Douglas St Early Learning Centre - 28/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Douglas St Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Douglas St Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Douglas St Early Learning Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Douglas Street Early Learning Centre is located in Whakatane and provides education and care for children from birth to school age. The centre is locally known as Little Orchards Douglas Street. The four rooms known as Kea, Pounamu, Kōwhai and Pohutakawa constitutes one of two Douglas Street licences on the same site. The centre is licensed for up to 75 children, including 28 aged up to two years. At the time of this ERO review the centre had a total roll of 131 children, including 66 of Māori descent.

In November 2017 the service changed ownership. It now operates under the company Provincial Education Group Ltd, which sets the vision for all its centres. The management structure includes two company directors, an operation’s manager and an education manager who oversees the quality of education and care across 50 centres. They are supported by a large team of regional managers and support staff.

The centre manager began her role in November 2018. She oversees both licences on the Douglas Street premises and the nearby Little Orchards McGarvey Road centre. There have been significant changes in personnel and leadership since the last ERO review in 2016.

Ngā amorangi whakaahuatanga hei kōkiri i te mātauranga momoho o te wāheke – transformative leaders driving education success is the vision for the organisation. The core values of whānau, respect, adventure and passion underpin the centre’s philosophy. The aim of Douglas Street Early Learning Centre is to create a home-like environment that reflects the unique natural surroundings and stimulates learning through a wide range of positive experiences.

The areas identified in the 2016 ERO report for improvement in appraisal, local curriculum, partnerships with parents, daily transitions, and self review have recently been reviewed.

The Review Findings

Children play and learn independently, and know and understand their environment well. Equitable access to learning opportunities and experiences is a priority for the leaders and teachers. Creativity and problem solving are actively encouraged through play. Children are provided with feedback that affirms their successes. Positive interactions and nurturing relationships with children and whānau support their sense of belonging and security.

An inclusive culture celebrates and acknowledges children's diverse needs. Teachers work alongside parents and agencies to plan and implement meaningful experiences and strategies. Children with additional needs fully participate and engage in the programme for learning.

Responsive caregiving contributes to high quality provision of education and care for children up to the age of two. Teachers are highly observant of individual children’s nonverbal cues and preferences. Secure relationships, alongside the purposeful resourced environment promotes exploration, curiosity and risk taking. Calm and unhurried interactions support children’s confidence and sense of belonging.

Teachers manage children's transitions into, through and beyond the centre effectively. They carefully consider each child's readiness and confidence. Staff work alongside parents and whānau to ensure individual's rhythms and routines are maintained during these important times. The centre has recently reviewed the daily transitions to minimise interruptions to children’s learning pathways and promote sustained engagement.

Leaders and teachers know children and their whānau well. An effective balance between teacher-led and child-initiated learning was evident. Teacher’s engage in focussed learning conversations and open-ended questioning to prompt children's thinking. A clear focus on social and emotional competence is evident. The wide range of experiences and opportunities supports a rich curriculum. The spacious and well-resourced environment supports children's curiosity, challenge and active play.

Children's culture, language and identity is actively promoted throughout the centre. Teachers are confidently and competently using te reo and tikanga Māori, the local environment, and culturally responsive practice throughout everyday conversations and interactions. This is contributing to the extension of the local curriculum. Te ao Māori is naturally woven throughout the programme and empowers children’s knowing, understanding and ways of being.

Learning portfolios reflect and celebrate individual children’s interests and strengths well. They include parent's appreciation of children’s engagement and participation in play. The approaches to assessment, planning and evaluation have recently been reviewed. As a result, clear expectations and templates have been developed to guide and improve teacher practice. Implementing and embedding this approach should enhance the:

  • visibility of children's culture, language and identity through assessment

  • documenting of whānau contribution to teaching and learning

  • recording of how teacher’s add depth and complexity to the children’s learning over time.

Leadership has introduced a collaborative approach to decision making and change. Through coaching and improved self review, leaders are improving many aspects of centre practice, including teacher capability. These recent developments are supporting the consistency of practice for high-quality education and care centre wide.

The Provincial Education Group provides comprehensive systems, policies and procedures to guide centre practice. The new centre manager is developing organised systems and documentation to enhance the enactment of the Provincial Education Group strategic plan. The centre philosophies are currently being reviewed in line with parent voice, the Provincial Education Group’s overarching philosophy, values and mission, and the principles of Te Whāriki.

Key Next Steps

To support and build ongoing improvements the key next steps for the centre are to:

  • strengthen teachers' understanding of effective assessment, planning and evaluation processes

  • ensure daily transitions minimise interruptions to children's learning

  • robustly implement all policies and procedures for accountability and quality.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Douglas St 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.

To improve current practice, the centre management should ensure all policies and procedures are robustly implemented and outcomes recorded in line with current legislation and Provincial Education Group Ltd expectations.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Douglas St Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

28 March 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

Whakatane

Ministry of Education profile number

30248

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 28 aged under 2

Service roll

131

Gender composition

Boys 62% Girls 38%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

50%
38%
12%

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:5

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2019

Date of this report

28 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

November 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.