Edukids Kaikorai Valley - 19/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Edukids Kaikorai Valley

How well placed is Edukids Kaikorai Valley 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

Edukids Kaikorai Valley is one of over 250 centres under the Best Start organisation. This is the second review of this purpose-built centre. Up to 75 children from three months to school age attend at any one time. Some attend for the full day and some are part time.

Children begin in the infant/toddler room, then move at about two years into the middle room. Older children are based in a third room. Each room is staffed with some qualified teachers, some caregivers and a head teacher. A centre manager has overall responsibility. Two Best Start managers support the centre.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been three centre managers, several new head teachers and other staff changes. The visiting Professional Services Manager from Best Start is new to her role.

The recently updated centre philosophy is built around the African proverb, that 'it takes a village to raise a child'. Underlying this is the idea that teachers, leaders and families should work together for the best for children.

Ongoing changes in leadership and teaching teams over the past three years have hindered ongoing improvements to teaching and learning. Some of the strengths identified in the 2013 report have not been maintained.

The Review Findings

Infant and toddlers are well cared for. They play and learn in a calm and settled area. Relationships are nurturing and respectful. Adults are sensitive to children's non-verbal cues and take time to observe and listen. They signal imminent change to children and communicate well with each other about children's care needs and what is happening.

Infants and toddlers are settled and happy in their play. The environment includes tactile and sensory resources and a variety of inviting areas for children to explore. Teachers talk often with and to the children. However, teachers could use richer language to speed oral language development.

The learning environment and experiences offered for children in the middle room need urgent improvement. The room, its resources and activities need to be better presented in order to encourage children to engage in learning, sustained play and conversations. Similarly, its outdoor area needs upgrading. There is also potential to improve the learning environment and resources in the older children's room.

In the middle and older children's rooms, several factors have made it difficult for teachers to have good-quality learning interactions with children. For example, ongoing staff changes have not helped. The number of children in each room and general busy staff make it difficult for teachers to have uninterrupted time for conversations with children and for learning. If the centre environment was significantly improved, it could help to resolve this.

ERO found good examples of teachers following children's lead in play and facilitating enjoyable mat times. Teachers supported children to interact well with their peers and develop their independence. They provided a variety of art experiences and some early literacy and mathematics experiences.

The centre has recently reviewed its philosophy. This review involved parents and all staff. The new philosophy describes well what teaching practice and interactions should look like. It also emphasises the importance of valuing Māori language and culture, and a high-quality learning environment. The next step for this centre is to look closely at these aspirations and systematically review how well these things are in place. Some areas need significant work. For example, the centre is in the early stages of offering children rich opportunities to learn about Māori culture and language as identified by the centre.

Over the last year teachers have made some improvements to group planning. These plans are generally based on and responsive to children's interests and needs. For both group and individual planning, teachers need to think more deeply about the strategies they plan to use to support children's learning. Evaluation of plans should consider carefully how successful these strategies were in promoting learning.

ERO found that the quality of assessment and planning for individual children varied within and between rooms. In the better examples, learning stories linked back to parents' wishes, noted significant learning and included some detail as to how teachers had supported or will support this.

From 2016 teachers in all rooms are expected to gather parents' wishes about children's learning and display children's learning goals. Individual profiles could better show the increasing complexity of children's learning over time.

Best Start has provided support for the new centre manager and head teachers. This has included visits from managers and leadership training. The new centre manager is building a positive team culture. With support, she is introducing an improved appraisal system. This is in the early stages of implementation.

Best Start has user-friendly policies and procedures and other guidelines, templates and systems to support leaders and teachers in their work. These clarify expectations for best practice. The organisation has some very good self-review practices, such as its regular surveying of parents and its Quality Education and Care review process. Findings from these confirm the need for significant improvements.

The quality of smaller reviews within each room is variable. Some lead to worthwhile improvements in how the centre supports children's learning. To ensure best practice, teachers need to ask more evaluative questions when reviewing. They also need to review against indicators of best practice, including the centre philosophy.

Key Next Steps

To improve outcomes for children, Best Start and the Centre Leader have identified and ERO agrees that leaders need to:

  • provide adequate resources

  • ensure all staff benefit from a rigorous and supportive appraisal system

  • continue to build the capacity of new centre leaders.

In addition, leaders and teachers need to work together to:

  • urgently improve the learning environment and resources, particularly in the middle room

  • place a stronger focus on children's learning and the teachers' role in supporting this

  • continue to improve the planning, assessment and evaluation of children's learning

  • better include Māori language and te ao Māori in children's day-to-day learning

  • continue to strengthen self-review practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Edukids Kaikorai Valley 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

Action for compliance

ERO identified an area of non-compliance. This relates to providing all children in the centre with a high-quality learning programme, environment and resources. To meet requirements the service needs to improve the way:

  • the service curriculum (including the environment and resources) provides children with a range of experiences and opportunities to enhance and extend their learning and development, both indoors and outdoors, individually and in groups.

[C9. Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008]

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consults with the Ministry of Education and plans to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Edukids Kaikorai Valley will be within two years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

19 May 2016

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

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

45673

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 17 aged under 2

Service roll

100

Gender composition

Girls: 49

Boys: 51

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Other

4

89

3

4

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 2016

Date of this report

19 May 2016

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

March 2013

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.