BestStart Alexandra - 29/04/2020

1 Evaluation of BestStart Alexandra

How well placed is BestStart Alexandra to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

BestStart Alexandra is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

BestStart Alexandra provides all day education and care for 47 children, including 15 up to the age of two. Children are grouped according to age. The Koru group provides for infants and the two older groups (Matau, toddlers and Pikorua, young children) share the same space.

Teachers aim to develop children's life-long love of learning by interweaving a sense of empowerment, respect, belonging and using the environment to support teaching and learning.

Day-to-day operations are led by the centre manager. A BestStart area manager provides business management and professional practice support to leaders and the teaching team. The area manager, centre manager and some staff are new since the June 2016 review. Most staff are qualified early childhood teachers.

The service has made good progress developing a system for children to be regularly planned for as identified in the June 2016 report. Strengthening teacher knowledge in relation to children's identity, culture and language, and integrating Māori perspectives in planning and practices remain next steps.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and engaged in their learning. Teachers know the children well and help them to learn the skills to be a friend and relate well to one another. They purposefully set up the environments for older children to have choice in their learning, explore, stimulate their curiosity, develop their physical skills and engage in creative and imaginative play.

Teachers build children's oral language capabilities through skilful conversations based on their knowledge of children's strengths and interests. They are increasingly incorporating te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into teaching and learning practices. Children attend a weekly kapa haka community group. A next step is to ensure documentation reflects Māori children's language, culture and identity.

Infants benefit from caring and nurturing relationships with their teachers. Teachers provide a calm, unhurried environment where children are seen as confident and competent learners. They regularly share information and discuss care routines with parents and whānau. The indoor and outdoor environments allow infants free movement and invite them to explore, investigate and be curious.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported. Teachers work collaboratively with external agencies to develop useful plans and strategies to enable children to fully participate in learning.

Children of Pacific heritage have some opportunities to hear and share their language and culture. Teachers have identified that a next step is to strengthen how they consistently recognise and respond to children's language, culture and identity within the curriculum.

The quality of assessment and planning for learning is variable. Leaders and teachers are in the early stages of developing shared understandings of effective assessment, planning and evaluation for group and individual learning. Leaders and teachers, in partnership with parents and whānau, should use Te Whāriki to determine curriculum priorities for children's learning and identify learning outcomes and more consistently respond to parent's aspirations.

Leaders and teachers are improvement focused and regularly reflect on practice. A next step is to build internal evaluation capability to evaluate the effectiveness of key aspects of the service's operation that are likely to have the most impact on outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO's evaluation findings, endorsed by service leaders, indicate that next steps to support improvement include:

  • leaders developing and implementing plans to build all teachers understanding and use of effective assessment, planning and evaluation for individual and groups of children

  • consulting with parents to unpack the strands, goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki and identify priorities for children's learning

  • continuing to build high quality internal evaluation capability

  • strengthening aspects of the curriculum that reflect New Zealand's dual heritage.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of BestStart Alexandra 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

29 April 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

Alexandra

Ministry of Education profile number

45256

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

47 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

71

Gender composition

Male 36, Female 35

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Pacific
Other ethnicities

9
54
4
4

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2020

Date of this report

29 April 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

June 2016

Education Review

May 2012

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.