Cambridge Road Community Kindergarten - 12/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Cambridge Road Community Kindergarten

How well placed is Cambridge Road Community Kindergarten 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

Cambridge Road Community Kindergarten is a well-established, purpose-built kindergarten located in Hamilton, adjacent to Hillcrest Normal School. It is governed as an incorporated society by an elected parent committee that includes the head teacher/licensee. The service is licensed for 20 children over 2 years of age. At the time of this ERO review, there were 31 children on the roll, including 5 identified as Māori.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the kindergarten has responded to parent needs by offering more flexible hours of opening for older children. It has also increased the visibility of the kindergarten in the local and wider community. The outside play area has been extensively redeveloped and the presentation of the indoor environment has been enhanced. The appointment of a new teacher is providing additional skills and knowledge for the teaching team.

The committee and teachers have responded positively to the areas for review and development identified in the 2012 ERO review. They have continued to build teacher capability in assessment and planning, and strengthened relationships with parents.

The dedicated and capable governance committee supports the head teacher in her leadership role and contributes to decision making and financial stability. A useful strategic and annual plan provides guidance for kindergarten direction, and enables progress to be tracked and monitored in relation to the goals. The kindergarten philosophy reflects the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, and aims to support children to become confident communicators with a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing in a positive learning culture.

The Review Findings

Children are actively involved in sustained independent and cooperative play. They benefit from highly effective interactions with their teachers who support and extend their play and exploration. Children lead and initiate learning and play. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and ownership of the environment. Teachers listen to, and are highly responsive to children’s suggestions, interests and preferences. They use questions and provocations to encourage children to inquire into and investigate the world around them. Teachers effectively model and develop children’s oral language and extend their communications skills.

Children and their parents/whānau contribute to the centre programme through their participation in a wide range of learning experiences such as regular visits to a local native bush area, storytelling, preparing ethnic foods, and joining in celebrations and events.

Particular strengths of the curriculum include:

  • opportunities for challenging physical play and ‘hands on’ authentic learning
  • a deeper focus on science, nature, and topics of interest such as the human body
  • a wide range of creative and sensory experiences using different media
  • rich opportunities to experience literacy and mathematics learning through books, puzzles, writing and drawing materials, and appropriate resources.

Teachers use an appropriate range of strategies to develop children’s social skills and encourage them to take increasing responsibility for the wellbeing of themselves, others and their environment. Children with special learning requirements are supported to participate actively in the programme.

Children and their parents/whānau have access to well-presented portfolios that record their learning and progress at the kindergarten. Children revisit their learning in these, and in the readily available books that record sustained group learning experiences. Teachers use information and aspirations from parents, together with the children’s learning stories, to respond intentionally to children’s learning journeys.

The committee and teachers use a variety of self-review initiatives to continually improve kindergarten systems and processes in order to promote successful outcomes for children. A recent example has been a review that has resulted in a successful and supportive transition-to-school programme.

Teachers have been involved in individual professional learning and development and are now undertaking in-depth curriculum review about science and the natural world. They work collaboratively and collegially. An appraisal process has been recently developed in line with Education Council requirements. This process now needs to be clearly documented and evaluated.

An experienced head teacher guides the development and improvement of the kindergarten. She encourages others to contribute their ideas and skills and has responded to parent wishes and needs. With the support of the office administrator, the head teacher skilfully manages the kindergarten operations and regularly meets with and reports to the parent committee. The committee is well led by a knowledgeable chairperson. Together with the vice chairperson and treasurer, they provide effective support for the head teacher and staff. This includes help with the employment of new staff, overseeing the finances and property development and maintenance, and reviewing polices. There is effective communication amongst committee members and staff, and with parents and the wider community.

Key Next Steps

The kindergarten leader and ERO agree that areas for future growth include:

  • continuing to explore ways to reflect children’s language, culture and identity in documentation and the kindergarten environment
  • continuing to review and develop systems, processes and documentation to reflect kindergarten priorities, show decision-making, actions and evaluations, and ensure alignment between all aspects of practice
  • seeking external advice and guidance to grow professional leadership and capability within the team to build sustainability.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Cambridge Road Community 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 Cambridge Road Community Kindergarten will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 January 2016

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

Cambridge

Ministry of Education profile number

34003

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, including up to 032 aged under 2

Service roll

32

Gender composition

Girls 17 Boys 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

Indian

Other

5

18

3

3

2

1

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

October 2015

Date of this report

12 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012

 

Education Review

January 2010

 

Education Review

December 2004

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.