Homai Early Childhood Centre - 11/10/2013

1 Evaluation of Homai Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Homai Early Childhood Centre 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

Homai Early Childhood Centre is part of the Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ (BLENNZ) campus in Manurewa. In 2011 the centre relocated into the new BLENNZ building which provides a high quality, specialised environment for blind, deaf/blind and low vision learners. The service provides a combination of three and six-hour sessions exclusively for blind and low vision children from birth to school age in small groups of seven or eight and at times up to twelve to fouteen. Children attend up to twice a week and may attend either independent sessions or come with family support to the whānau group. The centre caters for culturally diverse families from throughout Auckland, some children being transported to the centre by taxi.

The centre is governed by the Homai Early Childhood Centre Education Trust (HECCET) which includes representatives from the school Trust Board, early childhood parents and the licensee. HECCET delegates the day to day management of the centre to the licensee who is supported by the senior teacher and an administrator. Centre leaders meet regularly and report bi-monthly to HECCET and the Ministry of Education. They receive cultural guidance and support from Te Whānau O Homai, a consultative group that upholds Māori protocols for BLENNZ.

Three fully registered teachers lead a large team of support staff and therapists in the care and education of children. Each child is also assigned a Resource Teacher: Vision (RTV). The RTV is an advocate who liaises between parties and assists with children's transition into community early childhood centres and schools.

The centre has a history of very positive ERO reports. In 2010 ERO identified that leadership, the quality of programmes, partnerships with parents and outcomes for children were areas of strength in the centre. Although there have since been some changes in staff these positive features continue to characterise the service.

The Review Findings

Teaching practices promote children's learning, wellbeing and independence. A focus on meaningful partnerships with parents, whānau and caregivers underpins collaborative decision making and programmes that are based on children's strengths, abilities and interests. Individual goals for each child guide their learning and incorporate parents’ aspirations for their child’s education, cultural recognition and personal development.

Teachers prioritise strategies that will enable children to become independent, capable learners who work well with others and actively explore their environment. Adults’ respectful conversations acknowledge children's competence and empower them to make their own decisions. In this setting toddlers are supported effectively within a mixed group. Children encourage each other and confidently engage in most of the traditional early childhood play areas.

Teachers respect and value children's languages, culture and identity. Through their good relationships with families, teachers know about children's backgrounds and encourage them to use resources that foster their sense of belonging and identity. Some teachers confidently integrate te reo in the programme and children are familiar with singing waiata and using karakia. Teachers are keen to enhance their responsiveness to children's cultures with further study and involvement on BLENNZ working parties for Tikanga Māori and Pacific Cultures. The challenge for teachers is to strengthen recognition of cultures in the environment and their expected outcomes for culture and language-based goals.

Children's preparation for living in the community and going to school is an important aspect of the service. Those with more complex needs who attend school at the Homai campus have many well supported opportunities to become familiar with the nearby classroom, teacher and students. Children who will attend mainstream schools are fully transitioned into a community early childhood centre prior to school, to build familiarity with an environment with more children, fewer adults and less low-vision resources. Teachers and RTVs support children very well through these transitions, visiting new environments with them, encouraging their new teachers to visit Homai and sharing teaching strategies that will support continuity in learning.

Centre leaders and teachers engage in ongoing self review that is focused on improving practices and outcomes for children. Appraisal processes foster teachers own reflections and they are supported to participate in both internal and external professional development as individuals and as a group. Teachers share their skills and knowledge with other teachers, parents and students who come for residential visits from throughout New Zealand to attend centre sessions and workshops. The centre is well placed to build the capacity of teachers and disseminate knowledge of blind learners beyond the BLENNZ campus.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and ERO agree that the next steps for centre development should include:

  • continuing to review and develop the ways children's cultures can be made more apparent in centre documentation, including assessment portfolios
  • refining the range of centre policies and ensuring they align well with the early childhood licensing criteria.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Homai Early Childhood Centre 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 Homai Early Childhood Centre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

11 October 2013

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

Manurewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

25294

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

14 children, including up to 14 aged under 2

Service roll

25

Gender composition

Girls 13 Boys 12

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Iranian

Chinese

Colombian

Cook Island Māori

Fijian Indian

Tongan

6

7

5

2

1

1

1

1

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:2

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:2

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

11 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

August 2010

 

Education Review

June 2007

 

Education Review

June 2004

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.