Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre - 24/01/2014

1 Background

Introduction

A Supplementary Review is undertaken at the discretion of a National Manager, Review Services in the Education Review Office (ERO).

A supplementary review evaluates the extent and effectiveness of actions a centre has taken towards addressing issues specified in a previous education review and/or any additional areas identified since that review.

Terms of Reference

This supplementary review is based on an evaluation of the performance of the Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre governing body and management in relation to areas identified in the March 2013 ERO report or issues identified since that review. The terms of reference for this review are to investigate:

  • the quality of the programme
  • the quality of self review
  • the quality of management
  • any other issues that arise in the course of this review.

2 Evaluation Findings

Background

Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre is one of two centres operated and supported by the Parnell Community Trust. The trust provides governance, administration and professional support services.

The centre operates in a purpose-built centre with a pleasant, spacious outdoor area adjacent to a public park. The centre caters for children from three months to five years of age.

At the time of the March 2013 ERO review, the centre was undergoing some difficulties with staffing and uncertainty relating to a restructure of the trust. The centre leader had been in her position for only a few months and teamwork had yet to be established. However, the centre managers were committed to rebuilding the centre’s capacity to provide high quality education and care. While this continues to be the case, ERO finds that there has been insufficient progress. ERO recommends that the service work with the Ministry of Education to develop a plan to improve the quality of provision for children.

Areas of progress

The Parnell Community Trust personnel continue to provide appropriate management support to centre staff. Trust personnel, with responsibility for the centre, are regularly in the centre and have continued to develop the systems and procedures to increase accountability. The new appraisal system, which incorporates expectations from job descriptions, has been implemented.

Professional development for individual teachers has been provided to strengthen leadership and effective practice. Support and guidance for provisionally registered teachers has been organised between the two trust centres. This has relieved the centre leader of this responsibility and provided leadership opportunities for other teachers in the centre.

Self-review systems have been implemented as a way of assisting decision-making about the day to day operation of the centre. Although self review could still improve, a start has been made to making necessary changes.

There have been several changes of centre staff in the past months. This has slowed progress towards developing a shared philosophy for the centre. However, a new philosophy has been discussed between staff and written as a guide to further develop effective teaching practice.

Children’s portfolios have been developed and include learning stories and photographs of children at play. Most teachers are linking what they record about children to the strands of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. Some identify next steps for children’s learning. A new display book is a prominent feature in the foyer for parents’ information. It is used to record children’s activities during each day. Parents are now more aware of their children’s activities during the day.

Teachers now have a stronger focus on child-initiated play with children becoming self-motivated and independent. Teachers generally manage children’s behaviour more consistently. It would be useful to change the emphasis and name of the policy from behaviour management to positive guidance, in line with Ministry of Education guidelines. This would send a clear message to teachers that the focus must be on supporting children to be socially competent.

The team leader makes herself available on a daily basis to greet and talk to parents/whānau about their children. The number of families accessing the centre has increased. The majority of children are between two and three and a half years of age. Those parents spoken to during the review noted that their children are settled and happy in the centre.

Areas for further improvement

The quality of the programme continues to need review and development. Teachers do not yet demonstrate collegial relationships that result in teamwork and a clear mutual focus on improving positive outcomes for children. The centre leader has not been able to support cohesive teaching relationships, shared responsibility and effective teaching and learning programmes. Supporting better leadership techniques is now a high priority for development.

The shift from teacher-directed programmes to a more child-led programme is a positive move. However, teachers still need to extend and deepen children’s learning through active engagement in conversations and children’s play. Some teachers use open-ended questions to support children’s social competence and independence. However, teachers do not yet regularly engage children in meaningful conversations that encourage children to share their ideas and support their sustained engagement in play.

Teachers are not yet sharing bicultural knowledge, te reo Māori me ngā tikanga Māori across their team. Some te reo is evident in children’s portfolios, and one teacher comfortably uses te reo in conversations with children. This remains a significant area for development.

The centre caters for children from a variety of cultural backgrounds. However, there is little in the programme to demonstrate that their cultures are celebrated and used to increase children’s understanding and empathy. The centre leader has made a point of introducing families from the same cultures to each other as a welcoming gesture.

Teachers’ empathy with children is not always evident. Children’s distress is not well managed and teachers’ expectations are sometimes unrealistic.

Teachers’ entries in portfolios are stand-alone snapshots of children’s participation in the programme. Teachers now need to record children’s learning over time as a way of highlighting children’s development. Teachers should also record information about what they know of children’s learning, their interests, whānau and life contexts.

Self review is not yet being used effectively to evaluate the quality of the programme teachers provide for children. More open, shared reviews of policies, procedures and the centre philosophy, should also help teachers to develop effective team practices.

Health and safety monitoring within the centre is poor. Management should now find ways to:

  • increase the accuracy of sleep recording
  • maintain the adequate spacing of cots and beds
  • ensure that supervision ratios in the outdoor playing space are met
  • ensure that items that could fall and injure in the case of an earthquake are secured
  • ensure better hygiene standards for toys and surfaces in the centre.

3 Actions Required for Compliance

In order to meet its agreed accountabilities, centre management must:

  • ensure that the health and safety issues listed above are met [Education (ECE) Regulations 2008,HS9]
  • ensure that the Registered Teacher Criteria are included in job descriptions and appraisal documentation. [s77C State Sector Act 1998, NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement]
  • provide a curriculum that meets the requirements of the regulations and Licensing Criteria [Education (ECE) Regulations 2008, 43 (a) (i),(ii), (iii), (iv), (v)].

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre will be within two years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

24 January 2014

Information about the Service

Location

Parnell, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10044

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

46 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll

49

Gender composition

Boys 28

Girls 21

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Other

2

34

5

8

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

24 January 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2013

November 2009

December 2006