Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre - 20/04/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre is a well established service on a spacious semi-rural property in Kerikeri. The centre mainly caters for children over three years of age and operates in conjunction with the adjacent Harinui Early Childhood Learning Centre for children under three. Effective management and leadership, and respectful relationships continue to be features of the centre. Very good professional support for staff has resulted in minimal staffing changes and a high proportion of qualified teachers. These factors make a significant contribution to positive learning outcomes for children.

Children are confident, independent learners and communicators. They benefit from long periods of uninterrupted play and trust adults to support their interests. Teachers’ belief in children as competent learners enables them to take learning risks, engage in challenging tasks and learn leadership skills. Children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging are nurtured through positive transitions and care routines and tuakana/teina relationships between children encourage friendships.

Skilful teachers communicate and support each other very well. They are responsive to children’s individual and group interests, using humour, questions and close listening to prompt children’s investigations and problem solving. Teachers develop programmes to enhance children’s learning dispositions and encourage them to be aware of conservation issues. Tikanga and te reo Māori are integrated throughout programmes resulting in children competently leading waiata and karakia and developing an understanding of te reo.

The centre is an appealing learning environment for children. Play areas invite children’s exploration and provide opportunities for them to use open-ended and natural resources in flexible ways.

Centre leaders and teachers are reflective practitioners who regularly review their practices with a focus on further improving in the quality of learning for children. They agree that a priority for development is strengthening the documentation of self review and strategic planning.

Future Action

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

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive outcomes for children. To reach these findings ERO evaluates:

  • Mana Whakahaere – how governance and management determines the services’ vision/philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pouārahi – how the leadership and capability of all involved, including educators, enhances positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is implemented to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning reflect diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of partnerships with whānau and self review. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre.

How well placed is Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre to promote positive outcomes for children?

Background

The centre has a history of providing very good quality learning experiences for children, stable staffing and a challenging learning environment. These elements continue to be features of the service.

Since the 2009 ERO review teachers have participated in a wide range of professional development opportunities that have shifted their focus for planning programmes to children’s individual learning dispositions.

Teachers have continued to explore Reggio Emilia philosophies and are fostering children’s awareness of conservation and sustainability issues. This has contributed to the establishment of a large wilderness area becoming the focus for development in 2012.

Areas of strength

Leadership. The unobtrusive leadership of the licensee and the senior teachers foster a centre culture and philosophy that contribute to positive outcomes for children. Key features of their successful approach include:

  • well-established systems for management and centre operations
  • highly collaborative leadership and teaching teams
  • recognition of, and support for, teachers’ individual strengths and interests
  • a strong culture of reflective practice focused on improving the quality of learning for children.

Relationships. Centre leaders and teachers recognise that positive relationships are crucial to establishing an environment where children enthusiastically engage in learning. Meaningful relationships are fostered by:

  • a welcoming environment that acknowledges tikanga Māori
  • multiple systems to inform parents and engage them in their child’s learning
  • high levels of effective communication and trust between staff and between adults and children
  • effective transition and settling strategies for children
  • a shared belief in the centre philosophy for teaching and learning.

The centre culture of trust, respect and valuing differences is clearly visible and known to all.

Teaching and learning. Teachers value the individuality of children and the strengths they bring to the programme. Children’s home life experiences and learning styles are important features of programme development. Programmes for children reflect:

  • teachers’ deep knowledge of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum
  • a strong focus on children’s learning dispositions
  • a significant Māori content, including positive integration of te reo Māori
  • opportunities for children to work together on sustained group projects
  • literacy and numeracy learning in meaningful contexts
  • assessment practices that effectively track children’s progress as independent learners.

Teachers are now considering ways to further include families/whānau in their processes for developing the programme.

Outcomes for children. Parents are very enthusiastic about their children’s achievement at Arohanui. Influences on the extensive benefits for children include:

  • teachers who are warm respectful listeners who follow children’s ideas and motivate them with challenging tasks
  • a relaxed atmosphere where humour is shared and tasks are unrushed
  • tuakana/teina roles that enable children to lead and learn waiata and karakia
  • a rich learning environment where challenging resources can be used in flexible ways
  • assessment portfolios that reflect children’s personalities, involvement in the programme and their strengths

As a result children are highly confident with a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing. They are competent communicators who are imaginative in their play and willingly take learning risks.

Areas for development and review

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

  • updating the strategic plan to sustain guidance for centre development
  • extending the depth and documentation of self-review processes
  • continuing to invite parents/whānau input into children’s learning and assessment
  • helping children to identify their own learning goals and monitoring their progress toward achieving these outcomes.

In addition centre leaders recognise the important role they have in fostering positive outcomes for Māori children. The licensee and senior teachers demonstrate a strong commitment to tikanga whakaako and te reo Māori. They now plan to establish specific strategic goals focused on engaging whānau and helping Māori children achieve their potential.

3. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre completed an ERO Centre Management 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:

  • 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.

4. Recommendations

ERO and the centre leaders agree that:

  1. centre leaders and teachers should strengthen the documentation of their self review processes
  2. teachers should encourage children to develop and assess their own learning goals.

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

32 children over two years of age

Roll number

42

Gender composition

Boys 28

Girls 14

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 30,

Māori 8,

other European 4

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

20 April 2012

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review, March 2009

Education Review, February 2006

Education Review, February 2003

To the Parents and Community of Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre.

Arohanui Early Childhood Learning Centre is a well established service on a spacious semi-rural property in Kerikeri. The centre mainly caters for children over three years of age and operates in conjunction with the adjacent Harinui Early Childhood Learning Centre for children under three. Effective management and leadership, and respectful relationships continue to be features of the centre. Very good professional support for staff has resulted in minimal staffing changes and a high proportion of qualified teachers. These factors make a significant contribution to positive learning outcomes for children.

Children are confident, independent learners and communicators. They benefit from long periods of uninterrupted play and trust adults to support their interests. Teachers’ belief in children as competent learners enables them to take learning risks, engage in challenging tasks and learn leadership skills. Children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging are nurtured through positive transitions and care routines and tuakana/teina relationships between children encourage friendships.

Skilful teachers communicate and support each other very well. They are responsive to children’s individual and group interests, using humour, questions and close listening to prompt children’s investigations and problem solving. Teachers develop programmes to enhance children’s learning dispositions and encourage them to be aware of conservation issues. Tikanga and te reo Māori are integrated throughout programmes resulting in children competently leading waiata and karakia and developing an understanding of te reo.

The centre is an appealing learning environment for children. Play areas invite children’s exploration and provide opportunities for them to use open-ended and natural resources in flexible ways.

Centre leaders and teachers are reflective practitioners who regularly review their practices with a focus on further improving in the quality of learning for children. They agree that a priority for development is strengthening the documentation of self review and strategic planning.

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)