Forest View Kindergarten - 29/06/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Forest View Kindergarten operates as part of the Northland Kindergarten Association. Children attend either morning or all day sessions. Children and their parents report that they feel welcome and included by teachers. Parents confidently spend time at the kindergarten, taking an interest in activities with their children and talking with teachers. A high percentage of parents provide useful information that contributes to assessment of children’s learning.

The physical environment is spacious and well organised. The building has been renovated to improve facilities and to provide better spaces for parents/whānau and teachers. Children enjoy exploring the outdoor area and the challenges it provides them. Areas of play are well resourced and set up to enable uninterrupted play. Equipment is appropriate and accessible to children. The natural environment is well represented in gardens and resources.

The strong sense of community within the centre is supported by positive relationships and respectful practices. Teachers foster children’s social skill development and encourage them to be independent. Children are very inclusive of others and older children often support and encourage their younger peers.

The programme flows smoothly, and children enjoy the calm, unhurried tone of the centre. Teachers reflect on aspects of the programme and make changes to suit the age group of children attending. Opportunities for literacy, numeracy and science learning are provided in the context of play.

Teachers are currently accessing professional development to strengthen programme planning, assessment and evaluation. They also recognise the need to improve self-review practices. ERO recommends that teachers work with the Kindergarten Association to develop a more systematic approach to self review that will lead to ongoing improvement.

Future Action

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

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Forest View Kindergarten 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 atForest View Kindergarten.

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 2009 report identified many strengths of the kindergarten, including the environment, positive and supportive staff relationships with children and their families, and many good teaching practices. These strengths continue to characterise the kindergarten.

The 2009 report also identified the need to strengthen self review, planning and assessment to better record children’s learning. Progress in these areas has been limited.

Areas of strength

Environment. Teachers regularly review the environment to ensure that it supports children’s learning. The spacious physical environment is well maintained. Children enjoy the physical challenges in the outdoor area. They make good use of the well laid out indoor areas and covered deck. Children respect the resources and environment.

Relationships. There is a strong sense of community at the kindergarten. Teachers promote positive relationships with the community. They welcome children and their families, and spend time talking with them, making connections, and learning about children’s home life. Parents keep teachers well informed about children’s interests and experiences outside of the kindergarten.

Children are inclusive in their play and provide support for each other. Teachers encourage children to be independent. Children with special needs are well integrated into the centre.

Programme. The programme provides children with many opportunities for uninterrupted play. Routine activities such as meals and mat times are unobtrusive. Children take advantage of opportunities to make choices about their play. There are opportunities and resources for children to develop literacy and numeracy skills and science knowledge within their play. Teachers are responsive to children’s interests and position themselves strategically to support and resource their play. Children make good use of the information and communication technologies provided.

Te reo Māori. Parents value the efforts made to include aspects of Māori language and culture. Te reo is used with children throughout the day. Teachers are provided with ongoing professional development to build their knowledge and confidence in this area.

Areas for development and review

Teachers recognise that they could improve the kindergarten’s self-review systems and its systems for programme planning, assessment and evaluation.

Self review. While teachers are reflective about their teaching practices and make changes in response to this reflection, they have yet to develop in-depth review processes that are planned and based on collated evidence. It would be useful for teachers to use Ngā Arohaehae Whai Hua, the Ministry of Education guidelines for self review, to develop their self-review processes.

Planning, assessment and evaluation. Teachers are currently exploring new ways of assessing children’s learning and using this information to extend children’s learning. They are trialling new ways of recording their observations. This process could be useful for demonstrating learning over time.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Forest View Kindergarten completed an ERO Centre Management 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.

4 Recommendations

ERO and the centre managers agree that teachers should continue to strengthen planning, assessment and evaluation and self-review processes.

5 Future Action

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

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

About the Centre

Type

All Day Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

40 children over 2 years of age

Roll number

49

Gender composition

Girls 30 Boys 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European Pākehā 26

Māori 22

Tokelauan 1

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

29 June 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review, April 2009

Education Review, February 2006

Education Review, April 2003

29 June 2012

To the Parents and Community of Forest View Kindergarten

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Forest View Kindergarten.

Forest View Kindergarten operates as part of the Northland Kindergarten Association. Children attend either morning or all day sessions. Children and their parents report that they feel welcome and included by teachers. Parents confidently spend time at the kindergarten, taking an interest in activities with their children and talking with teachers. A high percentage of parents provide useful information that contributes to assessment of children’s learning.

The physical environment is spacious and well organised. The building has been renovated to improve facilities and to provide better spaces for parents/whānau and teachers. Children enjoy exploring the outdoor area and the challenges it provides them. Areas of play are well resourced and set up to enable uninterrupted play. Equipment is appropriate and accessible to children. The natural environment is well represented in gardens and resources.

The strong sense of community within the centre is supported by positive relationships and respectful practices. Teachers foster children’s social skill development and encourage them to be independent. Children are very inclusive of others and older children often support and encourage their younger peers.

The programme flows smoothly, and children enjoy the calm, unhurried tone of the centre. Teachers reflect on aspects of the programme and make changes to suit the age group of children attending. Opportunities for literacy, numeracy and science learning are provided in the context of play.

Teachers are currently accessing professional development to strengthen programme planning, assessment and evaluation. They also recognise the need to improve self-review practices. ERO recommends that teachers work with the Kindergarten Association to develop a more systematic approach to self review that will lead to ongoing improvement.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre 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)

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.