Bucklands Beach Kindergarten - 29/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Bucklands Beach Kindergarten

How well placed is Bucklands Beach Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Bucklands Beach Kindergarten is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children. 

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

Background

Bucklands Beach Kindergarten has a history of providing good quality early childhood education for children in the local community. It caters for up to 40 children between 3 and 5 years of age. The Kindergarten Day Model offers six hour days, with 10 places allocated for children to attend mornings only. The four qualified teachers are well supported by a teacher aide, an administrator, and the parent community.

ERO’s 2012 report recognised that relationships, and community and cultural responsiveness were strengths in the kindergarten. Programmes were guided by children’s interests and strengths, and the well presented learning environment was identified as a feature. ERO recommended that teachers strengthen programme planning and documentation, self review and long-term planning. Teachers have addressed these areas well. They have continued to enhance their practice through professional development that has focused on deepening children’s learning and strengthening leadership.

The kindergarten operates as part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association, which provides strategic leadership, a management framework, support personnel and a programme of professional development for teachers.

After extensive review, consultation and development, the Association has recently launched a new 10-year strategic direction. Its four strategic pillars or objectives relate to educational excellence, core organisational processes, community engagement and a future focus. These objectives are intended to guide the Association and its kindergartens in their ongoing development. The Association’s approach to rolling out a substantial change in its organisational structure has been carefully considered.

New Association roles have been established to provide more targeted support for kindergarten operations, curriculum and development. Professional development is planned to support kindergarten head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) is being developed to monitor quality in kindergartens and contribute to self review and ongoing improvement.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children at the kindergarten are viewed by teachers as capable and competent and are very well supported to develop as learners and communicators. Children are confident and articulate and their contributions to discussions and decisions about the programme are valued. Teachers actively promote positive and inclusive social relationships among children and partnership relationships with families. Children and their whānau have a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing in the kindergarten.

A feature of children’s learning is the high level of creativity, thoughtful presentation of art materials and skilled support by teachers in this area. Teachers’ planning and support for children’s literacy, mathematics and science learning is equally purposeful and effective. Children frequently draw and write as they play independently and in small groups. Their stories are recorded in displays and in programme and assessment documentation. Feedback from parents and children also demonstrates the effectiveness of the team’s strong focus on promoting children’s health and wellbeing.

Teachers have carefully considered how to incorporate the Treaty of Waitangi and bicultural practice in the kindergarten and have a genuine understanding of their obligation and commitment. Displays are of a high quality and bicultural practices are embedded in daily programmes. Children enjoy waiata, can talk about Māori mythology and readily incorporate Māori symbols in their art. Parents who spoke to ERO appreciate this aspect of the kindergarten.

The cultures of the surrounding community are also authentically represented in the environment and programmes. Children have good opportunities to engage with aspects of Chinese, Indian and Pacific cultural heritage. Families have supported teachers’ commitment to fostering children’s understanding about cultural diversity. Teachers consider and respond to the learning needs of all children and provide thoughtful, effective support for children to transition to local schools.

The kindergarten environment is richly resourced. Well designed spaces invite children and adults to explore. Very well presented learning stories, individual children’s assessment portfolios and displays prompt children to revisit and build on their prior learning experiences. These displays provide very good information for whānau and other visitors to the kindergarten about the breadth of the early childhood curriculum. They reflect teachers’ commitment to high quality provision for children’s learning.

The head teacher leads a collaborative and cohesive team that has established shared philosophical and theoretical understandings. The depth of teachers’ thinking about their professional practice is evident in well-aligned strategic plans and other documentation. Robust self review is based on research and professional learning. It helps teachers to sustain a focus on improvement and has resulted in several significant developments. Teachers are beginning to develop a culture of critical evaluation of their own practice. They recognise that their teaching responses to children’s emerging interests and children’s contributions to programme planning could be more visible for whānau and children.

Association systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in kindergarten operations are well established. A variety of useful systems and processes supports the teaching team’s self review.

Key Next Steps

Teachers’ strategic thinking and focus on learning are reflected in their plans for enhancing their practice and continually improving programmes for children. Their goals align with the Association’s strategic direction and include:

  • strengthening support for children’s planning and self-directed research
  • sustaining their focus on cultural responsiveness
  • continuing to increase the depth and evaluative rigour of self review
  • fostering leadership capacity amongst the teaching team.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Bucklands Beach 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 Bucklands Beach Kindergarten will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 May 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Bucklands Beach, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5038

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over the age of 2

Service roll

50

Gender composition

Girls 26

Boys 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Pacific

other

1

29

10

2

8

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

March 2015

Date of this report

29 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

April 2012

 

Education Review

May 2009

 

Education Review

May 2006

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.