Anchorage Park Kindergarten - 23/10/2019

1 Evaluation of Anchorage Park Kindergarten

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Anchorage Park Kindergarten is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Anchorage Park Kindergarten, located next to Anchorage Park School in Pakuranga, is licensed for 40 children over the age of two years. It operates as a Kindergarten Day Model, which enables children to attend sessions similar to school hours. Some children attend morning sessions only. Teachers maintain a strong focus on responding to and meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse multicultural community.

Kindergarten programmes are underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and Reggio Emilia approaches. The kindergarten's philosophy promotes children's individual learning journey through collaborative, inclusive and reflective teaching practices. It emphasises strong learning partnerships between teachers, families and the community. Teachers view children as confident, competent and capable learners.

Anchorage Park Kindergarten has a history of very positive ERO reports. Since the 2014 ERO report, programmes for children have continued to be enhanced through teachers' ongoing research, inquiries and evaluation.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides leadership, a framework of policies and operational guidelines, support personnel and programmes of professional learning and development. Strategic planning supports the kindergartens' development and future focus. A new AKA structure has been established and new personnel appointed. Many of these roles have recently been established.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children and parents are warmly welcomed. A highly inclusive and respectful culture is strongly evident. Children experience and benefit from a calm, unhurried pace and well managed, unobtrusive routines. They play independently and alongside each other in the very well resourced environment. Children settle quickly into self-directed play, freely access equipment and engage with a variety of learning experiences.

The high quality, visually stimulating equipment is a special feature in both indoor and outdoor learning environments and invites children's exploration. Highly engaging learning activities provide suitable challenge and very good opportunities for children to explore, think and problem solve. Children experience extended periods of uninterrupted play that enable them to follow their own interests and sustain their activities.

Teachers work collaboratively to plan and implement effective learning programmes. They are intentional in the way they recognise and plan interesting and engaging play activities and provocations that extend children's thinking and learning. Teachers use children's interests and questions to add complexity to children's knowledge and to deepen their interest in topics. Literacy, numeracy, science, inquiry and social skills are well integrated in children's play.

Children with additional learning needs are very well supported to experience success by teachers and teacher aides. The kindergarten makes good use of external agencies to support these children and their families.

High quality learning stories and portfolios provide parents with very good information about their children's learning. Children are very proud of their portfolios. They willingly share their learning stories with each other, teachers and visitors, and they articulate a real understanding of their own progress and learning.

Teachers make good use of their detailed knowledge of children's home languages and cultures. Te ao Māori is celebrated in programmes and in the environment, and bicultural practices are strong. Teachers make specific links to the Māori world view, and te reo is naturally interwoven through the programme.

Teachers have established strong learning partnerships with parents and whānau. Parents have many opportunities to contribute their time, perspectives, knowledge and expertise to learning programmes and the kindergarten environment. Many parents stay for extended periods of time and play alongside their children.

The head teacher provides effective leadership, has high expectations, and inspires high quality professional thinking and practice. She leads a highly collaborative team of teachers who have a strong commitment to research, ongoing professional learning and the kindergarten's philosophy. Leaders and teachers regularly share their knowledge and practice with other kindergartens and international visitors.

Robust inquiry and internal evaluation are used systematically to ensure continuous improvement and improved learning outcomes for children.

The AKA continues to provide support for kindergartens to strengthen bicultural practices. In many instances this has made a significant difference to confidence and capability. Specialist support impacts positively on teachers’ confidence and inclusion of children with additional learning needs. Specific programmes that help teachers to support children’s developing social competencies can now be extended across all kindergartens. The strategic direction being established by new AKA leaders is providing a positive framework for kindergartens’ annual planning.

Key Next Steps

Teachers and AKA leaders agree that to enhance current very good quality programmes, teachers should continue to align their intentional teaching with Reggio Emilia and socio-cultural approaches to teaching and learning.

It would be useful for AKA managers to:

  • clarify new roles and engage teaching teams in the implementation of the new structure across the AKA

  • increase the rigour of monitoring and quality assurance, and strengthen Internal evaluation at all levels of the AKA

  • identify and implement strategies for achieving greater consistency of the practices that are strengths in some kindergartens, across the AKA.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Anchorage Park 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

23 October 2019

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

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5028

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2 years

Service roll

48

Gender composition

Boys 27 Girls 21

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Chinese
other Asian
other ethnic groups

6
10
12
8
12

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

23 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2014

Education Review

October 2011

Education Review

September 2008

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.