Cromwell Early Learning Centre Inc - 31/01/2019

1 Evaluation of Cromwell Early Learning Centre Inc

How well placed is Cromwell Early Learning Centre Inc to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Cromwell Early Learning Centre Inc is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Cromwell Early Learning Centre Inc is a community-run early learning service for children from two years to school age. It is licensed for up to 40 children and offers an all-day service. Children learn in a mixed-age environment.

Through its curriculum and teaching practices, teachers aim to support children to develop respectful relationships (with self, others and the environment), creative and critical thinking skills, resilience, independence and a sense of individual, family and cultural identity. They seek to achieve this through:

  • positive, reciprocal relationships with children
  • child-led and play-based learning
  • provision of a bicultural curriculum
  • culturally responsive practices.

The service is governed by a parent committee and led by a centre manager, supported by an assistant head teacher. The centre manager is new since the service's last ERO review (2015). The service has made very good progress in addressing the areas identified for improvement in its last ERO review.

The service is a member of the Kāhui Ako o Ngā Awanui |Community of Learning (CoL).

Children benefit from a responsive, inclusive, child-centred curriculum that effectively promotes the service's intended learning outcomes. Clear curriculum priorities have been developed collaboratively with children, families, whānau, community and staff. These are beginning to meaningfully guide planning, programme delivery and evaluation. Children's and their families' interests, ideas and cultural identities are the basis of curriculum planning. Children are encouraged and supported to make decisions about what and how they learn. Teachers have built their capability to support oral language development for all children in response to community needs. Younger children are well supported by teachers and older children to fully participate in the centre's learning programme.

The spacious, well-resourced indoor and outdoor learning environments are very well used to promote children's engagement and learning. Children are actively involved in decisions about the development and setting up of these areas. Their ideas are quickly responded to and teachers work closely with children and families to put their ideas into action. As a result, children willingly take responsibility for the care and upkeep of their environment and the animals, gardens and natural resources within it. Teachers thoughtfully arrange the environment to promote children's curiosity, and provide opportunities for them to explore and develop their understandings about the world.

Teachers know children very well as individuals and learners. They have strengthened their practices for getting to know children and their families. This has improved their ability to make links between children's lives beyond the centre and their learning in the centre. They use this deeper understanding of children to help plan meaningful experiences to enhance and extend children's learning, and to recognise and affirm all children's identities and dispositions.

The new centre manager is providing strong and effective leadership for learning. Together with committee members and teachers she is building the systems, processes and practices that support positive outcomes for children. These have included development of:

  • a new strategic framework to guide the centre's direction and development

  • a unique curriculum that identifies the learning priorities of children, families, community and teachers

  • a collaborative team culture at all levels of centre operation

  • leadership for teachers and effective teacher appraisal processes

  • a culture of critical inquiry and internal evaluation capability

  • partnerships for learning with parents, community organisations and the local education sector.

The governing committee is committed to ensuring the sustainability of the centre and the provision of high quality early learning experiences. To enable this the committee has reviewed and updated its governance manual to better support new committee members, and worked constructively with the centre manager and staff to develop the centre's strategic documents.

Key Next Steps

The centre manager and teachers have developed guidelines and shared understandings of effective assessment and planning for individuals and groups of children. They are developing processes to evaluate the quality, consistency and effectiveness of these practices. The next step is to complete and embed these new processes and practices, and use them to refine reporting to the governance committee.

The governance committee has recently reviewed and updated its policy and procedure framework. It is now timely to develop a schedule that shows how policies and procedures will be reviewed over time. They should also ensure that policies and procedures are reviewed to ensure they are compliant with any changes in legal requirements.

The governance committee needs to ensure that the centre manager has a current performance agreement and is participating in meaningful professional appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

31 January 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 Early Childhood Service

Location

Cromwell

Ministry of Education profile number

80037

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2 years

Service roll

56

Gender composition

Girls: 31

Boys: 25

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnicities

12
37
7

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2018

Date of this report

31 January 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

January 2012

Education Review

August 2008

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.