John Street Kindergarten - 18/06/2014

1 Evaluation of John Street Kindergarten

How well placed is John 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

John Street Kindergarten is one of two kindergartens in the Waimate Kindergarten Association. It is located in the rural town of Waimate in South Canterbury. The kindergarten provides education for children aged from two to five years and operates within school hours. The teachers are very responsive to families’ wishes and needs around attendance. Most children attend part-time. The kindergarten has three qualified teachers and a teacher-aide in training. The kindergarten is well supported by the local community, staff and governing board of the Association.

The vision of the kindergarten is to provide “all children/tamariki with high quality early childhood learning/ako experiences.

Since the October 2010 ERO report, the teachers have strengthened the way they record how they include Māori perspectives in the programme. They have continued to improve their understanding of how they plan for children’s learning. They have also:

  • redeveloped the indoor and outdoor areas
  • made stronger links with local schools
  • made greater use of information and communication technologies (ICT) as a tool to support children’s learning.

This review was part of a cluster of two reviews in the Waimate Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children and their families benefit from the respectful, caring and nurturing relationships they have with their teachers. Teachers foster a culture where children look after each other kindly. Children play together in close-knit groups. Parents willingly spend time in the kindergarten.

The teachers review the centre philosophy every year. The philosophy is evident in practice. Stories in profile books and wall displays make the philosophy clear and show the learning that is valued in the centre.

Children are secure and show a strong sense of belonging in the kindergarten. The kindergarten also fosters children’s sense of belonging to Waimate, New Zealand, and the world. The fortnightly explorers group takes children out into the local community to explore.

Children are independent and self managing. This is achieved by the way teachers:

  • have consistent routines and expectations of behaviour
  • arrange equipment and resources to allow children to act independently
  • encourage children to make decisions and take on leadership roles at the centre.

Children play and learn in well-resourced cared for indoor and outdoor areas. This encourages an attitude of respect for the environment. Children choose from a wide range of experiences to support their learning. Outdoor play is accessible in all weathers because of the cover over the veranda, sandpit, carpentry workshop, and whare.

Strengths of the programme include:

  • a strong focus on early literacy and mathematics
  • the many experiences provided to support children’s physical development
  • the Māori dimension evident in the environment and profile books.

The senior teacher has supported the teachers in building their understanding and use of self review. Teachers reflect on what they do for children and make changes to practices over time.

Governance. The board and general manager work well together to ensure that the association is effectively governed and managed. Board members have useful ongoing training to help them understand their roles and responsibilities. There are comprehensive policies and procedures to guide the operations of the association and effective monitoring systems. There is alignment between the association and kindergarten reviews.

The board has a clear vision and strategic plan to guide the association’s future. Board members have identified that the upcoming review of the strategic plan will include a focus on outcomes for children. The board, general manager, and teachers seek ways to engage with local iwi and to build bicultural practices across the association. It would be useful to include bicultural development in the strategic plan to sustain and enhance the progress that has been made.

Association support for the kindergarten. The general manager and senior teacher provide strong professional leadership to the two kindergarten services. They visit each site regularly and visits are followed by detailed reports and actions and reflections for the teams to consider.

The teachers, general manager, senior teacher, board members and parents communicate frequently and work well together. There is a well-established culture of purposeful ongoing professional development and reflection within the organisation. The association is very supportive of emerging leadership within the teaching teams.

Regular teachers’ appraisals are aligned to the Registered Teacher Criteria and the Kindergarten Professional Standards. The senior teacher prepares a useful summary for the head teacher’s appraisal with clear goals and recommendations. These elements should now be included in all teacher appraisals. The appraisal process should also include evidence such as observations of teaching practice.

Key Next Steps

The teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that next steps are to continue to strengthen:

  • assessment and planning processes to develop next steps for learning that challenge children, determine the strategies teachers will use, and show progress over time
  • self review by being more evaluative, developing stronger indicators, and following through on action plans
  • bicultural practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

18 June 2014

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

Waimate

Ministry of Education profile number

5542

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

51

Gender composition

Girls: 28 Boys: 23

Ethnic composition

Māori NZ European/Pākehā Other

6 42 3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable

 
 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

18 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2010

 

Education Review

July 2007

 

Education Review

August 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.