Kids At Home Ltd Kiwi (30181) - 19/09/2008

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Kids At Home Ltd is a private company that provides home-based care for children from birth to school age. The service operates in Te Awamutu, Otorohanga, Cambridge and Hamilton. It aims to meet a community need and focuses on supporting parents with multiple birth families.

Since the last review, the service has addressed the recommendation in the previous ERO report related to professional development. Management has reviewed the approach taken to appraisal and now needs to ensure that it is consistently implemented.

Parents have input and choice when seeking an appropriate educator for their child. They have many opportunities to express their ideas and opinions about the learning and care for children. They enjoy the strong partnership they build with educators, management and teachers.

Warm, positive and affirming relationships and interactions are evident among children and adults resulting in high levels of trust. Throughout the service there is a high standard of care. Routines in the homes are well established and take account of the preferences of individual children and parents. Visiting teachers establish very good relationships with children, educators and parents. Children are supported well by educators and teachers in their social development and cooperative play. The next steps for management, with the support of visiting teachers, is to further develop and implement strategies to enhance individual educator understanding of planning, assessment and evaluation.

Educators create indoor and outdoor learning experiences that respond to children’s interests. Learning activities encourage language development, and children manipulate equipment, experience different textures and develop fine and gross motor skills. Children enjoy the choices and challenges that foster individual play and social development in the home and the community.

Meaningful literacy and numeracy experiences are naturally integrated into children’s play. Educators and teachers use oral language skilfully to strengthen children’s development in aspects of literacy and number concepts.

A wide variety of high quality educational resources enhance children’s learning and development. Educators borrow additional resources from the service’s toy library and from visiting teachers. These resources promote engaging experiences and encourage children to be creative, problem solve, explore and become familiar with the possibilities of equipment and their environment.

Management use effective systems to set a clear direction, using inclusive practices, to provide a high quality care service and sound educational opportunities.

Management and visiting teachers have a sound and shared understanding of the purpose of self review. Self-review practices are well established and contribute to improving the quality of learning programmes for children. The service now needs to review how well the Mäori dimension is being implemented to give children an appreciation of the bicultural heritage of Aoteoroa New Zealand.

This education review evaluates the quality of education and care, the interactions in the centre and the learning environment. It also reports on progress with self review and provision of a safe physical and emotional environment for children.

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 Kids At Home Ltd was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by Kids At Home Ltd 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 Kids At Home Ltd.

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.

The Quality of Education

Background

The service is particularly interested in supporting parents with multiple birth families and aims to provide a quality education and care service for infants, toddlers and young children. The philosophy of the service is to have children grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators.

ERO visited approximately twenty percent of caregivers in the network. Visits were made to caregivers caring for children in the caregiver’s home, nannies caring for children in their family home and volunteers caring for members of their own extended family and the monthly playgroup session. Observations were made of interactions between children, their caregiver and the visiting teacher; the learning environment and planning and programmes for children. In addition a number of parents using the service were interviewed.

Areas of good performance

Leadership: The service provides strong leadership opportunities for staff. Management sets a clear direction and uses inclusive practices to develop a high quality care service and sound educational opportunities. Visiting teachers establish very good relationships with children, educators and parents. Through ongoing professional learning, they keep up to date with good practice about early childhood teaching. Teachers demonstrate effective teaching and learning in their interactions with educators and children. Management and teachers share responsibility for implementing the philosophy of the service.

Parent partnership: The service communicates well with parents about the education and care of their children. Parents have input when seeking an appropriate educator for their child and can express their ideas and opinions about learning and care for their children. They are kept well informed through a range of practices on a daily formal and informal basis. Children’s profile books enrich parents understanding of children’s learning and development. Parents enjoy the strong partnership they build with educators, management and teachers.

Relationships and interactions: Warm, positive and affirming relationships and interactions are evident among children and adults and there are high levels of trust. A high standard of care was observed in the homes visited. Routines are well established and take account of the preferences of individual children and parents. Children are developing social skills and enjoy playing cooperatively.

Learning experiences: Educators create indoor and outdoor learning experiences that respond to children’s interests. Learning activities encourage language development and children can manipulate equipment, experience different textures, and develop fine and gross motor skills. Children enjoy the opportunities of choice and challenge that foster individual play and social development in the home and the community.

Resources: Both educators and the service offer a wide variety of high quality resources to enhance children’s learning and development. Educators borrow additional resources from the service’s toy library. These resources promote engaging experiences and encourage children to be creative, problem solve, explore and become familiar with the possibilities of equipment and their environment.

Literacy: Meaningful literacy and numeracy experiences are naturally integrated in children’s play. Educators and teachers use oral language skilfully to strengthen children’s development in aspects of literacy. Adults talk with children so that they understand what is happening and develop language skills to communicate in verbal and non-verbal ways. Books and music play an integral part in developing these skills. Children begin to develop a mathematical vocabulary through having fun with numbers and learning to use them within family situations. Children are learning skills and concepts in literacy and numeracy and how to use them in daily life.

Management systems: Effective management systems guide staff to meet the goals outlined in the philosophy and strategic plan. Staff and educators provide a responsive and flexible service to achieve client and community needs. Strong monitoring systems maintain standards in areas relating to the safety and care of children. Parents can be confident that their children are learning and being cared for in a safe home environment.

Areas for improvement

Professional learning for educators: While visiting teachers help educators develop their learning programmes, there is a need to further support educators to improve the provision of these programmes. Management and visiting teachers need to implement strategies that enhance educator understanding of programme planning, assessment and evaluation. A more responsive approach to planning for children’s learning by educators and visiting teachers is likely to lead to better learning outcomes for children.

Mäori perspectives: The service needs to undertake reviews on how the Mäori dimension is being implemented to reflect its philosophy. Information gathered from this review should provide management with the next steps for realising this philosophical goal. An outcome should be that children gain an appreciation of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

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.

Progress with Self Review

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which self review is understood and used in this service to improve practice and outcomes for children.

Self review in Kids At Home Ltdis based on well-developed systems and practices.

Areas of good performance

Understanding self review: Management and visiting teachers have a sound and shared understanding of the purpose of self review. Self review is supported by ongoing professional learning and development that has given staff further knowledge and helped them to see its value. Focused links are being made to learning and teaching programmes and visiting teacher and educator practice. Embedded self-review practices are contributing to improving the quality of learning programmes for children.

Self-review process: A well-planned approach to self review is being used for significant aspects of this service. Both planned and spontaneous reviews are regularly undertaken. Information is gathered from a variety of sources including parents, educators and visiting teachers ideas, surveys and children’s profile books. Management and visiting teachers analyse the information to identify interventions and make decisions to change their practice. Self review findings are leading to improvements in the quality of education and care.

4. Management Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the management and staff of Kids At Home Ltd 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 current practice the management should:

    • ensure that all visiting teachers are appraised annually to monitor, affirm and enhance their practice.

    5. Recommendation

    ERO and the service arranger agreed that:

    1. management, with the support of visiting teachers, enhance educators’ understanding and use of planning, assessment and evaluation.

    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.

    Gavin J Baumberg

    Acting Area Manager

    for Chief Review Officer

    19 November 2008

    About the Service

    Location

    Te Awamutu

    Ministry of Education profile number

    30181

    Type

    Homebased Care

    Roll Number

    71

    Gender composition  

    Girls 36

    Boys 35

    Ethnic composition  

    NZ European/Päkehä 57

    NZ Mäori 11

    Other 3

    Review team onsite Month and

    September 2008

    Date of this report

    19 November 2008

    Previous ERO reports

    Education Review October 2005

    To the Parents and Community of Kids At Home Ltd

    These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Kids At Home Ltd.

    Kids At Home Ltd is a private company that provides home-based care for children from birth to school age. The service operates in Te Awamutu, Otorohanga, Cambridge and Hamilton. It aims to meet a community need and focuses on supporting parents with multiple birth families.

    Since the last review, the service has addressed the recommendation in the previous ERO report related to professional development. Management has reviewed the approach taken to appraisal and now needs to ensure that it is consistently implemented.

    Parents have input and choice when seeking an appropriate educator for their child. They have many opportunities to express their ideas and opinions about the learning and care for children. They enjoy the strong partnership they build with educators, management and teachers.

    Warm, positive and affirming relationships and interactions are evident among children and adults resulting in high levels of trust. Throughout the service there is a high standard of care. Routines in the homes are well established and take account of the preferences of individual children and parents. Visiting teachers establish very good relationships with children, educators and parents. Children are supported well by educators and teachers in their social development and cooperative play. The next steps for management, with the support of visiting teachers, is to further develop and implement strategies to enhance individual educator understanding of planning, assessment and evaluation.

    Educators create indoor and outdoor learning experiences that respond to children’s interests. Learning activities encourage language development, and children manipulate equipment, experience different textures and develop fine and gross motor skills. Children enjoy the choices and challenges that foster individual play and social development in the home and the community.

    Meaningful literacy and numeracy experiences are naturally integrated into children’s play. Educators and teachers use oral language skilfully to strengthen children’s development in aspects of literacy and number concepts.

    A wide variety of high quality educational resources enhance children’s learning and development. Educators borrow additional resources from the service’s toy library and from visiting teachers. These resources promote engaging experiences and encourage children to be creative, problem solve, explore and become familiar with the possibilities of equipment and their environment.

    Management use effective systems to set a clear direction, using inclusive practices, to provide a high quality care service and sound educational opportunities.

    Management and visiting teachers have a sound and shared understanding of the purpose of self review. Self-review practices are well established and contribute to improving the quality of learning programmes for children. The service now needs to review how well the Mäori dimension is being implemented to give children an appreciation of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

    This education review evaluates the quality of education and care, the interactions in the centre and the learning environment. It also reports on progress with self review and provision of a safe physical and emotional environment for children.

    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.

    Gavin J Baumberg

    Acting Area Manager

    for Chief Review Officer