George Street Kindergarten - 22/12/2016

1 Evaluation of George Street Kindergarten

How well placed is George Street 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

George Street Kindergarten is a well established service that is licensed for children between the ages of two and five years. The kindergarten offers both three and six-hour sessions to meet the changing needs of working parents and the local rural community. It operates within the policies and management framework of the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association. An education manager (EM) visits the kindergarten and provides leadership and curriculum support for teachers.

Children and their families are predominantly NZ European/Pākehā and children attending are all over 3 years of age. Many families have been involved in the kindergarten for many years, with younger siblings and second generations of children now attending. There has been an increase in the number of families attending who have recently moved into the area. An interim head teacher has been on a fixed term contract for 2016 and has subsequently been appointed to the permanent position.

The 2013 ERO report suggested that the next key steps for kindergarten development should include ongoing refinement of self review, more robust programme evaluation, and promoting children's leadership of their own learning. Teachers have made good progress in these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of five kindergarten reviews in the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are capable, confident independent learners. They are articulate, creative and friendly. They engage in discussions with their friends, and make decisions based on their ideas. They are self-sufficient, and sustain their play for long periods. Children show leadership during games and mat times. They are accepting of others and express empathy for peers needing support.

Programmes are based on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children's home knowledge is valued and is shared with others. Literacy, numeracy and science are interwoven naturally into the programme. Teachers often develop new initiatives. There is a strong focus on environmental sustainability and making connections with nature through the Ngāhere Explorers programme.

Teachers' practice is becoming more culturally responsive. Meaningful relationships are being established with local hapū and iwi. Staff are keen to increase their knowledge about te ao Māori and find ways to weave culture more authentically through the curriculum. Māori children are comfortable in the kindergarten and some confidently use te reo me ōna tikanga Māori, as their normal base for communication and thinking.

Teachers are inclusive and work with children sensitively. They support children with special learning needs well, with input from the community and external support agencies.

Planning, assessment and evaluation processes are sound and information is shared with parents through an online digital portal. Teachers could continue to develop these online communications with parents to help make their planning for children's learning more robust.

Teachers reflect on ways to adapt their practices to support children in their learning. Children's interests are used to provoke and extend their knowledge about a range of topics. Teachers are working towards strengthening relationships with local schools to help prepare them for positive transitions to school.

The parent support group works in partnership with teachers to support children's learning. Communications through regular newsletters, daily conversations and online communications allow parents and teachers to share and collaborate in planning for children's learning.

The interim head teacher has provided skilled leadership and is maintaining stability in kindergarten operations. Teachers build leadership skills by facilitating training sessions to share their expertise and skills with colleagues. Leadership development is well supported by the Association.

Well established internal evaluation is helping teachers to refine systems and improve kindergarten operations. An in-depth review of the centre's philosophy has resulted in ongoing improvements.

The Association continues to provide very good support for the kindergarten. The systems and personnel in place to support kindergarten operations, and ongoing review and monitoring, contribute to efficient management practices. Association leaders establish overarching long-term goals so that teachers can align their annual plan with the Association's strategic direction. They are responsive to changing community needs and variable hours of operation provide flexibility for families. Leaders continue to adapt personnel systems, including teacher appraisal, in response to changing requirements.

The Association focuses on continuous improvement in kindergarten operations and educational outcomes for children. They have high expectations for teachers to use evidence based, reflective practices. The Association has a strong commitment to bicultural practices, working in partnership with Māori whānau and each kindergarten's community. Leaders embrace cultural diversity and are currently focusing on strategies to promote success for Pacific learners. 

Key Next Steps

Teachers and the education manager agree that the next steps for kindergarten development could include:

  • continuing to strengthen relationships with the parent community, including whānau, hapū and iwi Māori

  • making programme planning more robust

  • documenting outcomes for children as a result of internal evaluation.

Teachers recognise that their community is becoming more culturally diverse and that it is timely to review and build on cultural responsiveness in kindergarten programmes and operations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of George Street 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 George Street Kindergarten will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 December 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

Waiuku, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5120

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll

49

Gender composition

Boys 30 Girls 19

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

other

4

42

5

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

October 2016

Date of this report

22 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2013

Education Review

February 2010

Education Review

February 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.