First Class Education & Care (Bethlehem) - 30/03/2012

 

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

First Class Education and Care (Bethlehem) is one of five centres owned by the Christian Education Trust’s company, Bethlehem Early Learning Centres Ltd and caters for babies, toddlers and young children up to school age. The trust provides governance and management, along with an appropriate range of regularly reviewed policies. These guidelines promote centre practices that contribute to children’s emotional and physical safety.

The centre manager and head teacher promote a culture of teamwork, emergent leadership and reflection. They value individual staff members’ interests, gifts and talents. The centre’s programme and teaching practice emphasise the importance of the central role of the family in a child’s life, Christian beliefs and respectful relationships.

Teachers focus on ensuring children’s well-being and foster their sense of belonging. There is a clear emphasis on encouraging children’s social skills, independence, self care and self responsibility. Communication skills are encouraged for all age groups in literacy and language-rich environments, where teachers model high-quality language and are responsive to children’s interests.

The planned review of the centre’s philosophy provides an important opportunity for management and staff to strengthen learning outcomes for children. They now need to deepen understandings about teaching and learning within an increasingly responsive, child-led curriculum.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again within three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive outcomes for children. To reach these findings ERO evaluates:

  • Mana Whakahaere – how governance and management determines the service’s vision/philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pouārahi – how the leadership and capability of all involved, including educators, enhance positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is implemented to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning reflect diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of partnerships with whānau and self review. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at First Class Education and Care (Bethlehem).

How well placed is First Class Education and Care (Bethlehem) to promote positive outcomes for all children?

Background

First Class Education and Care (Bethlehem) is one of five services owned, governed and managed by Bethlehem Early Learning Centres Ltd (BELC). At the time of this ERO review, the Christian Education Trust was undergoing review of its governance documentation, which has affected the BELC strategic planning documentation. Budget constraints linked to ministry funding were impacting on staffing, professional learning, parent fees and enrolment agreements.

Since ERO’s last review in February 2009, a new head teacher has been appointed, and there has been significant redevelopment of the kindergarten and toddler outdoor areas. The centre has continued to promote its underlying Christian philosophy, its close relationships and partnerships with children and families, and continues to explore possibilities for establishing a relationship with local iwi.

Areas of strength

Mana Whakahaere: The BELC gives strong priority to providing Christian education, and establishing respectful, reciprocal relationships with parents and whānau. Parent and staff views are included in self review of policies and aspects of centre operations. There are well-defined roles and responsibilities, and sound administrative guidelines that provide a clear basis for centre operations. The BELC manager and head teacher work well together with a focus on improving the quality of teaching, learning and outcomes for children.

Pouārahi: The centre manager and head teacher promote an ethos of teamwork, emergent leadership and reflection. They value individual staff members’ interests, gifts and talents and maximise these to strengthen learning opportunities for children, and teachers’ practice.

Mātauranga: The recognition of the central role of the family in a child’s life, Christian beliefs and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are all highly evident in the centre philosophy and programme. Key emphases and priorities of the curriculum include:

Children’s well-being and sense of belonging being fostered through strong connections between home and the centre, including responsive transition times. There is also a clear emphasis on encouraging independence, self care and self responsibility;

  • opportunities to engage parents in discussions about approaches to parenting and children’s learning and development;
  • children’s developing communication and language within the context of meaningful play and engagement with others; and
  • increasingly natural environments that pose physical challenge and active exploration.

These features of the curriculum are evident in children’s confidence, trust in adults and developing relationships with one another.

Tikanga whakaako: Teachers emphasise the importance of building positive partnerships and reciprocal relationships with parents and children. They value the knowledge that parents share and, through noticing children’s interests, are able to focus routines, conversations, resources and teaching strategies in a responsive manner. Individual learning folders document children’s involvement in play and exploration, discuss the learning that is happening and possibilities for further experiences and opportunities. Parents’ and children’s perspectives are included, strengthening the learning partnership between children, teachers and parents.

Area for development and review

Leadership of learning: The planned review of the centre’s philosophy creates an important opportunity for management and staff to strengthen learning for children and teachers. There is a need to re-examine the implications of:

  • curriculum and programme design, and their implementation;
  • Te Whāriki principles and strands, relating in particular to extending contribution, exploration and empowerment;
  • the centre’s special character; and
  • current ‘best practices’ and theories in early childhood education, including assessment for learning.

This philosophy review is likely to assist teachers to deepen their understanding and beliefs about teaching and learning within a responsive, child-led curriculum in a Christian setting.

3. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of First Class Education completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration;
  • health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management; and
  • 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; and
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

In order to improve current practice the trust and managers should:

  • ensure that the planned development of self review and strategic direction is immediately progressed to provide a longer-term approach for the service’s financial priorities, sustainability and future.

4. Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again within three years.

  

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

30/3/12

About the Centre

Type

All Day Early Childhood Education and Care Centre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Roll number

65

Gender composition

Boys 37 Girls 28

Ethnic composition

New Zealand Pākehā/European 55, New Zealand Māori 5, Other European 4, Asian 1

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

30/3/12

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review February 2009 Education Review May 2005 Accountability Review 2000

 

To the Parents and Community of First Class Education

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on First Class Education .

First Class Education and Care (Bethlehem) is one of five centres owned by the Christian Education Trust’s company, Bethlehem Early Learning Centres Ltd and caters for babies, toddlers and young children up to school age. The trust provides governance and management, along with an appropriate range of regularly reviewed policies. These guidelines promote centre practices that contribute to children’s emotional and physical safety.

The centre manager and head teacher promote a culture of teamwork, emergent leadership and reflection. They value individual staff members’ interests, gifts and talents. The centre’s programme and teaching practice emphasise the importance of the central role of the family in a child’s life, Christian beliefs and respectful relationships.

Teachers focus on ensuring children’s well-being and foster their sense of belonging. There is a clear emphasis on encouraging children’s social skills, independence, self care and self responsibility. Communication skills are encouraged for all age groups in literacy and language-rich environments, where teachers model high-quality language and are responsive to children’s interests.

The planned review of the centre’s philosophy provides an important opportunity for management and staff to strengthen learning outcomes for children. They now need to deepen understandings about teaching and learning within an increasingly responsive, child-led curriculum.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again within 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.

 

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.

Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.

Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.