Educare Warkworth - 07/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Educare Warkworth

How well placed is Educare Warkworth 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

Educare Warkworth provides full day early childhood education and care for up to 80 children including up to 25 children under two years of age. Most families who attend are from the local area and most of the children who attend identify as Pākehā. There are small numbers of Māori children and children from Pacific families.

The centre is located in purpose-built premises within a business park in Warkworth. It opened in June 2016 and is experiencing gradual growth. The children play in two connected areas with one area dedicated to children under two. Both groups of children have easy access to large outdoor areas.

The day-to-day operation of the centre is the responsibility of a centre manager who is new to the role. She is supported by Educare's general manager. Educare also employs a personnel manager.

Educare Warkworth is one of a group of 11 centres owned by Educare Early Learning Centres. The shared vision across this group is "Learn, Laugh, Play". The group's senior leadership team provides administrative and professional support. They also monitor and evaluate the centre's progress towards achieving centre-specific strategic goals aligned to the organisation's goals. Educare's focus over the past three years has prioritised professional learning and development (PLD) in leadership and te ao Māori as underpinning practices. More recently, PLD has included a focus on curriculum, and aspects of performance management.

The philosophy of Educare Warkworth is consistent with the values of Educare Learning Centres and is aligned with the aims of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The philosophy views children as curious and imaginative, and recognises them as confident and competent learners.

This is the first ERO evaluation of Educare Warkworth.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Educare Early Learning Centres organisation.

The Review Findings

The centre environment is well designed and resourced, encouraging children to explore and investigate. It provides physical challenge that is appropriate to the age groups. Children confidently access resources and choose how they play.

Teachers recognise the importance of working in partnership with parents/whānau for the benefit of children. Teachers are committed to ensuring that children have opportunities to learn about New Zealand's bi-cultural heritage. They are building their relationship with a local marae and learning about the significant features of the local area. Teachers are also keen to learn more about the other cultures of children in the centre.

Teachers have successfully created a "home away from home" as outlined in the centre's philosophy. Children's learning and wellbeing are supported by teachers who know them and their families well. Relationships are respectful and interactions between adults and children are positive and affirming. Teachers support children's play successfully by engaging them in conversations and asking them questions that promote their thinking.

Infants and toddlers benefit from high quality education and care that recognises their stages of development. Care routines are responsive to individual children and their parents' expectations. Teachers make good use of these times to communicate and build relationships with the child. Teachers working with older children could make greater use of conversations to promote more complex play. They could review the extent to which they use questions to promote children's thinking and extend their oral language.

All staff have participated in PLD that focuses on improving teachers' assessment of children's learning and planning relevant programmes. Good progress is being made where planning better reflects what teachers have recognised through observations and the information that parents share about their child. Teachers could now strengthen programme evaluation to determine the extent it is supporting children's learning, and its responsiveness to parents' aspirations for their child.

Staff are supporting children to learn about environmental sustainability. Recycling and growing food are part of the centre culture.

The Warkworth Educare centre manager is building the leadership capacity of her staff. A new appraisal system has been developed by Educare to meet the Education Council requirements. Staff at Educare Warkworth are now learning how to apply the process to support the ongoing development of their professional practice.

Centre managers are using internal evaluation to successfully identify areas that could strengthen the provision of education and care for the children. They could now consider setting goals relevant to these areas and include these goals in the centre's strategic plan. 

Key Next Steps

Improvement areas identified by centre staff and ERO include continuing to strengthen:

  • teacher knowledge and use of te reo Māori
  • relationships with the local community
  • approaches to support children to develop social skills and competencies
  • approaches to assess children's learning, and programme planning and evaluation
  • teaching practices to promote children's thinking.

Educare Learning Centres managers are focused on improvement. They have identified areas they intend to strengthen across all of their centres. These areas include:

  • strengthening strategic documents by including goals related to valued outcomes for children and using these goals to evaluate centre performance
  • supporting centres to provide high quality service by sharing best practice and strengthening quality assurance processes
  • building on the strong leadership culture that exists across the organisation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Educare Warkworth 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 practice the centre managers should monitor the accuracy of the records of children sleeping. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Educare Warkworth will be in three years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 May 2018 

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

Warkworth

Ministry of Education profile number

46992

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

41

Gender composition

Girls       27
Boys      14

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pasifika
other

  2
25
  8
  6

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

7 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

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.