Blue Frog Early Childhood Centre - 10/04/2015

1 Evaluation of Blue Frog Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Blue Frog Early Childhood 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

Blue Frog Early Childhood Centre is located in modernised homely premises on residential Blockhouse Bay Rd in Auckland. The centre provides full day care and education to 61 children, including 20 up to the age of two years. The centre is popular and families speak highly of the services provided by the managers and staff. Flexible options are available but most children attend full time.

The centre has a welcoming administration area that provides safe access to the two spacious open-plan rooms. The infant and toddlers room is well set up with age appropriate resources and the room for older children is similarly well equipped. Both rooms have attractive outdoor areas with a low fence and gate between them that allows children to communicate and, at times, play together. The owners have developed a separate area for older children to have undisturbed rest and sleep.

The centre was established in 2010 and is privately owned and operated. The centre’s 2012 review acknowledged its vision for high quality care and education and well considered philosophy and programme. Planning and assessment practices have continued to develop and the good management systems have been sustained and further improved. The team of qualified teachers and supervisors has also been retained, allowing self review and professional learning to strengthen.

The Review Findings

Teachers develop high quality programmes based on children’s interests and developmental stages. They communicate frequently with parents about infants and toddlers’ routines and care. Babies are nurtured through a primary care-giving approach that enables parents and teachers to respond promptly to changes in their physical and emotional wellbeing. Toddlers are well supported, although managers agree that activities for the younger two year olds could be more challenging.

The centre has high quality resources and equipment. The outdoor areas have been extensively upgraded to provide more challenge and interest for children of all ages. Children confidently access learning activities and have extended times during the day to develop their own creative and imaginative play. Teachers have reduced interruptions to learning time to allow for more sustained and complex play.

The programme promotes learning through play and reflects Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers positively include families of children with special learning needs and celebrate their success. They plan whole group and small group learning sessions each day that encourage children’s interests and learning dispositions. Teachers continue to explore an appropriate balance between teacher-led learning and children-initiated learning through play.

Bicultural and Pacific values are embedded in the programme and in the ethos of the centre. Children and whānau hear te reo Māori and Samoan language spoken by staff and experience an environment that affirms their cultural identity. Respect for tikanga Māori allows all children to enjoy New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. Plans for the implementation of a holistic model of wellbeing based on Te Whare Tapa Whā, are being considered and shared with parents.

Children are confident talkers and communicators and the development of oral language is strongly promoted in the curriculum. Children are encouraged to explore writing skills in the context of play. They enjoy reading, singing and rhymes. Teachers are continuing to explore the use of information and communication technologies to promote children’s interests and understanding of learning.

Parents spoken to by ERO were very satisfied with the services provided. They talked about the excellent communication and information received from the centre. Parents felt that staff respected their children and recognised their cultural backgrounds and home languages. They felt listened to and supported by centre managers. Parents commented about their increased participation with teachers though the e-portfolio assessment approach.

Management systems are a strength of centre operations. Policies and procedures are well developed and communicated clearly to staff and parents. Teachers’ reflections are evident in the new appraisal systems and in the ongoing evaluation of their planning. Strategic and annual planning provides a good framework of goals for self review and ongoing improvement.

Centre managers continue to develop their own leadership and staff management skills. They value the qualities of their highly qualified teaching team and provide purposeful opportunities for professional learning and growth.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers use good planning and self-review systems to identify their own next steps. Priorities they have determined for further development include:

  • relating teacher appraisal goals more closely to outcomes for children
  • strengthening the use of learning dispositions in planning and assessment practices
  • extending bicultural practices in consultation with staff and whānau.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

10 April 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

Blockhouse Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

45284

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

61 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll

92

Gender composition

Boys 56

Girls 36

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Pacifica

other European

other

14

42

12

10

5

5

4

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

10 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

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 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.