Bubbles New Plymouth Infant & Toddlers Centre - 14/12/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Bubbles New Plymouth Infant & Toddlers Centre provides all day education and care, five days a week, for children up to two years of age. The centre is one of six operating under a single management umbrella. This centre and two adjoining are located in central New Plymouth. Bubbles management also operate two centres in Bell Block and another in Waitara.

The centre philosophy, that recognises a calm and caring environment and relationships built on trust are essential for learning, is evident in practice. Children’s emotional and physical well-being is at the heart of warm teacher and child interactions. Teachers affirm and respect each child’s needs and interests.

Parents are welcomed and feel comfortable in the centre, able to settle their infants and to join in play. Children appear happy, relaxed, settled and confident.

The newly refurbished interior and outdoor learning area are attractive and well resourced, encouraging children’s curiosity, active investigation and discovery. Children enjoy being alongside each other, in social groups with adults or in their own space.

Transition for children and their families into the service and on to the Junior Centre is thoughtfully managed. Teachers attempt to incorporate te reo Māori in daily routines and conversations. This is an area for further development.

The service-wide focus on strengthening educational leadership and self review is appropriate. Developing an effective framework that gives priority to centre development, monitoring progress and improving teaching should further enhance outcomes for children.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Bubbles Infant was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre 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 centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atBubbles Infant .

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.

In addition, ERO decided to evaluate:

  • safe and inclusive culture;
  • curriculum design and review; and
  • sustainable performance.

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

The Quality of Education

Background

Since the May 2008 ERO report external support has been sourced to assist in redefining curriculum priorities. Educators use Te Whāriki to guide teaching and learning. The curriculum includes programmes of learning and experiences that focus on language and languages, mathematics, science, technologies, social sciences, the arts and health and well-being. These aspects of the curriculum continue to be part of the current, programme-planning review.

Developing assessment and planning practice has been an ongoing focus, emulating strategies set out in Kei Tua o te Pae, the early childhood exemplars. Supporting children’s developing literacy is also a consideration in strengthening teaching and planning.

The overarching Bubbles philosophy guides decision-making and provides a framework for consistent practice across centres. Teaching teams are currently reviewing individual centre philosophies and developing a shared understanding for effective teaching and learning, appropriate to each age group. ERO agrees this is a priority.

Areas of strength

  • Interactions

Children are seen as competent, able to manage many tasks and to make decisions. They have opportunities to learn through exploration, practising and trying new activities. Relationships among the children and with adults are warm, responsive and cooperative. Teachers encourage social development with high quality one to one engagement.

The environment continues to be enhanced with resources and spaces purposefully designed for the age group. Teachers know each child well and notice and respond to their individual needs. Children relate comfortably with adults.

  • Curriculum design and review

The strands of Te Whāriki appropriately underpin the programme. Infants and toddlers are able to explore the environment and choose from materials to manipulate and investigate. Teachers’ conversations give meaning to learning. They model language and are skilled at responding to non-verbal communication.

Routines are flexible and unhurried. Infants’ natural patterns, for sleeping and eating, are followed. Independence is fostered and children have time to manage their own activities and to persevere.

Children access and choose to look at their portfolios. These records show their physical, social and language development and include parents’ contributions. Teachers engage with each other and with parents on a daily basis to assess children’s needs and to share knowledge of learning.

  • Sustainable performance

Collaborative practice is evident within this team and in their relationships with parents. Generic policies and guidelines assist the centre’s smooth operation and consistency across the service. Values and philosophy are shared. Adult practice in health and safety promotes children’s well-being and sense of belonging.

Areas for development and review

  • Capability in teaching and self review

While processes are in place to improve the quality and consistency of teaching, initiatives have, so far, not brought about the desired change. Developing an in-depth understanding of evidence-based self review, including better knowledge of teacher inquiry, is likely to improve teaching and consequently, children’s engagement, learning and progress. ERO agrees that reviewing the advice and guidance programmes for provisionally registered teachers and strengthening teacher appraisal should better identify individual teachers’ development needs.

Teachers continue to inquire into the effectiveness of programmes, planning and assessment. ERO’s external evaluation found that assessment and programme evaluation needs strengthening and agrees that review is a priority.

Centre leaders appropriately identify increasing teachers’ confidence in te reo Māori to better reflect the bicultural nature of Te Whāriki as a next step. Developing shared understanding of Māori children and their culture as unique, should enhance adult practice. Including Māori perspectives and knowledge in the curriculum should strengthen learning opportunities for Māori and for all children.

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.

Inclusion of children with moderate to severe special needs

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

  • transitions ensure the continuing well-being, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

There are no children with moderate to severe special needs currently or recently enrolled in this centre.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Bubbles Infant completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have 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 looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that 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.

5. Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

About the Centre

Type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, aged under 2

Roll number

22

Gender composition

Girls 11,

Boys 11

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 20,

Māori 1,

Asian 1

Review team on site

August 2011

Date of this report

14 December 2011

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review May 2008

 

14 December 2011

To the Parents and Community of Bubbles Infant

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Bubbles Infant .

Bubbles New Plymouth Infants and Toddlers provides all day education and care, five days a week, for children up to two years of age. The centre is one of six operating under a single management umbrella. This centre and two adjoining are located in central New Plymouth. Bubbles management also operate two centres in Bell Block and another in Waitara.

The centre philosophy, that recognises a calm and caring environment and relationships built on trust are essential for learning, is evident in practice. Children’s emotional and physical well-being is at the heart of warm teacher and child interactions. Teachers affirm and respect each child’s needs and interests.

Parents are welcomed and feel comfortable in the centre, able to settle their infants and to join in play. Children appear happy, relaxed, settled and confident.

The newly refurbished interior and outdoor learning area are attractive and well resourced, encouraging children’s curiosity, active investigation and discovery. Children enjoy being alongside each other, in social groups with adults or in their own space.

Transition for children and their families into the service and on to the Junior Centre is thoughtfully managed. Teachers attempt to incorporate te reo Māori in daily routines and conversations. This is an area for further development.

The service-wide focus on strengthening educational leadership and self review is appropriate. Developing an effective framework for prioritising centre development, monitoring progress and improving teaching should further enhance outcomes for children.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person 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 centre or see the ERO website, http://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 centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’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 centre may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.
  • National Evaluation Topics – This strand contributes 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 centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre 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 centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre 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 centre.