Home Grown Kids (Wellington) - 03/02/2009

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Home Grown Kids 30061 is a home-based care network located in Wellington. It is one of nine networks established under the umbrella of Home Grown Kids Ltd. This organisation was previously known as New Zealand Nanny Support Services Limited (NZNSS). Since the last review it has expanded to include care and education by educators in homes. A feature of the organisation is management’s commitment to supporting the diverse needs of families.

This review evaluates the quality of education and care provided by a sample group of educators in homes and the organisation that manage these arrangements. Management has made steady progress in addressing areas for improvement identified in the previous report. The directors and coordinator manager have worked hard to develop effective management systems, open and inclusive communication systems and provide relevant and meaningful professional development for coordinators.

Close, trusting relationships are fostered throughout the network. Children receive good quality care in safe environments that reflect the uniqueness of each home. Interactions between children, educators and coordinators are warm, caring and respectful. The programme encourages children to develop their own interests, confidence, knowledge and social skills as they work and play alongside supportive adults. Continued support and development in assessment, planning and evaluation is required to further improve the quality of education and care across the network.

Coordinators skilfully support educators to extend and develop their knowledge and understanding about how children learn. During regular visits they provide additional resources to enhance children’s play and model how adults can use these resources to extend children learning. Children’s care and experiences are recorded in daily diaries and learning journals and provide a valuable record for families. Informal conversations with families provide ongoing useful information during transition into and from the homes.

Development of the relationships between coordinators and parents and greater involvement by parents in decision making is likely to strengthen this partnership and the quality of education children receive. Parents spoken to expressed high levels of appreciation for the service being provided. Coordinators and educators know children well and are working cooperatively with parents to meet their learning and care needs.

Future Action 

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interests of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again as part of the regular review cycle.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 30061 was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 30061 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 service (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children at Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 30061.

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; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below. [Add headings (style Heading 2- use initial caps) relating to each of these focus areas]

The Quality of Education

Background

Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 30061 network endeavours to provide quality care and education for children in a home based environment. Management aims to provide educators with the skills and knowledge to develop children to their full potential. They integrate Te WhārikiNew Zealand’s Early Childhood Curriculum where the principles and goals underpin the programme they provide for children.

Areas of good performance

Organisational management: The directors and management team have worked hard to develop effective systems to support the operation of the organisation. They provide clear expectations and make these known through extensive documentation and communication practices. Strong relationships have been developed between management and the coordinator. The directors place priority on providing quality care and education for children and their families who access the service.

Communication and consultation: A wide range of effective communication systems is evident throughout the organisation. These include regular national and regional meetings, and the use of information and communication technologies such as a website, email and the integration of computers in the programme. In addition, regular newsletters provide opportunities for coordinators, educators and parents to have input into policy and procedures. Open and accessible communication practice provides opportunities for all stakeholders to become informed and contribute to the service.

Professional support: The organisation continues to provide significant professional support at all levels of the service. Effective employment practices including robust appraisal systems guides practice, professional development and training. The coordinator manager provides ongoing support and feedback to coordinators through visits, correspondence and meetings. She continues to review and develop educational practice in the network and enhances the coordinator’s ability to support educators in their provision for children.

Coordinators’ role: Strong and positive relationships are evident between coordinators and educators. Coordinators skilfully engage in meaningful learning conversations with educators and children to develop and extend their knowledge and learning. During regular visits they supply additional resources to support children’s emerging interests. In addition health and safety checks are completed in line with the home based care order to monitor safety of the environment. Coordinators and educators work collectively to provide a safe and meaningful learning experience for children.

Interactions: Warm, caring and respectful interactions between children and educators are evident in the homes. Children approach adults readily for care and comfort, and the resources they need to extend their play. Educators involve themselves in play and through conversations extend their interest and emerging ideas. They respond appropriately to their contributions, care needs and achievement. Educators and coordinators guide children’s behaviour positively and consistently encourage cooperation and social interactions. Children are developing confidence, knowledge and social skills to support their ongoing learning.

Relationships with families: Families and educators have established close and trusting relationships. Children settle in the educator’s homes easily and smooth transitions occur for parents and children. Ongoing discussions between adults at contact time and in the daily diaries give parents many opportunities to find out about their child’s day. In addition, learning journals also support the sharing of information about children’s learning. Parents spoken to expressed high levels of appreciation for the service being provided. Educators know children well and are working cooperatively with parents to meet their learning and care needs.

Learning environments: Children receive good quality care and education in a range of safe and secure environments that support their growth and development. These reflect the uniqueness of each educator and family home that care is provided in. Children have ready access to an appropriate range of resources in both indoor and outdoor settings. Educators utilize resources and activities such as books, puzzles, gardening and baking to extend children’s language and foster their curiosity about everyday events. ERO observed children being well supervised by adults who are focused on meeting their education and care needs in these environments.

Learning programme: Coordinators and educators work informally together to plan and implement an appropriate programme for children. Educators receive valuable feedback from coordinators who sensitively manage and develop their skills in including aspects of Te Whāriki and documenting the significant learning in journals. Together they discuss children’s learning and emerging interests, gather evidence and develop strategies and next steps for children. These discussions form the basis of the planning and evaluation process for the programme. Children enjoy a programme that is responsive to their interests and supports their ongoing development.

Areas for improvement

Assessment, planning and evaluation: Coordinators with support of management need to review and consolidate planning, assessment and evaluation practice. Documented expectations for programme planning are yet to be consistently implemented. Currently the majority of planning is informal and not well documented. The new format for visitor notes needs to be implemented into practice. In addition, there is a need to streamline and link together current assessment tools into a more cohesive approach to assessment. Strengthening assessment, planning and evaluation practice is likely to enhance the quality of education and care for children.

Planning for additional learning experiences: Coordinators provide a range of additional learning opportunities for educators and children in their care. These include playgroups, excursions and special events. The planning and evaluation of these experiences needs to be improved to identify and document learning objectives, make links to individual children’s interests and evaluate the effectiveness of these activities. In addition, involving parents, educators and children in the decision making process about such activities is likely to improve the programme for children.

Developing parent partnership: Management and ERO have identified the need to strengthen parent involvement in the organisation. Currently the contact between parents and coordinators provides a challenge for the network. It is important for coordinators to develop ways to encourage and involve parents in decision making and participation in their child’s learning. A focus on face-to-face contact and consultation about areas that are relevant to parents is likely to develop meaningful relationships at this level and foster parents’ involvement.

3. Areas of National Interest

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Māori Children

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which this service carries out a process to identify and respond to the aspirations and expectations of the parents and whānau of Māorichildren and focuses on the potential of Māori children to develop as competent and capable learners.

Area for improvement

Principles that underpin Mäori involvement in the service: Management, coordinators and educators are at an early stage of understanding, reflecting and implementing a Mäori dimension into the service. While they have developed a bicultural policy there is little evidence of how this will be realised in the programme. Parents and children who identify as Mäori experience the same level of inclusiveness, involvement and quality of education and care as for all families. However the service is yet to identify and respond specifically to the aspirations and expectations of parents and whänau of Mäori children.

4. Management Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the management and staff of Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 30061 completed an ERO Home-Based Care Management Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to: 

  • administration;
  • health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management; and
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they 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; and
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

In order to improve practice management should:

  • continue to strengthen the quality assurance process in aspects of health and safety. Emphasis should be placed on empowering educators to identify emerging health and safety issues. Improving this process is likely to support educators’ ability to monitor and maintain a safe environment on a daily basis and identify the support and training they may need to improve their work with children.

5. Recommendations

ERO and the service arranger agreed that management and coordinators:

  1. undertake professional learning and development to build the understanding, consultation practices and implementation of Māori perspectives and aspirations across the service;
  2. continue to undertake professional development in assessment, planning and evaluation to improve the quality of learning programme for children; and
  3. consult with parents to build on the parent partnership within the network.

6. Future Action  

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interests of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again as part of the regular review cycle.

Kathleen Atkins

Area Manager

for Chief Review Officer

3 February 2009

About the Service

Location 

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

30061

Type

Home-Based Care

Roll Number

51

Gender composition 

Girls 30

Boys 21

Ethnic composition 

New Zealand European/Päkehä 41

New Zealand Mäori 2

Samoan 2

Other 6

Review team onsite 

November 2008

Date of this report 

3 February 2009 

Previous ERO reports 

Education Review February 2006

To the Parents and Community of Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 30061

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Home Grown Kids (Wellington) 30061.

Home Grown Kids 30061 is a home-based care network located in Wellington. It is one of nine networks established under the umbrella of Home Grown Kids Ltd. This organisation was previously known as New Zealand Nanny Support Services Limited (NZNSS). Since the last review it has expanded to include care and education by educators in homes. A feature of the organisation is management’s commitment to supporting the diverse needs of families.

This review evaluates the quality of education and care provided by a sample group of educators in homes and the organisation that manage these arrangements. Management has made steady progress in addressing areas for improvement identified in the previous report. The directors and coordinator manager have worked hard to develop effective management systems, open and inclusive communication systems and provide relevant and meaningful professional development for coordinators.

Close, trusting relationships are fostered throughout the network. Children receive good quality care in safe environments that reflect the uniqueness of each home. Interactions between children, educators and coordinators are warm, caring and respectful. The programme encourages children to develop their own interests, confidence, knowledge and social skills as they work and play alongside supportive adults. Continued support and development in assessment, planning and evaluation is required to further improve the quality of education and care across the network.

Coordinators skilfully support educators to extend and develop their knowledge and understanding about how children learn. During regular visits they provide additional resources to enhance children’s play and model how adults can use these resources to extend children learning. Children’s care and experiences are recorded in daily diaries and learning journals and provide a valuable record for families. Informal conversations with families provide ongoing useful information during transition into and from the homes.

Development of the relationships between coordinators and parents and greater involvement by parents in decision making is likely to strengthen this partnership and the quality of education children receive. Parents spoken to expressed high levels of appreciation for the service being provided. Coordinators and educators know children well and are working cooperatively with parents to meet their learning and care needs.

Future Action 

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interests of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again as part of the regular review cycle.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood service we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management 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 service or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Kathleen Atkins

Area Manager

for Chief Review Officer