Avondale Kindergarten - 09/10/2019

1 Evaluation of Avondale Kindergarten

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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

Background

Avondale Kindergarten 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. The kindergarten's community is increasingly culturally and socio-economically diverse.

Since the 2016 ERO evaluation, there have been numerous staff changes. In late 2018 a new head teacher was appointed. The head teacher now leads a new teaching team of three qualified full-time teachers.

The kindergarten's philosophy is based on children learning through play and active exploration, and building partnerships with Avondale's multicultural community.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides leadership, a framework of policies and operational guidelines, support personnel and programmes for teachers' 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 their whānau are warmly welcomed on arrival. Calm, unhurried routines help children to settle into self-directed play. Children play in spacious indoor and outdoor learning areas and have many opportunities to make choices about their play. Children enjoy opportunities for physical activity, challenge and exploration in the large outdoor play areas.

Teachers engage in caring interactions that promote children's trust and wellbeing and foster their sense of belonging in the kindergarten. The new teaching team has been responsive to children's behaviour and has implemented programmes to develop social and behavioural skills. They praise, acknowledge and celebrate children's success.

Programme planning is currently being reviewed. Teachers agree their programme planning should now focus more on children's learning. They have identified that strengthening and documenting planning and assessment are priority areas for development. This curriculum work is timely and should assist teachers to:

  • better respond to individual children's strengths, needs and dispositions

  • deepen their learning conversations with children

  • further develop individual children's learning stories, using next learning steps to make planning for individual children more explicit

  • evaluate the effectiveness of programmes in promoting children's learning.

Transitions into kindergarten and on to school are based on children's individual needs and are well managed. Children and their whānau benefit from unhurried and well-planned transitions, and from information that teachers provide for parents about local primary schools.

Teachers have good opportunities to engage with whānau, and to build trust and learning partnerships with parents. Teachers are developing successful ways to re-engage with the community and involve parents in the kindergarten. A parent committee has been re-established and will help to strengthen learning partnerships.

The knowledge and skills that parents and whānau bring to the centre are valued. Leaders and teachers are committed to finding ways for families to contribute to learning programmes and to share their languages and cultures. Teachers use te reo Māori and phrases from children's home languages naturally during the day. Teachers could now make children's cultures more visible within the environment.

The teaching team works collaboratively, and professional relationships are evident. The philosophy has been reviewed and considerable work has been done to re-establish internal evaluation. Inquiry and internal evaluation that has focused on community engagement and communication are now impacting positively on parent involvement.

AKA leaders are supporting a change of head teacher well. 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, the AKA area leader and the curriculum specialist agree that children would benefit by teachers:

  • developing planning that responds more specifically to the interests, strengths, needs and learning dispositions of children

  • using key next learning steps from children's portfolios to more explicitly plan for individual children

  • continuing to enhance ways that children's languages, cultures and identities are evidenced in the environment and programme.

It would be useful for AKA managers to continue to support the new head teacher in her role as a leader and 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 Avondale 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

9 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

Avondale, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5029

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2 years

Service roll

45

Gender composition

Boys 26 Girls 19

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Tongan
other ethnic groups

10
10
7
18

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

9 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2016

Education Review

November 2012

Education Review

February 2010

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.