Dunsandel Playcentre - 27/08/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Dunsandel Playcentre is one of 46 playcentres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The association’s education and centre support teams provide support for the centre. The parent cooperative is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the playcentre.

This playcentre is open for two morning sessions for children aged from birth to school age. It is an established part of the rural community and has strong links with the local school.

Since the 2009 ERO review, a new coordinator has been appointed. The parent committee, coordinator and Canterbury Playcentre Association (CPA) support person are focused on improvement. They have made good progress in establishing better systems to manage self review, assessment practices and bicultural understandings.

Other positive features of this playcentre include:

  • parents and children enjoying the support and friendship of other families
  • children being actively involved in play for long periods of uninterrupted time
  • opportunities for trips into the wider community that enhance the learning programme for children
  • easy access to a wide range of good-quality resources and play experiences.

The next steps are for the coordinator and parent group to build on the capacity and sustainability of the playcentre. This includes continuing to strengthen:

  • parent involvement in education and self review
  • assessment, programme planning and evaluation.

The playcentre has well-established health and safety practices.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the playcentre again in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Dunsandel Playcentre was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the playcentre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atDunsandel Playcentre.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

The playcentre’s philosophy highlights the belief that children reach their full potential when parents understand their development and take part in the learning process. The parents aim to provide a safe and stimulating learning environment with a variety of learning opportunities and equipment.

Areas of strength

Play spaces are well organised and purposefully presented to encourage children’s curiosity and participation in the programme. Children have easy access to a wide range of interesting resources and learning experiences. The outdoor area is spacious and provides many opportunities for physical play.

Children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in the child-led programme. ERO observed children being confident to make their own choices, and asking for help if they needed it. Children were actively involved in play for long periods of uninterrupted time. They explored activities of interest and developed their own ideas.

Centre displays and notice boards are usefully presented and help keep all playcentre members well informed about aspects of the programme and current focus areas for improvement. This includes the prominent display of:

  • children’s involvement in the programme through learning stories
  • parents’ aspirations for their children’s learning
  • the centre review process and how it is leading to centre improvement.

The playcentre programme promotes strong community links. Parents value the playcentre as a place to meet other community members and develop friendships. The playcentre has a close relationship with the local school and makes good use of opportunities to visit and be part of school activities. Adults plan excursions that help the children learn more about their local community and its resources.

Children benefit from affirming interactions with adults. Adults regularly involve themselves in children’s play. This includes:

  • following children’s interests and play ideas and encouraging them to try new and different activities
  • praising children for positive behaviour
  • having useful conversations with children about their play and home lives.

The parent group is making increasing use of self review and association support to improve centre practices. This is most evident in:

  • the progress in recording children’s involvement in the programme
  • the current focus on improving how well the bicultural heritage of New Zealand is reflected in the programme.

Areas for development and review

The parent group has identified, and ERO agrees, that it needs to strengthen the capacity of the parent group to ensure the playcentre practices and recent improvements can continue to be built on.

This includes:

working on ways to increase parent participation in association courses to enhance the programme and interactions for children’s learning

building parent knowledge and capability to use assessment practices that add value to children’s learning through:

  • more consistent analysis of learning
  • identifying next steps to add value to children’s learning
  • more clearly showing how children’s learning is progressing over time
  • making better use of assessment information to inform programme planning
  • involving parents more in self review and evaluating how well the programme is improving outcomes for children.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Dunsandel Playcentre completed an ERO CentreManagement Assurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

4 Future Action

ERO is likely to review the playcentre again in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

Sessional, Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

23 children, including up to 6 aged under two

Roll number

21

Gender composition

Girls 7; Boys 14

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 20; South American 1

Review team on site

June 2012

Date of this report

27 August 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review May 2009,

Supplementary Review November 2006,

Education Review December 2005

27 August 2012

To the Parents and Community of Dunsandel Playcentre

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Dunsandel Playcentre.

Dunsandel Playcentre is one of 46 playcentres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The association’s education and centre support teams provide support for the centre. The parent cooperative is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the playcentre.

This playcentre is open for two morning sessions for children aged from birth to school age. It is an established part of the rural community and has strong links with the local school.

Since the 2009 ERO review, a new coordinator has been appointed. The parent committee, coordinator and Canterbury Playcentre Association (CPA) support person are focused on improvement. They have made good progress in establishing better systems to manage self review, assessment practices and bicultural understandings.

Other positive features of this playcentre include:

  • parents and children enjoying the support and friendship of other families
  • children being actively involved in play for long periods of uninterrupted time
  • opportunities for trips into the wider community that enhance the learning programme for children
  • easy access to a wide range of good-quality resources and play experiences.

The next steps are for the coordinator and parent group to build on the capacity and sustainability of the playcentre. This includes continuing to strengthen:

  • parent involvement in education and self review
  • assessment, programme planning and evaluation.

The playcentre has well-established health and safety practices.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the playcentre again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the playcentre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

General Information About Reviews

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.

Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.

Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre 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 this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.