Flying Start Kindergarten - 15/08/2016

1 Evaluation of Flying Start Kindergarten

How well placed is Flying Start 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

Flying Start Kindergarten in Mt Eden provides education and care for children from three to five years of age. The small, privately owned centre operates in a converted building in a quiet suburban street. Children over four years of age attend on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the children between three and four years of age on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The programme provided by the well qualified teaching team incorporates elements of theories currently informing good practice in early childhood education. Programmes are underpinned by a philosophy statement shared and developed by teachers. This statement includes a commitment to providing biculturalism in the programme.

The centre has been operated for more than 20 years by the owner. She provides governance and a framework of systems, policies and procedures to guide the management of the centre. The qualified teaching team is led by a long-serving head teacher.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO. The 2013 report identified that the centre was very well placed to promote positive outcomes for children. It commended the integration of mathematics, science and literacy in meaningful ways in play, and the opportunities for children to learn about te reo and te ao Māori. Self review was well understood as a way of promoting and sustaining improvement. These aspects of the programme have been sustained and improved further.

The Review Findings

Flying Start Kindergarten continues to provide very good quality education and care for children. The responsive teaching team welcome children and their families with warmth and respect. Children settle quickly, making choices about their play and connecting with friends. They demonstrate high levels of belonging and wellbeing.

Teachers provide an environment that encourages children to explore and experiment with a wide variety of resources and experiences. Children are highly motivated to manage and direct their own play and to manipulate the environment to suit their play purposes. They collaborate and cooperate confidently to extend and design play. Teachers plan a responsive curriculum to be meaningful to the interests and learning of these children.

Teachers provide on-going support and encouragement for children to participate and work well together. Teachers have engaged in tertiary study and extensive action research on social competencies. The interim findings from this research have had a significant and positive impact on the centre. Teachers confidently support or observe children's interactions. They engage children in conversations and value their ideas to extend play.  

A particular focus in the programme in the last year has been on physical activity and healthy eating. A careful and thoughtful melding of these two topics has provided children with a good understanding of the impact of their decisions about what they eat and how they exercise. Integrating early literacy, mathematics and science into programmes has provided children with a strong foundation for learning. Excursions outside the centre are focused on providing extra opportunities for children to extend their physical skills and confidence.

Teachers have high levels of understanding and knowledge about children and their families. Regular consultation with parents and self review about how well they connect with families have resulted in sound partnerships. Teachers have made carefully planned, positive changes to the outdoor area to promote physically active play and provide appropriate opportunities for risk taking and challenge in a natural environment. Parent support has helped to realise this project.

Teachers have made a strong start to embedding bicultural learning and understanding into programmes. Teachers are deliberate in their use of te reo Māori and their teaching about tikanga Māori. Visual evidence in the centre provides confirmation of teachers' commitment to supporting bicultural understanding for parents and children.

Management of the centre is generally efficient and well organised. Strategic planning guides decision-making and is linked to the provision of professional learning for teachers, evaluation topics and to the annual plan. Professional learning and development informs teachers' practices. Systems for appraising teachers' professional practice are being aligned to the Practising Teacher Criteria and the Teachers Council expectations of good practice. The owner provides very well for teachers to continue to develop their own learning and higher level studies.

Key Next Steps

ERO suggests, and centre leaders agree, that the next key steps for the centre are to continue to:

  • strengthen bicultural programmes and consider adding bicultural values to the philosophy
  • deepen the evaluation of programmes and practice on outcomes for children
  • ensure that performance management systems are strengthened to meet the Education Council requirements. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Flying Start 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 Flying Start Kindergarten will be in four years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 August 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

Mt Eden, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20493

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

46

Gender composition

Boys      24
Girls       22

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
other

  2
36
  8

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

15 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

May 2013

Education Review

May 2010

Education Review

March 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.