Epsom South Kindergarten - 15/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Epsom South Kindergarten

How well placed is Epsom South Kindergarten 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

Epsom South Kindergarten, formerly known as Lady Cobham Kindergarten is licensed for 40 children over two years of age. The kindergarten provides a four morning session and a six hour session that align well with school hours. Only 30 children remain for the afternoon programme. The centre is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association and operates within the policies and strategic goals of this organisation. Association personnel provide professional support to assist teachers with curriculum, management and property matters.

All the teachers are qualified and fully registered. They are a relatively new team who have worked less than a year together. However, they have quickly become a collaborative team and established positive relationships with the kindergarten community. Teachers have participated in professional development to enhance their bicultural practices and to promote positive social competence initiatives. These commitments are reflected in the kindergarten philosophy statement and align well with teachers' intent to grow independent children who are competent and capable learners.

In 2013 ERO identified several positive features of the service. Effective relationships, shared leadership and a varied curriculum supported children to confidently engage in activities, communicate well and show interest in protecting the environment. The kindergarten has since been awarded Silver Enviro School status. Very good progress has been made in relation to ERO's recommendations to deepen self review and enhance bicultural practices.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are enthusiastic learners who confidently lead their own learning. They competently work either independently or in collaborative groups, often sustaining their interest for prolonged periods. Children have well developed communication skills and use them to make choices, investigate, problem solve and to support their friends. They understand sustainability practices and show respect for each other and the environment. Children also benefit from bicultural practices that enable them to become familiar with te reo Māori, waiata and aspects of tikanga Māori. Similarly, the diverse cultures of the kindergarten community are acknowledged, respected and celebrated.

Teachers believe in children's competence. They have high expectations that children will make choices about what they do, engage in challenging learning and explore new ideas. Conversations between adults and children are often meaningful explorations of children's ideas and interests. Teachers skilfully prompt children with open ended questions, but also trust them to independently guide the direction of their play and negotiate with peers. Teachers promote an inclusive environment where children with special needs, or English as an additional language, are included as valued contributors to learning experiences.

Teachers know children very well and use their interests and parents' aspirations to develop a curriculum that is challenging and responsive. Children's learning is enriched by in-depth exploration of shared interests and their involvement with the Enviro Schools project. Teachers deliberately integrate opportunities for early literacy, numeracy and science discoveries in the context of play. They have also established an inviting environment that is extensively resourced and has a diverse variety of play areas that foster imaginative, physical and social play.

Teachers document children's learning very well. Continuity in assessing children's progress is clearly evident, and teachers' skilful analyses of learning identify the dispositions that support children to become lifelong learners.

Parents are partners in their children's learning. Teachers speak individually to parents about their aspirations for their child's learning, and keep them informed through frequent informal conversations, digital communication, and wall displays. Families make good use of an on-line portal that enables them to read and comment on their child’s learning stories. They actively support kindergarten events including cultural celebrations and excursions, and they contribute to consultation surveys. Parents who were interviewed by ERO value the rich learning experiences their children enjoy. They also appreciate the extent to which teachers know their child and respond to their interests.

The kindergarten is led and managed effectively. The head teacher has established robust documentation, and a collaborative environment that enables teachers to share responsibilities and decision making. The teaching team works together reflectively, and teachers' different skills and knowledge are valued. Teachers use a range of internal evaluation processes to continually improve practice, and to explore new teaching approaches. A newly established business plan is strongly linked with the Association's strategic goals, teachers' professional development and appraisal goals, and the kindergarten's Quality Improvement Process (QIP). This alignment contributes to efficient management of the service.

Key Next Steps

Teachers and the Association Education Specialist agree that key next steps include:

  • focusing internal evaluation on how well early literacy is integrated through the curriculum, and aligning this with transition to school initiatives

  • establishing curriculum leadership roles in key areas such as numeracy, science and technology

  • enhancing bicultural practices by including the history and stories of the local area.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Epsom South 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 Epsom South Kindergarten will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 March 2017 

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

Epsom, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5063

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll

61

Gender composition

Boys 37 Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Afghani

Mexican

others

3

35

7

4

2

2

8

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

15 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

October 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

June 2007

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.