Junior Explorers - 17/07/2013

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Junior Explorers is a privately owned home-based care company of five networks administered from Tauranga. The company was previously known as Bay Family Homebased Childcare and changed its name in February 2013.

Junior Explorers - Bay 5 is a standard network with some educators yet to complete their training. The educators provide education and care in their own homes for up to four children at a time. They are supported and monitored by a qualified visiting teacher. The network is based in the Taupo region. Currently, there are 64 children enrolled, of whom 21 are identified as Māori. This is the first ERO report for this network.

There has been significant growth within the company with the addition of two networks and associated staff. The programme philosophy has been reviewed by staff, in consultation with parents. There is a continuing emphasis on developing parent partnerships to foster children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging.

During this review, ERO found that children receive very good-quality education and care in family-like surroundings. Babies and young children are well nurtured and cared for. Educators use a range of effective teaching strategies to foster positive behaviour and build children’s social skills. They respond effectively to children’s interests, development and learning with opportunities for participation in a variety of play and explorative activities. These include outings to playgroup, gym visits and music group participation with other preschool children and each term there is a planned Kids Day Out, offering different opportunities within the community. Attractive and interesting portfolios provide parents with ongoing records of their child’s programme participation and learning. Children are confident and settled.

ERO, the director and visiting teacher have agreed on the areas for continued development. These are related to promoting agreed best practices and building bicultural perspectives in to the programmes provided for children.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again within three years.

2 The Focus of the Review

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
  • the interactions between children and adults.

The Quality of Education

Background

Junior Explorers - Bay 5 covers homes in and around the Taupo region. Reviewers observed the programme in action in three educators’ homes. These visits were arranged by the company. The review was carried out during the school holidays and consequently activities such as playgroups, gym sessions and music groups were not operating.

The company’s philosophy emphasises the importance of the parents’ wishes in the appropriate placement of children with educators who are most responsive to their needs. In addition, it focuses on children and educators together exploring, questioning and making sense of the world around them.

Areas of good performance

Children receive good quality education and care. In the homes visited by ERO, educators respond to children’s emotional and physical needs. Educators use a range of effective strategies to foster positive behaviour and build social skills. Children are confident and settled. Babies and toddlers benefit from nurturing relationships in a family-like setting where adults and children know each other well. Their daily routines and experiences are consistently reported to parents.

Educators respond effectively to children’s interests, development and learning. They model and encourage oral language and early literacy skills through conversations and play. Children have opportunities to participate in creative activities, physical and imaginary play, and authentic everyday learning experiences. Their learning opportunities are extended through participation in playgroups, gym classes, library visits and music groups and other outings organised by the educators and visiting teacher. Educators provide children with extra resources through the company’s toy library. Well-presented and interesting portfolios provide parents with ongoing records of children’s participation in the programme.

The director and visiting teachers provide high-quality professional leadership and direction for the organisation. They work as a collaborative team within a framework of high trust and associated accountability. This team has established very clear expectations and well-documented guidelines for all aspects of operations, including the responsibilities of educators and the visiting teacher. These guidelines promote effective practice in:

  • self review that is focused on continuous improvement
  • staff appraisal which provides affirmation and support for further development
  • health and safety monitoring
  • programme planning and assessment
  • parent participation and feedback about the programme for their child.

The visiting teacher effectively supports and guides educators as they teach and care for children in their homes. She visits each home regularly and provides timely professional advice and resources. She knows children and their families well and offers support to parents as needed. Children, educators and parents benefit from her professional knowledge and experience.

Areas for development and review

ERO, the director and visiting teacher agree the next steps are to continue the development to ensure that the company’s accepted understandings of best practice in ECE are consistently promoted to educators by visiting teachers. Particular attention should be given to:

  • early literacy and mathematics learning practices
  • assessment, planning and evaluation processes
  • implementing practices that guide visiting teachers to provide constructive feedback to educators in relation to agreed best practice.

In addition, visiting teachers should continue to build the capacity of educators through effective goal setting and more formal training programmes, and implement expectations for the integration of bicultural perspectives throughout the programme for children.

3 Management Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the management and staff of Junior Explorers - Bay 5 completed an ERO Home-Based Education and Care 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:

  • curriculum standard
  • premises and facilities standard
  • health and safety practices standard
  • governance management and administration standard.

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
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

4 Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again within three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

17 July 2013

About the Service

Location

Taupo

Ministry of Education profile number

45685

Service type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Service roll

64

Gender composition

Boys 36 Girls 28

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other Asian

Other

31

21

1

11

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

17 July 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports