Betty Montford Kindergarten - 09/06/2015

1 Evaluation of Betty Montford Kindergarten

How well placed is Betty Montford Kindergarten 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

Betty Montford Kindergarten, located in Levin, is adjacent to Levin North School. Since the May 2012 ERO report, the kindergarten has made changes to session times to meet community needs. Of the total roll of 64 children, 15 are Māori and two come from Pacific nations. The kindergarten philosophy includes shared beliefs that support children to become competent, confident learners and communicators. Partnerships with parents, whānau and fanau are valued.

Betty Montford Kindergarten is one of 85 kindergartens and three home-based education and care networks governed and managed by He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). This is a new kindergarten association created from joining the Rimutaka and Wellington Kindergarten Associations in 2014. The transition to the new association is expected to be a three-year process.

The board and managers provide governance for the organisation. Senior teachers have delegated kindergartens. Their role is to provide regular support and a range of professional learning and development opportunities for teachers.

All teachers at Betty Montford Kindergarten are qualified and registered. The head teacher has been at the kindergarten for a number of years. Several staffing changes have occurred since the previous ERO report. The kindergarten currently has five permanent fulltime teachers.

The previous ERO report identified at centre level, that assessment, bicultural practices and
self review needed further development. Areas where the Wellington Kindergarten Association needed to strengthen its support for teachers were also identified. Improvement continues to be needed in some of these areas that the association has plans to address. These feature as key next steps in this report. The alignment of individual kindergarten’s annual plans with the association’s strategic priorities has now been appropriately addressed

This review was part of a cluster of 12 reviews in the He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergartens Association Incorporated. 

The Review Findings

Child-initiated, play-based activities form the basis of the programme for the majority of the day. Children select and engage enthusiastically with a range of familiar resources to extend their emerging interests and ideas. These experiences allow children to make choices and lead their own learning.

Teachers are warm and responsive. Children and their families show a positive sense of belonging and teachers know them well. Relationships between staff, parents and whānau are supportive and encouraging. Children play cooperatively in groups of their own choosing. Their independence skills are promoted. Teachers are involved in children’s learning for extended periods of time and have fun together. They provide clear expectations that maintain children’s wellbeing.

Children with additional needs join in all aspects of the programme alongside their peers. They are well supported by teachers and other adults. Teachers are inclusive, and make appropriate use of a variety of successful approaches to meet the needs of all learners.

The head teacher's leadership is responsive to the context of the kindergarten. She encourages a team culture where staff reflect on their teaching to make changes that support children’s learning. ERO observed the new team working collaboratively and communicating well.

Positive connections support smooth transitions to school for children and families. The use of established links to the local community benefits children and their families. A range of opportunities encourages parents and whānau involvement in the life of the kindergarten. Teachers value their input.

In 2012, the association developed a framework to guide the implementation of its curriculum, Te Manawa. This document outlines criteria for curriculum delivery including expectations for assessment and planning for children’s learning. Teachers at Betty Montford kindergarten use a range of positive strategies to support children's interests and ongoing learning. They should continue to strengthen analysis of assessment information to reflect the deepening complexity of children’s learning.

The previous ERO report identified that the association needed to improve the appraisal processes. This continues to require strengthening. A recently revised appraisal model, yet to be implemented, includes: more focused goals that build teacher and leader capability; more regular and targeted feedback and feed forward about teaching practice; and clearer links with the Registered Teacher Criteria.

Senior teachers provide termly written reports that outline agreed development priorities and progress in relation to the quality of teaching and learning. The association has recently implemented new reports that should more deliberately focus on outcomes for children, teacher and leader performance. ERO's evaluation affirms this development.

Children have opportunities to learn about Aotearoa New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Teachers and leaders acknowledge that they should continue to build their capability to be responsive to Māori children’s culture, language and identity. This development should include establishing relationships with mana whenua and making use of Ministry of Education resources such as,
Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners. 

Key Next Steps

The senior teacher, head teacher, teachers and ERO agree on the following key next steps:

  • continuing to develop and improve understandings of self review and evaluation
  • enhancing aspects of assessment for learning
  • extending the bicultural curriculum for all learners; and further promoting ways for Māori to achieve success as Māori, and Pacific learners to achieve success as Pacific.

The senior management team of He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua should continue to improve processes for growing and developing the practice of teachers, head teachers and senior teachers. These should include:

  • improvements to the quality and monitoring of processes to support individual kindergartens and regular implementation of a robust appraisal system
  • building teachers' capability to be more responsive to Māori children's culture, language and identity.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Betty Montford 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. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Betty Montford Kindergarten will be in three years. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 June 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

Levin

Ministry of Education profile number

5553

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged over 2

Service roll

64

Gender composition

Boys 36, Girls 28

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Samoan
Other ethnic groups

15
42
  2
  5

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

9 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012

Education Review

May 2008

Education Review

August 2005

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.