Discoverys Learning Centre - 25/03/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Discoverys Learning Centre is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

Context

Discoverys Learning Centre is located in Mairangi Bay on Auckland’s North Shore. It provides full day care and education for up to 40 children, including 10 infants and toddlers.

Early in 2012 the ownership of the centre changed from co-ownership to sole ownership. The new owner sought external advice in developing effective systems for managing the centre and its personnel. An early childhood management company now manages the operations of the centre and supports the centre manager in decision making.

The centre owner has a clear vision and goals for the centre. She is focused on enhancing the capability of the teaching team to provide programmes that reflect the centre’s philosophy of responding to the unlimited potential of each child. Centre staffing has been restructured and it now employs predominantly qualified early childhood staff. The management company provides a programme of advice and guidance for newly qualified provisionally registered teachers.

Review Findings

Children are happy and engaged in the centre programme. They approach each other and adults confidently. Children chose their own activities and select additional resources to support their play. Teachers’ positive guidance strategies contribute to the secure and calm environment that surrounds children’s learning and play.

The programme responds well to children’s cultural identities, including that of Māori children. Teachers’ cultural backgrounds reflect those of the families attending. Some teachers are able to communicate with children and their families in their first language. This is particularly so for Chinese families. These teachers are highly skilled at promoting children’s language development and the good skills they demonstrate could now be used to build the capabilities of all staff.

The layout of the physical environment has been improved since the 2009 ERO review. The babies’ room has been relocated and now caters better for their developmental stages. For example, they have provided safe places for younger, non-mobile infants and more adventurous spaces for those just developing their walking skills.

Professional development has helped teachers to develop more useful systems for assessing children’s learning and planning a programme that is differentiated for ages and stages of development. Children up to the age of two are planned and catered for individually and are very well served by this approach. Planning for over two year olds could also reflect this individual focus.

The centre owner has also identified the need for further professional development to help staff build their understanding of what an effective curriculum for infants, toddlers and young children looks like in practice. At present teachers do not always recognise opportunities to extend and challenge children’s thinking. Children could be better supported to direct their own learning, solve their own problems and become inquiring learners.

Effective policies and procedures are now in place. Sound strategic planning guides the management of the centre and its direction. Very good self-review processes are in place to ensure accountability and ongoing improvement.

The owner and manager agree that useful next steps for the centre include the owner, manager and teachers working together to:

  • review the centre philosophy and document this as teaching guidelines to promote consistency in teaching practice
  • provide more professional learning and development focused on stimulating children’s imaginative, creative and complex play
  • strengthen programme evaluations to ensure they include in-depth reflection on how well teaching practices help children to achieve their learning goals
  • revise the appraisal process to include cultural competencies and implement this process with urgency for all staff.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Discoverys 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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

25 March 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Mairangi Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10276

Licence type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2 years

Service roll

23

Gender composition

Boys 12 Girls 11

Ethnic composition

NZ European/ Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Korean

African

Japanese

9

1

9

2

1

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Exceeds minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:8

Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

25 March 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2009 

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.