Bright Futures Hastings - 26/01/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Bright Futures is a home-based education and care service, offered by the Napier Family Centre (NFC), for children and families in the Hawkes Bay region. Hastings 2 is one of the local networks providing this service. It consists of one visiting teacher and several educarers who each have up to four children placed in their homes. The network was chartered in October 2008 and this is its first ERO review. Associated reports on NFC management and other networks can be found on ERO’s website.

Guiding umbrella documentation gives priority to establishing positive relationships with all concerned in children’s learning and well-being. Expectations emphasise that children’s experiences be provided in safe, secure, nurturing environments that operate according to family values. Management implements the policy that no child requiring the service should be disadvantaged for financial reasons.

Children’s needs and interests are well considered. The visiting teacher places children carefully and conducts frequent home visits to check on their progress and well-being. She works alongside the educarers to assist with programmes and resourcing. She conducts thorough health and safety checks prior to, and throughout, the period of placement.

Children receive varied, good quality care and learning experiences. Each child is welcomed into the educarer’s home and takes part in the family’s daily routines. Learning includes self care, mealtime etiquette, gardening and caring for pets. Homebased experiences are supplemented with regular playgroup sessions and excursions to local facilities. These occasions provide opportunities for adults to support each other and extend children’s horizons and social skills. Over time, children develop a strong sense of belonging and ownership.

Relationships are warm and caring. Adults feel valued. Children feel secure and know they are cared about.

The suggested next development steps for NFC management and Bright Futures are to strengthen processes for communication, planning and quality assurance so that knowledge of intended outcomes for children is formally substantiated with evidence.

Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Bright Futures Hastings 2 was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by Bright Futures Hastings 2 to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the service (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atBright Futures Hastings 2.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children;
  • the learning environment; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

Bright Futures Hastings 2 home-based care is one of many services offered by the Napier Family Centre (NFC) to Hawkes Bay families. It is operated by a visiting teacher who has responsibility for oversight of up to 60 children in homes. The service was chartered in October 2008 and this is its first ERO review. Information for this review was gathered from reading relevant documentation, discussions with management, the visiting teacher and a sample of educarers and children in homes.

Areas of good performance

Programmes

Exploration and learning are child led. Educarers allow children to follow their interests and choose resources from the selection provided. Their independence is nurtured and educarers give support when needed. Documented observations and visual records indicate that children:

  • enjoy a variety of developmentally-appropriate activities and experiences;
  • create their own games using everyday equipment;
  • participate in daily tasks such as baking, gardening and caring for pets;
  • share in experiences outside the home using local facilities; and
  • learn to play cooperatively with peers in other educarers’ homes and the network play group.

Programmes also foster language development, group problem solving and self care. Routines are used to teach children about the need for hygiene, table etiquette and rest. Children’s play in the home is valued and life skills are promoted.

Children’s time is attractively recorded in individual portfolios. Educarers are making good use of technologies to capture moments in time and write brief explanations for parents so that they know about their child’s development. Some entries identify attitudes and skills children show through their involvement activities and continuing themes of interest.

Educarers are conscientiously supported in managing their responsibilities for children and parents. Play group sessions are used to model expected practice. The teacher visits in the homes frequently to observe and discuss children’s progress and any issues or concerns. She writes regular reports to affirm good practice and guide development. Educarers have opportunities to extend their understanding of children’s learning and development through short courses.

Learning Environment

Clear expectations for providing a safe physical and emotional environment are written in guidelines and checklists. Thorough checks are carried out prior to an educarer’s employment and followed up during the home visits. Children practise fire and earthquake drills with educarers. All reasonable steps are taken to protect children’s health and safety.

Educarers present their homes with thought for children’s enjoyment. Equipment and materials are available for their use. These are supplemented or refreshed from the well stocked Bright Futures’ toy library. Children are continuously provided with resources suited to their needs and interests.

The new play group premises are under development. The interior is presented so that children can identify themselves participating in activities and recognise their names. These sessional and home-based experiences are enriched with visits into the wider community to use facilities such as the pool, library, fire station, park and gym. Children were observed to be playing in and using their environments confidently.

Interactions

The NFC values and the Bright Futures’ philosophy emphasise relationships as being key to promoting positive outcomes for children. Interactions between adults are mutually respectful and appreciative. Parents are encouraged to share information about their child’s needs and preferences and make comments in portfolios.

Educarers are warm and loving with children. During the review it was evident that educarers and children know the visiting teacher well and feel comfortable with her presence in the home. The quality of relationships across the network is high.

Areas for development and review

Management operates a high trust model. Many operational processes are informal. It is important that confidence about how well things are going is supported with evidence gathered from quality assurance. In particular this refers to formal, planned processes for:

  • communications with the visiting teacher;
  • regular management/network meetings for learning about and sharing good practice and new ideas;
  • collective self review against agreed success measures to inform the organisational and network development plans;
  • making connections between the guiding principles and goals of the charter, annual goals and self review; and
  • regular reflection and evaluation of progress toward set goals to identify next development steps.

These actions should help to make expectations transparent, to make development a collaboratively owned process and to promote consistency of practice.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Partnerships with Whānau of Māori Children in Early Childhood Services

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • this service understands and values the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau, particularly when the child and whānau transition to the service;
  • managers and educators have built relationships with whānau of Māori children; and
  • this service works in partnership with whānau of Māori children.

Background

Twelve of the 60 children on the roll are identified as Māori by their parents.

Areas of strength

The network operates an open-door policy. The office base is open to the community beyond network members. They are welcome to come for play group sessions, for informal dialogue with the visiting teacher and fellowship. Whānau help on trips, offer kai for celebrations and invite educarers to children’s birthdays. Positive relationships are fostered.

The visiting teacher models and encourages respect for cultural protocols at play group and in the homes. She fosters basic language development in play group sessions through use of books, waiata, greetings and sharing words for colours, numbers and body parts. Te reo Māori was heard to be naturally woven into conversation with the Māori children in care. Some parents wrote key cultural information about their child in the portfolio.

Areas for development and review

A review of the charter intentions to implement policies, plans and objectives that reflect the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua and the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi is timely. This should consider the extent to which the service demonstrates its understanding of the identity of Māori children and their whānau, particularly at times of transition.

4. Management Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the management and staff of Bright Futures Hastings 2 completed an ERO Home-Based CareManagement Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration;
  • health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management; and
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they 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; and
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

In order to improve current practice the Bright Futures management should fully implement an annual appraisal for the visiting teacher to provide ongoing feedback, useful for self review and setting development goals.

5. Recommendations

ERO recommends that:

  • Management implement strategies to address the areas for development and review outlined in this report.

6. Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years.

 

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

 

About the Service

Licence type

Home-Based Care

Chartered under

Education (Home-based Care) Order 1992

Roll number

53

Gender composition

Girls 29,

Boys 24

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 38,

Māori 12,

Indian 2,

Samoan 1

Review team onsite

November 2010

Date of this report

26 January 2011

Previous ERO reports

First review

 

26 January 2011

To the Parents and Community of Bright Futures Hastings 2

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report onBright Futures Hastings 2. Bright Futures is a home-based education and care service, offered by the Napier Family Centre (NFC), for children and families in the Hawkes Bay region. Hastings 2 is one of the local networks providing this service. It consists of one visiting teacher and several educarers who each have up to four children placed in their homes. The network was chartered in October 2008 and this is its first ERO review. Associated reports on NFC management and other networks can be found on ERO’s website.

Guiding umbrella documentation gives priority to establishing positive relationships with all concerned in children’s learning and well-being. Expectations emphasise that children’s experiences be provided in safe, secure, nurturing environments that operate according to family values. Management implements the policy that no child requiring the service should be disadvantaged for financial reasons.

Children’s needs and interests are well considered. The visiting teacher places children carefully and conducts frequent home visits to check on their progress and well-being. She works alongside the educarers to assist with programmes and resourcing. She conducts thorough health and safety checks prior to, and throughout, the period of placement.

Children receive varied, good quality care and learning experiences. Each child is welcomed into the educarer’s home and takes part in the family’s daily routines. Learning includes self care, mealtime etiquette, gardening and caring for pets. Homebased experiences are supplemented with regular playgroup sessions and excursions to local facilities. These occasions provide opportunities for adults to support each other and extend children’s horizons and social skills. Over time, children develop a strong sense of belonging and ownership.

Relationships are warm and caring. Adults feel valued. Children feel secure and know they are cared about.

The suggested next development steps for NFC management and Bright Futures are to strengthen processes for communication, planning and quality assurance so that knowledge of intended outcomes for children is formally substantiated with evidence.

Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood service we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management 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 service or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

 

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

 

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood services; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each service’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

  • Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.
  • Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a service, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.
  • National Evaluation Topics – This strand contribute to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this service has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this service.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a service is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this service.