Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre - 04/03/2015

1. Evaluation of Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre

How well placed is Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre 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

Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre is a well established, purpose built service operating from a spacious semi-rural property in Kerikeri. It caters for children over three years of age. Many children transition to Arohanui from the adjacent Harinui Early Childhood Learning Centre that caters for children under three years of age.

A child-centred philosophy and vision guides and underpins all practices and developments at the centre. The centre philosophy and vision focus strongly on biculturalism and learning in a natural environment where children are encouraged to be explorers, make decisions and actively participate in the centre.

Key features of the centre include utilisation of the natural environment, sustainability and conservation within learning programmes, attractive, expansive child centred outdoor learning areas and the recently developed Ngaherenui wilderness area.

The centre is well managed and developed by the owner. A teaching team of five qualified teachers is well led by the centre supervisor. High staff ratios allow for good quality interactions with children and their parents. The teaching team is committed to supporting children to become independent, capable and confident learners.

The centre has a history of positive ERO reporting. Since the last review the centre has strengthened the self-review process and further enhanced ways that parents and whānau can have an input into children’s learning.

The Review Findings

Children and their whānau are warmly welcomed into the very well resourced centre. A warm, inclusive culture is evident in the centre. Well planned and managed arrival routines help children freely access play equipment and activities, and to settle quickly into self-directed play. Children play well alongside each other and enthusiastically join in group learning activities.

The unhurried pace in the centre and respect that teachers have for the children allows children to express themselves and direct their own learning. Numerous educational trips are a feature of the programme. These visits extend children’s thinking and provide opportunities for children to learn in meaningful contexts and experience their community.

All children demonstrate a clear sense of identity and belonging. Teachers value Māori children’s identity as Māori as the foundation for, and key to, their success as Māori. Bicultural practices are strong. Te reo is naturally interwoven through the programme. Ako and tuakana/teina roles provide children with opportunities to lead and learn waiata and karakia. Centre programmes also develop children’s knowledge and appreciation of other ethnicities and languages.

The high teacher ratio and the centre layout give teachers good opportunities to engage with whānau and to build genuine partnerships with their parent community. Parents express high levels of satisfaction with the centre and the staff. They value the natural learning environment, the positive attitudes of staff and how well the staff support their children’s social development and learning.

Shared leadership and areas of responsibility enable the long serving staff to work well as a collaborative team. Teachers have a deep understanding and strong commitment to the centre philosophy of learning, the children, their whānau and the community they serve.

Staff work hard to build a successful learning community that engages parents in their child’s learning. Teachers share good information about children's learning with parents, through portfolios and three way parent, child, teacher conferences. Leaders and teachers encourage parents to take an active part in learning programmes and family events, such as the establishment of Ngaherenui and an annual family camp. Teachers keep parents well informed about programmes, sharing and explaining the significance of literacy and mathematics and how these activities lay the foundations for future learning.

The programme responds to children’s emerging interests and their individual learning dispositions. Teachers have a sound knowledge of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. They make good use of open-ended questioning that encourages children’s thinking and exploration. Children’s language skills are extended through meaningful contexts and sustained conversations with their teachers.

The centre places emphasis on developing teachers as leaders and the continued professional development of staff. Recent professional learning opportunities for teachers have included literacy and mathematics. Both of the initiatives have influenced teaching and learning in the centre and enhanced learning outcomes for children.

There is a focus on continual improvement. Centre leaders and teachers are reflective practitioners. They regularly critique their own practices and policies to continually improve the learning opportunities for children. Centre leaders ensure that all staff have the opportunity to be involved in self review. The centre plans to continue refining the review process through the introduction of a new self-review format. Parent feedback is regularly sought and utilised in these reviews.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and ERO agree that the next steps for the centre include:

  • supporting the owner as the professional leader with an external appraisal
  • reviewing the teacher appraisal policy to develop a shared teacher understanding of the Registered Teacher Criteria
  • continuing to investigate additional ways that parent feedback and parent voice could be collated for the portfolios.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre 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 Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

4 March 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

Kerikeri, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

10262

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

32 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

37

Gender composition

Girls 21

Boys 16

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

other

5

30

2

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2015

Date of this report

4 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2012

 

Education Review

March 2009

 

Education Review

February 2006

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.