Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata - 22/02/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata is a well established centre operating alongside May Road School in Mt Roskill. The management committee of the Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata Incorporated Society governs and manages the aoga amata. Programmes and management are based on gagana and aganu’u Samoa, and maintain a Christian perspective. Children are exposed to rich Samoan language, which is modelled by capable staff. Many children have a good understanding of gagana Samoa and use more formal gagana Samoa confidently in appropriate settings. Families report that they appreciate these culturally rich opportunities for their children.

The two rooms of the centre, one for older children and one for those under the age of three years, are attractively presented and inviting. A space at the back of the building can be used as a separate outdoor area for infants and toddlers, but they generally use the open, sunny and well resourced main outdoor play area with older children. Displays and everyday practices and interactions reflect the Samoan culture and language and contribute to an inclusive, welcoming environment in which families feel a strong sense of belonging and shared identity.

Children participate enthusiastically in all aspects of the programme. They respond well during teacher-directed group times and work cooperatively and independently when they are able to make choices about their play. They are confident communicators and enjoy engaging in extended conversations with adults.

The teaching staff are well qualified. Their interactions with children are consistently responsive and sensitive, and provide good quality support for children’s learning. Staff are developing a routine of critical reflection on their practice. In order to enrich provision for children’s learning, teaching staff should now review the quality of resources and programmes in more depth. Information about assessment and programme planning could be displayed so that it is more clearly evident and more accessible to children and their parents. This change would enable children to revisit learning experiences and help parents to see how the programme develops over time.

As noted in previous ERO reviews, actions need to be taken to ensure that the centre complies with regulations. Managers and teachers should review policies and procedures to guide the consistent implementation of good practices and to ensure that they are meeting legal requirements. Better documentation in all areas of aoga amata operations, and more robust self review, would help managers and teachers to develop more effective processes and to make ongoing improvements.

Future Action

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

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre 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 at Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata.

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

ERO’s 2008 report identified a number of areas of good performance, and particularly recognised the strong sense of cultural pride and belonging evident in the aoga amata, the increasingly child-led programme, and the improving quality of children’s learning records. ERO recommended that staff continue with professional development to improve the quality of their interactions with children and that robust self review be established and used to improve provision for children.

The six registered teachers and additional staff have continued to engage in professional development. Recent areas of focus have been on using new technology for assessment records and improving provision for literacy learning.

Areas of strength

Strong cultural foundation. The aoga amata provides a strong cultural foundation for children. They are immersed in aganu’u Samoa, including spiritual aspects of the culture, and are very familiar with gagana Samoa. Although most interactions amongst children as they play are in English, they use gagana Samoa confidently when they respond to adults, during lotu and pese Samoa, and when they address the whole group.

Adults use gagana Samoa extensively as they work with children throughout the day and almost exclusively during group times. A graduation ceremony offers opportunities for children to experience formal language and performance. Parents value the rich language and cultural opportunities children enjoy at the aoga amata.

Relationships and community. The aoga amata has a welcoming, inclusive environment. Warm, caring relationships amongst staff, children and families contribute to a settled, supportive, family atmosphere. The environment for infants and toddlers is especially nurturing. Parents report that they feel comfortable in the aoga amata and are able to approach teachers at any time to talk about their children. Good relationships are being developed with May Road School. The aoga amata children use the school grounds, join school events and visit the new entrants’ classroom. A strong sense of community is evident.

Interactions. Teachers’ interactions with children are consistently respectful and responsive. They use good strategies to encourage children to participate in discussions and use questions to extend their understanding. Adults listen to children’s ideas and prompt them to think about and negotiate possibilities and choices. As a result of these good practices, children often sustain their interest and persist with activities for long periods. They initiate meaningful and often extensive conversations with adults. Children contribute their ideas and speak confidently in group situations, and are developing skills as confident, capable communicators.

Physical environment. The two rooms are well resourced, attractive and inviting. A covered deck area that is well used at meal times and for creative activities provides a link between the rooms. The outdoor area overlooks the school grounds, and offers children physical challenge and a variety of opportunities for exploration. Children’s drawings and other displays demonstrate the uses of print and enable children to revisit their learning. Photographs are well used to foster discussions, especially with toddlers.

Developing assessment, planning and evaluation. Teachers have established the practice of regularly reviewing their observations and considering next steps for individual children. Some good examples of narrative assessment are evident and staff are currently developing new ways of recording their observations of children’s learning. The parent and child voice is becoming a more frequent part of assessment records.

Professional development. In addition to formal external professional development, the head teachers provide good quality support for untrained staff and mentor them so that their interactions with children are consistently responsive and sensitive. Staff show interest in building their reflective practice and formal self review so that they can continue to improve their practice.

Areas for development and review

Enriching programmes. Teachers could enrich current programmes and better support children to sustain their interest and engagement in child-initiated learning activities by:

  • offering a wider selection of resources in play areas and increasing opportunities for children to make decisions about the daily programme and choices about their participation in activities
  • reducing the number of times children’s play is unnecessarily interrupted for adult-directed group activities
  • increasing the inclusion of mathematical language in their conversations with children and, in all areas of the aoga amata, making materials readily available for children to experiment with writing as part of their play
  • continuing to work on extending conversations with children to enable them to develop and express their ideas.

Planning and evaluation. The teaching team is now well placed to work towards increasing the usefulness of assessment and planning. More purposeful planning should help teachers to build on children’s individual and group interests over time and enable them to engage in more in-depth reflection and evaluation. More cohesive and accessible assessment and planning should show the continuity and progression of learning and enable children and their families to discuss and revisit children’s progress more readily. Teachers should work with an external adviser to help implement these good practices.

Systematic robust self review. Managers and teachers have established some useful self-review practices and are now well placed to be more focused on critical evaluation and ongoing improvement. More systematic and robust self review should include:

  • extending the strategic plan to address all areas of centre operations, linking the annual plan and budget to the strategic plan and regularly monitoring progress against plans and goals
  • increasing the involvement of staff in self review and strategic planning, particularly with regard to personnel policies and practices
  • systematic review of all policies and procedures to refine them, reduce duplication and align them more specifically with the 2008 early childhood education regulations and licensing criteria.

Strengthening self-review practices should help managers and teachers to develop more effective processes, establish a culture of continual improvement, and enrich provision for children’s learning.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Inclusion of children with moderate to severe special needs

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions ensure the continuing wellbeing, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs are supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

No children with moderate to severe special needs are currently enrolled in this service. However, the teaching staff is likely to be able to provide well for children with special needs. The aoga amata is characterised by warm, inclusive and caring relationships with children and their families.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata 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:

  • 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.

In order to improve current practice, centre managers should develop a more specific annual budget to guide financial expenditure each year.

During the course of the review ERO identified some areas of non-compliance which have subsequently been addressed. Centre managers must:

  1. improve processes for promptly identifying and removing or minimising hazards in the environment, Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS12; Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, 1c(iii);
  2. review, rationalise and amend all aoga amata policies so that they are aligned with 2008 early childhood education regulations and licensing criteria and provide a clear guide for teacher and management practices, Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, 4,6,7; Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, GMA4,6.

5. Recommendations

ERO and the licensee agree that aoga amata staff should continue working with external professional advisers to:

  1. establish and implement processes for systematic, robust self review that is focused on improvement
  2. improve the extent to which programme documentation shows how teachers plan, and display planning more clearly in the centre
  3. evaluate children’s extended learning and the quality of programmes over time.

6. Future Action

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

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

About the Centre

Type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Roll number

50

Gender composition

Girls 26,

Boys 24

Ethnic composition

Samoan 48, Tongan 2

Review team on site

December 2011

Date of this report

22 February 2012

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review, November 2008

Education Review, August 2003

Accountability Review, August 1999

To the Parents and Community of Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata.

Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata is a well established centre operating alongside May Road School in Mt Roskill. The management committee of the Faavae Mautu Aoga Amata Incorporated Society governs and manages the aoga amata. Programmes and management are based on gagana and aganu’u Samoa, and maintain a Christian perspective. Children are exposed to rich Samoan language, which is modelled by capable staff. Many children have a good understanding of gagana Samoa and use more formal gagana Samoa confidently in appropriate settings. Families report that they appreciate these culturally rich opportunities for their children.

The two rooms of the centre, one for older children and one for those under the age of three years, are attractively presented and inviting. A space at the back of the building can be used as a separate outdoor area for infants and toddlers, but they generally use the open, sunny and well resourced main outdoor play area with older children. Displays and everyday practices and interactions reflect the Samoan culture and language and contribute to an inclusive, welcoming environment in which families feel a strong sense of belonging and shared identity.

Children participate enthusiastically in all aspects of the programme. They respond well during teacher-directed group times and work cooperatively and independently when they are able to make choices about their play. They are confident communicators and enjoy engaging in extended conversations with adults.

The teaching staff are well qualified. Their interactions with children are consistently responsive and sensitive, and provide good quality support for children’s learning. Staff are developing a routine of critical reflection on their practice. In order to enrich provision for children’s learning, teaching staff should now review the quality of resources and programmes in more depth. Information about assessment and programme planning could be displayed so that it is more clearly evident and more accessible to children and their parents. This change would enable children to revisit learning experiences and help parents to see how the programme develops over time.

As noted in previous ERO reviews, actions need to be taken to ensure that the centre complies with regulations. Managers and teachers should review policies and procedures to guide the consistent implementation of good practices and to ensure that they are meeting legal requirements. Better documentation in all areas of aoga amata operations, and more robust self review, would help managers and teachers to develop more effective processes and to make ongoing improvements.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service 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 centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)