Buttercups Early Learning Centre - 14/11/2017

1 Evaluation of Buttercups Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Buttercups Early Learning 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

Buttercups Early Learning Centre is a privately owned, all-day education and care service, located in Pukekohe. The centre is licensed for 75 children, including a maximum of 16 under two years of age. The current roll is 85, and 12 children are identified as Māori. The roll has increased significantly since the 2014 ERO review. Children under two years of age have a separate indoor and outdoor space, while toddlers and preschoolers have separate indoor areas and share an outdoor space.

In May 2016, the centre was purchased by new owners, Provincial Childcare Holdings Ltd (PCH), who provide a team of personnel with oversight of governance matters and professional leadership. A new centre manager with responsibility for daily operations was appointed in November 2016. Two team leaders and a number of teachers have been appointed this year. The centre retains a high proportion of qualified staff, some of whom are of Māori descent.

The centre philosophy places emphasis on partnership as a foundation for respectful, trusting relationships. Teachers value parents as their child’s first teacher and aim to deliver a curriculum that aligns with whānau aspirations, promoting each child to reach their full potential.

Staff and ownership changes have had some impact on the extent to which areas for development identified in ERO’s 2014 report have been addressed. The centre has made good progress in further developing bicultural practices. Meal times and children's self-management skills have been reviewed and adjustments made to practices. A separate area for toddlers has been created to better cater for their stage of development.

The Review Findings

Teachers know children and their parents well and warmly welcome them to the centre. Friendships are evident between children, and they play well with and alongside their peers. Children regularly engage in self-initiated group activities and enjoy imaginative play. They confidently communicate with adults and peers, and tuakana teina relationships are enabling them to support the learning of others. Positive relationships amongst teachers, children and parents effectively support children’s sense of wellbeing and belonging.

The principles of notice, recognise and respond are contributing to teachers' planning, assessment and evaluation processes. The programme combines child-initiated play and teacher-led activities. Planned activities for toddlers and young children, based on group interests, effectively broaden and extend learning. Significant cultural events are celebrated, with opportunities for parents to participate. Children are developing as confident learners as they engage in a range of activities.

Children under two years of age benefit from positive, nurturing relationships with teachers and consistency between home and centre routines. Teachers' planning is responsive to individual children and the programme seeks to develop self-management, physical and language skills. Children and parents are well supported during transitions, with extended time to build familiarity within the new environment. Leaders have identified the need to extend the physical environment and to continue building teachers' shared understandings of effective practice when working with babies and toddlers.

A teacher with strength in te ao Māori is providing useful modelling, support and guidance for other staff. Children and teachers are enjoying learning and sharing waiata, implementing tikanga practices such as karakia kai, and are growing in confidence to use some te reo Māori in meaningful contexts. Children and their families from other cultures are also well supported by a Hindi speaking teacher. Inclusive practices are increasingly acknowledging children’s language, culture and identity.

The new manager is successfully building relational trust with staff and families. She has developed a collaborative team with a commitment to improving outcomes for children. Regular self review, both spontaneous and longer term, is resulting in improvements in management in each area of the centre. Parent voice is included and valued. An effective appraisal process is contributing to improving teachers' practice. This improved management is making a positive difference to the centre.

Key Next Steps

A key next step is that the senior management at Provisional Childcare ensure the centre manager has sufficient professional support and designated time to consolidate her role as the professional leader of the centre.

Centre leaders and ERO agree priority should also be given to building a shared understanding of effective teaching strategies that promote sustained engagement of children in meaningful, authentic learning.

Areas to strengthen are:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation including meaningful integration of literacy and mathematics, appropriate to children's stages of development

  • teaching as inquiry

  • strategic planning of resources and equipment

  • effective use of the centre environment to support best outcomes for children

  • greater inclusion of excursions and trips in order to use the community as an additional resource, including local contexts.

Recommendation

ERO requires the centre to develop an action plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Buttercups Early Learning 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 Buttercups Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

14 November 2017

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

Pukekohe

Ministry of Education profile number

46059

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll

85

Gender composition

Boys 43 Girls 42

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other Pacific
Other

12
45
8
20

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

14 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2014

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.