens. The service is licensed for 40 children aged over two years and serves an ethnically diverse community. Many families have English as a second language. Daily sessions are for a mixed-age group of children from three to five years.

A governing board sets strategic directions for the association. Management of the association’s operations is the responsibility of the general manager (GM). Two professional practice leaders (PPL) have oversight of teaching and learning, compliance, policy development and leadership. Day-to-day operation in this kindergarten is the responsibility of the head teacher who leads a team of four registered teachers.

Since the February 2015 ERO review there has been turnover of personnel at management and senior leadership levels. All five teachers, including the head teacher, have been employed since that time.

The philosophy underpinning teaching and learning emphasises the importance of committed teachers valuing and supporting children to become independent, creative lifelong learners, in partnership with whānau. Albany Kindergarten has a silver EnviroSchool award.

The previous 2015 ERO evaluation findings recommended that the teaching team explore the use of information technologies and increase their understanding and inclusion of te ao Māori in the learning programmes. Good progress has been made in these areas.

This review is one of nine in the Northern Auckland Free Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children confidently lead their learning with support from effective, attentive teachers. They are highly engaged and make meaningful choices from a range of authentic learning opportunities and thoughtfully provided resources. The language of social and emotional competencies is well known and consistently implemented by teachers and children.

Respectful teaching practices are highly evident and used to support positive outcomes, including open-ended questioning, scaffolding of friendships, and encouraging children’s independence. Staff are strongly responsive to the emerging interests of individuals and groups.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is evident throughout the curriculum. Continuing to increase knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori is a teaching team focus.

Children with additional learning needs are identified and effectively planned for and supported by the programme. Leaders and teachers work alongside family and whānau to access association support and external agencies, when required.

Teachers actively seek and respond to parent's aspirations and perspectives. Strong, positive relationships are built with families and whānau. Meaningful wall displays effectively inform them about their child's learning and participation in the programme. An online assessment tool enables whānau to learn about their child’s progress and achievement through pictures and written descriptions. Parents regularly respond to their child's learning and share stories from home.

Well-documented group and individual planning supports learning for all children. Learning stories skilfully document children’s friendships, discoveries and learning. A next step is to ensure that children’s cultures are more evident in these stories.

A well-considered transition process supports children moving into the service. Positive relationships with local schools enable them to make a smooth transition.

Teachers are highly collaborative and use a range of effective ways to share information and learning. They make good use of current research and apply new understandings to improve their practice. Leaders and teachers are strengthening their understanding of the process of internal evaluation to effectively inform their decision making and improve practice to support positive outcomes for children.

The head teacher provides strong, effective leadership for the teaching team. Teachers are provided with opportunities for leadership.

The association has some good processes in place to support teachers. These include an improved inquiry-based appraisal, targeted learning and development opportunities and access to PPLs' guidance. Assisting teachers to implement and embed the new policy framework and reporting requirements, and deciding on the form and function of the PPL role and how this will be enacted in kindergartens, are priorities.

With the appointment of a new board, GM and leadership team, considerable work has been done to review the existing management structures, processes and guidelines for operation, and to improve accountability. The board and GM should continue to review and develop governance and operational roles and responsibilities, in consultation with teachers and the community, to support the sustainability of operation and ensure that continuous improvement to outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers agree that key next steps are to:

  • ensure that each child's culture is consistently evident in documentation, especially in children's learning stories

  • continue to deepen understanding and use of internal evaluation to effectively inform decision making and improve practice to support positive outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Albany 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.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to health and safety, governance and management. The service provider must ensure that:

  • heavy furniture, fixtures and equipment that could fall or topple and cause serious injury or damage are secured.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS6

Since the onsite phase of the review, the kindergarten has provided evidence to show the areas of non-compliance have been addressed.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)

Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

27 March 2020

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

Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5557

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged over 2 years

Service roll

56

Gender composition

Male 32, Female 24

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other Ethnicities

3
21
32

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

27 March 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

September 2011

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.