Home Grown Kids (Wellington) - 02/06/2015

1. Evaluation of Home Grown Kids (Wellington)

How well placed is Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 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

Home Grown Kids (Wellington) is one of nine privately-owned home-based education and care networks operating nationally under the umbrella of Home Grown Kids, based in Tauranga. The network covers Wellington city and the Hutt Valley. A national team of three directors provides governance and management support for all Home Grown Kids services. A regional manager, based in Christchurch, supports the two visiting teachers working in this network.

The visiting teachers’ role is to support educators to implement suitable early learning programmes for children in their homes. Home Grown Kids offers two models of education and care: a Home Educator model, where an educator works in their own home; and a Nanny Educator model, where an educator works in a family’s home. A large proportion of the educators in this network are nannies. There are 55 children enrolled and four identify as Maori.

The two long-term visiting teachers work collaboratively to manage daily operation. They are fully registered, experienced early childhood practitioners.

The philosophy of Home Grown Kids emphasises the importance of valuing and supporting families’ cultures, building partnerships, and reciprocal, responsive relationships, with parents and whānau.

This review is one of two home-based network reviews of Home Grown services. The previous ERO review was in 2009.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from being able to participate in a variety of learning experiences in educators’ homes and the local community. Many attend Home Grown Kids' playgroups and organised excursions which provide new challenges and opportunities to socialise.

A wide range of learning materials is provided by the service and visiting teachers to support educators to develop learning experiences for children in their care.

Provision for children aged up to two years is carefully considered. Matching of children to educators is undertaken collaboratively with families, with sensitivity to their needs. Useful professional learning and development has been undertaken by visiting teachers to support their approach.

Parents’ input and feedback is valued. A recent focus on strengthening relationships between visiting teachers, families and whānau has resulted in improved communication after each home visit. Parents’ and whānau aspirations for their children’s learning are now sought. Teachers agree they need to continue to:

  • develop parents’ knowledge of, and participation in, their children’s learning programme
  • support educators to purposefully plan to meet parent aspirations for their child.

The learning programme does not yet reflect the intent of the service's cultural policy. While visiting teachers are providing support for educators to understand and use Māori protocols and language, more development is needed at management level. Leadership that supports shared understanding, across the team, of Treaty-based practice and promotes the participation of Māori in the service, is a next development step.

A broad policy guideline, website information and an individualised approach provide good support for children’s transitions into and out of the service. Visiting teachers should continue to seek up-to-date information and research links between early childhood and school programmes to support their approach.

Children with additional learning needs are welcome at Home Grown Kids services. Visiting teachers are aware of appropriate community support and resources to aid participation of these children in learning programmes.

Visiting teachers’ support for educators is well developed. Playgroups and workshops that they organise are used effectively to introduce play ideas and develop educators’ practice. Home visits include checks that health and safety requirements are met and learning experiences are in place for children. There is a focus on child-led learning in homes. Literacy, mathematics, science and physical play are integrated into learning programmes. Educators regularly record information about aspects of learning and special happenings for individuals, some linked to the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. Visiting teachers also record children’s emerging interests and suggestions for next development steps. Photographs and emails about children’s wellbeing and progress are regularly shared with parents.

Good quality models of assessment are used by visiting teachers to support educators’ understanding of planning for learning. Their visit notes would be improved by including ideas about educators’ next development steps as learning facilitators. A continued focus on helping educators understand and describe children’s learning should also be useful.

Visiting teachers demonstrate high levels of commitment to their roles and support for each other. Good relationships and open communication are evident between them and management. They are proactive in seeking professional learning and development opportunities. Feedback from educators, parents and whānau is sought and valued to support development planning.

A revised appraisal process promotes teachers’ reflection on their professional requirements. When fully implemented, this should help to identify priorities to strengthen practice. Management agrees that a next step is to set goals for each teacher’s development linked to their own and the service’s priorities. Their progress should also be supported through the provision of regular constructive feedback and observations of their practice by the appraiser. The directors plan to increase opportunities for face-to- face contact between the regional manager and visiting teachers to enable this to happen.

Visiting teachers are reflective and improvement focused. They regularly use new learning and research to plan for and make positive changes to their practice. Self review is valued as a tool to promote improvement. A useful framework has been adopted to support investigation into their practice and decision making. Teachers agree their next steps should be to strengthen their approach through developing a more evaluative process that measures the quality and effectiveness of their initiatives and practices on outcomes for children.

The roles and responsibilities of the three directors are suitably defined to support the regional managers and visiting teachers manage financial, administrative and legislative requirements. A range of documents outlines expectations linked to teaching, learning and health and safety. Considerable investment has been made to resource communication across the services and visiting teachers and educators to undertake their roles.

Systems that support sustainable practice and improvement require development at management and governance level. Some guidelines supporting curriculum and operation need updating and clarifying. Strategic and annual planning, and regular review at governance level that supports continual improvement, is not yet in place. While suitable procedures support children’s wellbeing and safety in homes, a more rigorous quality assurance process linked to managing the visiting teachers’ roles, is necessary. A collaborative review of practice in relation to the overarching philosophy that guides teaching, learning and operation should also be a useful next step to support decision making about priorities for development.

Key Next Steps

Management needs to focus on strengthening systems that promote and sustain good practice. This should include:

  • collaborative review and further definition of the philosophy and strategic priorities
  • providing additional leadership for curriculum, self review and Treaty–based practice
  • the continued development, review and implementation of the teacher appraisal process
  • further development and updating of some written guidelines linked to roles, responsibilities and legal requirements
  • strengthened quality assurance, linked to the visiting teachers’ role.

Visiting teachers should focus on continuing to strengthen their:

  • understanding and use of evaluative review
  • support for educators
  • partnership with parents
  • cultural responsiveness, particularly in relation to bicultural practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 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.

ERO identified an area of non compliance:

The service provider must ensure:

  • that whenever children leave premises on an outing or excursion, assessment and management of risk is undertaken. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS14]

To improve current practice, the service provider should ensure, first-aid guidelines reflect the need for educators to have attained first-aid certificates prior to commencing work in their education and care roles.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Home Grown Kids (Wellington) will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

2 June 2015

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 Home-based Education and Care Service

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

30061

Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll

55

Standard or Quality Funded

Standard

Gender composition

Girls 33

Boys 22

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific ethnic groups

Other ethnic groups

4

39

2

10

Number of qualified coordinators in the network

2

Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2

1:2

 

Over 2

1:4

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

2 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2009

 

Education Review

February 2006

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.