Elsie Street Kindergarten - 19/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Elsie Street Kindergarten

How well placed is Elsie Street Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Elsie Street Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Elsie Street Kindergarten offers early childhood education for children aged two years to school age. Education programmes run six hours a day, five days a week, with places for up to 30 children.

Through the curriculum and teaching practices, teachers aim to support all children to grow in confidence and competence. This includes emotional, social and physical competence, critical thinking and creativity. Building children's connections to, and knowledge of, the local community, the natural environment and New Zealand's bicultural heritage, are also valued outcomes.

Since its last ERO review in 2017, there has been a change of head teacher and some teaching staff. The kindergarten has made significant progress in addressing the areas for development identified in its last review.

This kindergarten is one of 23 kindergartens governed by the Kindergarten South Association. A general manager oversees each kindergarten within the association, under the governance of a board.  Senior Teachers provide ongoing professional advice, guidance and support to each kindergarten for teaching and learning. 

The Review Findings

Children benefit from a rich and responsive curriculum that effectively supports the kindergarten's intended learning outcomes for children. Strengths of the curriculum include the way it:

  • is based on children's interests, ideas and abilities
  • makes connections to children's lives beyond the kindergarten
  • provides learning opportunities in the community and the natural environment that foster children's sense of identity and belonging
  • is inclusive of younger children and children with additional needs
  • incorporates meaningful opportunities to learn about Māori perspectives and tikanga.

Processes for planning for individual children and groups have been reviewed and strengthened. These include a range of strategies for supporting children to describe and illustrate their own learning. Teachers' planned strategies to extend children's learning are well documented in group planning. These could be better documented for individuals. Assessment and planning reflects and responds well to children's family cultures and aspirations. Teachers could now extend this planning to show how they will support children to become increasingly proud and confident in their ethnic identities.

Children learn in an unhurried and well-resourced learning environment. The environment is thoughtfully set up to encourage children to explore, be active, be creative and to build their early literacy and numeracy skills.

Teachers see children as inherently competent. They effectively support and enable children to make decisions about and lead their own learning. Teachers are respectful and responsive in their interactions with children and positively affirm all children's dispositions and individual identities. Teachers make good use of professional learning to build their capability to meet the needs of children with additional needs and to deepen and extend the kindergarten's curriculum.

Parents and whānau have increasing opportunities to be involved in their children's learning. Parents feel welcome to spend time alongside their children in the kindergarten's programme and participate in and support children's regular outings in the local community and environment. Teachers work closely with families to develop deep understandings of family values and traditions and how they can reflect and support these in teaching and learning experiences in the kindergarten.

Kindergarten leadership has worked collaboratively with teachers to develop a clear, coherent and aligned strategic framework, which includes long and short term plans and a vision for teaching and learning. These are effectively guiding operations, curriculum design and delivery, and teaching practice. Leadership is actively promoting and enabling collaboration between teachers, with families and with community personnel and organisations to enhance learning outcomes for children.

Leaders and teachers have developed their understandings and capability to undertake internal evaluation for improvement. This is now systematic, based on a range of evidence and focused on equity of outcomes for children. Internal evaluation is being well used to identify next steps and changes that support positive learning outcomes for all children.

Since ERO’s 2017 reviews of Kindergarten South's kindergartens, there have been significant changes within the association management and leadership team. Many of the good practices in place to support the kindergartens have been sustained. However, ERO found that the board needs better information to know how well kindergartens are improving outcomes for children. The board also needs to review its own performance and review the roles and responsibilities within the association leadership and management team. 

Key Next Steps

For teachers to build on existing good assessment, planning and evaluation practices by:

  • better documenting and evaluating teachers' planned strategies for extending learning for individual children
  • showing in planning and assessment how teachers support children's confidence and pride in their ethnic identities.

Following a recent cluster review of seven Kindergarten South kindergartens the following next steps were identified for the association board and leadership. These are to:

  • further develop the vision, values, philosophy and goals to better reflect the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and te ao Māori perspectives
  • ensure reporting and monitoring at all levels is evaluative and shows how outcomes for children have been improved, especially for priority learners and in relation to the association’s valued outcomes, vision and philosophy
  • ensure there is a clear process for consulting with all parents and whānau Māori within the association
  • monitor the effectiveness of new initiatives
  • review the roles and responsibilities of leadership positions within the association and review the performance and effectiveness of the board
  • review and update the complaints policy and procedure.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Elsie Street Kindergarten 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. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Elsie Street Kindergarten will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard
Director Review and Improvement Services Southern
Southern Region

19 February 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

Gore

Ministry of Education profile number

5515

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

45 children aged over 2 years

Service roll

40

Gender composition

Girls:   22

Boys:  18

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnicities

  6
32
  2

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

19 February 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

August 2017

Education Review

December 2013

Education Review

September 2010

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.