Building Blocks 2 - 14/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Building Blocks 2

How well placed is Building Blocks 2 to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Building Blocks 2 is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Building Blocks 2 is a privately owned Homebased Education and Care Service based in Palmerston North. The service has two networks.

Day-to-day organisation and oversight for this network are shared by the director, a lead coordinator and two other coordinators who oversee the teaching and learning programmes and environments provided for children in educators' homes.

The service is licensed for 80 children up to five years of age, for seven days a week. At the time of the review there were 66 children enrolled. Of these, 23 children identify as Māori. The in-home educators represent a range of different cultures.

The services vision is "Laugh, Learn, Play today for a stronger tomorrow." The philosophy emphasises that successful learning starts in a home environment and grows from respectful relationships with whānau, children and the wider community.

This is the first ERO report for Building Blocks 2.

The Review Findings

Families and educators are carefully matched to support children’s wellbeing. Communication with parents is well facilitated through a variety of methods. Whānau are regularly informed about children’s participation and aspects of their learning. There is a continued focus on developing strong and purposeful relationships with families. A recently introduced online platform should further support the emerging partnerships. There has been a focus on building a shared understanding of te ao Māori using external expertise. A current review is focused on making more authentic connections to families’ cultures, languages, backgrounds and their aspirations for their children’s learning.

Children enjoy ample opportunities to participate in a wide range of learning experiences in educators’ homes. Many attend the services organised playgroups which includes music and dance sessions and provides opportunities to socialise with their peers. Excursions into the community enrich the learning programme.

Infant and toddlers are well supported to engage with other children. A communication book provides useful information for families about their child’s day.

An inclusive environment is strongly promoted. Infants and children with additional learning needs are well supported to participate fully in the in-home curriculum. Coordinators have access to a range of information and knowledge, including external agencies to support educators practice.

The services philosophy has been recently refreshed in collaboration with educators and whānau. It emphasises the importance of a child-centred curriculum, relationships, environments, leadership and lifelong learning. Elements of these are evident in practice.

Educators are purposefully supported to provide suitable learning experiences in response to children's emerging interests. Foundation of learning documents and children's journals outline their participation and interests, and are regularly shared with parents. The quality of educators' planning for children's learning across the network is variable. A next step is to make planning more intentional to support children to meet their learning goals and more clearly document learner progress over time. Coordinators should continue to support educators' to more effectively:

  • respond to parent feedback to support learning and use this in planning to reflect parents aspirations for their child
  • reflect children's cultures, languages and identities in learning records
  • provide ongoing opportunities for children to reflect on and revisit their learning.

Transition into and out of the service is carefully considered in collaboration with parents. Coordinators are exploring ways to further promote a shared understanding of best practice for transition to primary school. Links with the Fielding Kāhui Ako is providing opportunities for coordinators to make connections and share information with other local early childhood services and schools.

Staff and educators are well supported through induction and ongoing training. Management provides professional learning opportunities for coordinators and educators that responds to their individual needs to improve practice. Coaching educators to improve the quality of their in home programmes through better understanding and use of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and implementing effective strategies is ongoing.

A useful appraisal process is in place to support educator and coordinator development and meet accountabilities. Regular formal observations of practice and constructive feedback that enables deeper reflection on practice is a next step.

Reviews undertaken have led to improved outcomes for children. The service has developed a new internal evaluation framework, however further work is needed to deepen leaders understanding and use of internal evaluation to better inform decision making about improvement. 

A well-organised management framework supports operation and practice. Systems and processes are in place to provide assurance that resources and environments are safe for learners and their families. A comprehensive range of guidelines enables coordinators and educators to successfully undertake their roles. Strategic planning identifies service priorities for development over time and guides service operation. Further defining child outcomes in the strategic plan and using these to measure progress in meeting service goals should better provide information about the effectiveness of their systems, practices and processes. 

Key Next Steps

Priorities for the network coordinators is to continue to strengthen educator practice in:

  • assessing children's learning
  • planning and implementing Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum in the in home programmes
  • developing a bicultural curriculum.

At governance and management level priorities are to:

  • use the success indicators identified in the strategic intent to measure progress in relation to child outcomes
  • embed all aspects of the appraisal process
  • deepen their understanding of internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Building Blocks 2 completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 Building Blocks 2 will be in three years.

Phil Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services Central
Central Region

14 February 2019 

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 Home-based Education and Care Service

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

47232

Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll

66

Standard or Quality Funded

Standard

Gender composition

Boys 35, Girls 31

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

23
31
12

Number of qualified coordinators in the network

3

Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2

1:2

Over 2

1:4

Review team on site

January 2019

Date of this report

14 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

 

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.