Kids at Home Northland 2 - 23/06/2008

1 About the Centre

Location

Maunu, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

10411

Type

Home-based Network

Number licensed for

60 children, including 20 aged under 2

Roll number

45

Gender composition

Girls 25, Boys 20

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākeha 29

Māori 10

African 2

other 4

Review team on site

April 2008

Date of this report

23 June 2008

Previous ERO reports

No previous report

2 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

BJ’s Homebased Childcare Services Ltd operates a home-based childcare and education service. It was established in 2004 to provide an organisational base for the provision of home-based childcare in Whangarei and the rural towns and districts in Northland. This is the first review of the service.

BJ’s caregivers provide home-based care and education for children from birth to school age in the caregivers’ own homes. Health, safety and compliance checks are systematic and regular, and a handbook for all caregivers contains the expectations and policies of the organisation. Good quality equipment and resources support children’s play and developmental needs. Parents contacted in the course of this review expressed a high level of satisfaction with the care and education provided for their children.

Respectful and responsive relationships between caregivers, coordinators, children and their families are a special characteristic of home-based care. Caregivers know the children extremely well and attend quickly to their physical and emotional needs. Caregivers are appreciative of the affirming and supportive visits provided by fully qualified coordinators. Children have warm relationships with coordinators and respond enthusiastically to their visits. Children are comfortable and confident in their surroundings and demonstrate a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging.

Children benefit from the provision of good opportunities to play and learn in caregivers’ homes. These learning experiences are enriched by excursions to community facilities. Playgroups provide opportunities for children to socialise with peers and engage in a wider variety of activities. Coordinators should continue to support caregivers in using strategies to notice and further extend children’s interests, increase the complexity of their play and enrich their educational opportunities. Coordinators are provided with appropriate information communication technologies, including digital cameras, to assist caregivers to document learning experiences that identify children’s significant learning, their interests, and subsequent planning.

The arranger and coordinators work collaboratively to ensure children receive good quality home-based care and education. They have a philosophical belief in benefits of home-based care and learning. The owner has a strong commitment to providing ongoing education and training to staff and caregivers. Management has developed a framework of systems, policies and procedures that underpins service operations. The management team is aware that better documentation of discussions and processes would help to ensure that the arranger has a clear overview of service practices and provision.

This report evaluates the quality of education and care provided by network two of BJ’s home-based childcare services. ERO interviewed parents, coordinators and the arranger and examined relevant documentation. Review officers observed children in the homes of a selection of caregivers, attended playgroup and surveyed the parents of children using the service. The report identifies many areas of good performance and some areas for further development. The report includes recommendations that the management team document processes to ensure transparency and promote ongoing improvement, and that managers supports caregivers to extend children’s learning opportunities.

Future Action

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

3 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of BJ's Homebased Childcare Service Ltd 2 was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre 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 centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atBJ's Homebased Childcare Service Ltd 2.

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.

In addition, ERO decided to evaluate:

  • monitoring and support for caregivers.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

BJ’s provides home-based education and care for children in the Whangarei and Northland area. Caregivers care for a maximum of four children at a time in their homes. Their care and educational programme is based on TeWhāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Homes must comply with the Ministry of Education Home-based Care Order.

Careful and thorough systems are used to match caregivers with families. Coordinators with recognised early childhood qualifications provide professional support for caregivers and keep in contact with parents. They also conduct regular visits to monitor health and safety, and the provision of home-based care and education for children.

Areas of good performance

Relationships. Friendly and respectful relationships between caregivers, coordinators, children and their families are a strength of BJ’s home-based care. Caregivers are consistently responsive, warm and affirming in their interactions with children. Parents and caregivers have friendly exchanges with each other. Caregivers report high levels of satisfaction with the support that they receive from the coordinators’ visits. Regular contact between the coordinator and parents enhances these positive relationships. Children’s learning and development is supported through responsive and reciprocal relationships across the service.

Wellbeing. Children are constantly affirmed and supported. They are settled and happy in their play and eagerly take part in activities and experiences. Caregivers know their children very well and respond quickly to children’s physical and emotional needs. Caregivers ensure flexible, hygienic and safe routines are provided discreetly. Children trust caregivers and seek comfort and reassurance when necessary. Caregivers are warm and nurturing towards children and manage their behaviour in positive ways, assisting them to play cooperatively together. Children are familiar with caregiver expectations and their emotional wellbeing is nurtured by the sensitive and individual care they receive from caregivers.

Belonging. Children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and secure attachment with their caregivers and surroundings. They settle quickly in to play on arrival and respond enthusiastically to coordinators visits. Children are familiar with caregivers’ homes and are aware of where their bags and lunches are stored. They have defined places to sleep, access play items and activities freely, and confidently ask to go outside or for additional resources. Children have established friendships with their peers and confident and comfortable with caregivers.

Language development. Children are developing into articulate and confident communicators. Caregivers engage children in frequent and sustained conversations enriched by their in-depth knowledge of the child’s family background and interests. They frequently model appropriate sentence structure and introduce new vocabulary. Toddlers’ attempts at language are affirmed and adults are responsive to infants’ non-verbal communication. Children initiate and enjoy conversations with adults and peers. They engage enthusiastically in book reading. Their language development is supported effectively and oral literacy skills enriched.

Caregiver records. Caregivers maintain very good records of the child’s day and share information informally with parents on a daily basis. Caregivers compile a weekly diary which records routine information, notes activities that children enjoyed and includes activity ideas for the following week. Children’s individual assessment portfolios contain meaningful documentation and are valued by parents. These contain photographs and observations that reflect the child’s interests and participation in play and activities. Parents are encouraged to read and contribute information about their child’s interests and happenings at home. They express high levels of satisfaction with the service provided.

Holistic learning experiences. Children benefit from the provision of good opportunities to play and learn in caregivers’ homes. Activities are often based on what caregivers know about children’s interests and developmental needs. Play equipment and learning opportunities are age-appropriate. Caregivers plan their days with children to ensure each child has opportunities for uninterrupted play. The coordinator enriches these experiences by modelling good early childhood practices during visits. Caregivers frequently capitalise on learning opportunities in the context of day-to-day household activities. Caregiver homes are generally well-resourced, child-focused environments that provide opportunities for both inside and outdoor play.

Te reo Māori me ona tikanga. Māori and non-Māori/pākeha caregivers use te reo Māori in the programme. Māori language is used in the context of play, during routines and to reinforce directions given to guide children’s play and strengthen their independence. The use of te reo Māori positively supports the values of tangata whenua /indigenous New Zealanders and integrates bi-cultural approaches to care and education in an integrated way.

Toy library. The manager supports caregivers by making small furniture items and car seats available for loan. These items meet national safety standards. A small range of good quality age-appropriate equipment is also available to caregivers to add interest to children’s learning programmes. Plans are already in place to increase the range and quantity of equipment so as to add variety to children’s learning experiences. Through the provision of the lending library resources caregivers are supported to provide safe care and enriched learning experiences.

Areas for improvement

Planning and assessment records. The arranger and coordinators have identified the need to strengthen aspects of planning and assessment and are engaging in professional development to assist them in this process. Children’s portfolios would be more useful as records of learning if assessment information showed progress over time. Coordinators should continue to support caregivers to document learning experiences that identify children’s significant learning, their interests, and their competence and capabilities. Subsequent planning should build on children’s ideas and strengths. This would assist caregivers to provide greater continuity and extension in the programme and build on current good practices.

Promoting good practice in early literacy. Most caregivers provide some literacy experiences for children. Coordinators should consider how to model and encourage the use of additional strategies that promote literacy in the context of play and everyday activities. Coordinators could model practices that encourage children to experiment with emerging attempts at writing in imaginative play and continue to promote the values of a print-rich environment on children’s emergent literacy skills.

Complexity of play. Children would benefit from more opportunities for complex play. Coordinators should continue to support caregivers to notice and further extend children’s interests, increase the complexity of their play and enrich their educational opportunities. This would enhance children’s developing sense of themselves as independent and capable learners.

Monitoring and Support for Caregivers

Background

As BJ’s home-based care is a new service, the licensee agreed that ERO evaluate the monitoring of and support for caregivers. Since the service opened in 2004 the management team has developed all aspects of service operations and has worked with external advisors to improve the effectiveness of the service.

Areas of good performance

Teamwork. The service manager works collaboratively with committed, enthusiastic coordinators to ensure children receive good quality home-based care and education. Staff share a philosophical belief in the benefits of home-based care and learning, and the positive impact it has for children and families. The management team is well informed about the needs and aspirations of caregivers, children and their families. They meet weekly to engage in professional discussion about support for caregiver/educators and individual children’s progress. Caregivers are highly appreciative of the assistance and support provided by the coordinators and management of the service.

Communication systems. The management team has effective communication systems. Parents are informed about their children’s care and educational programmes through daily chats with caregivers, photographs and observations in children’s portfolios and caregiver weekly diaries. Coordinators contact parents either face-to-face or by telephone and record these discussions. The licensee ensures that newsletters are sent out regularly and actively encourages parent and caregiver feedback with questionnaires. Her overview of the service is informed by meetings with coordinators and coordinator visit forms. Health, safety and compliance checks are systematic and regular, and a handbook for all caregivers contains the expectations and policies of the organisation.

Focus on developing good practice. The manager and coordinators are reflective practitioners and improvement-focused. They are respectful, positive and affirming in their support for caregiver/educators. They provide a variety of workshops and support caregivers in gaining external qualifications in home based care. Caregivers demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm for their work. The management team continue to refine their practices by engaging professional development and considering ways to include new information in their provision for home based care and education. They are currently working towards strengthening caregivers’ assessment and planning processes.

Regular visits. Coordinators regularly visit children in their caregiver’s homes. During their visits they monitor programmes, environments and compliance matters, and record observations of children at play. Observations inform coordinators’ knowledge about children and strengthens their relationships with them. Coordinators discuss children’s progress with caregivers and provide ideas and guidance about care arrangements. Caregiver’s work is valued and children’s care and education is enhanced by coordinators.

Playgroups. Playgroups are an important part of many caregivers’ weekly programmes. Caregivers value playgroup as an opportunity for children to socialise with peers and other adults. These relationships are useful when caregivers take leave or children’s care arrangements change. Coordinators use playgroups to model and promote good practices and to introduce a wider variety of equipment and early childhood experiences. Caregivers appreciate the opportunities to network with other each other at playgroups.

Areas for improvement

Record keeping and organisation of information. The management team recognised that the documentation of discussions and processes should be strengthened. This includes:

  • documenting parents’ complaints in fuller detail, ensuring that a systematic process is used to respond to complaint information, and storing this information in a confidential file;

  • ensuring that staff appraisal refers to professional teaching standards and includes observations and records of the appraisal meeting; and

  • developing a budget that is aligned with charter priorities and objectives.

Developing programme quality. Coordinators record information about the caregiver’s programme and children’s care and education during each visit. Coordinators’ reports could also offer suggestions of ways to improve caregiver practices, and visits could be used to model and discuss these aspects of teaching. Visit records should reflect these discussions. This would complement the coordinators’ focus on recognising caregivers’ strengths and support them to enhance current practice and enrich existing programmes.

Planning cycle for playgroup. Playgroup provides good opportunities to foster caregivers’ and children’s social networks. Coordinators could use playgroups to more purposefully to model ways to notice and extend children’s ideas and interests. Evaluations could more consistently reflect how effective playgroup sessions have been in fostering interactions that promote children’s thinking, reasoning and problem-solving capabilities. Discussion between caregivers and the coordinators could assist caregivers to plan ways to build on children’s interests and promote links between playgroup, the caregivers and the child’s home.

4 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 BJ's Homebased Childcare Service Ltd 2is at the beginning stages of development. Management staff have established a regular review procedure for policies and the service philosophy. The licensee and coordinators have recently developed procedures to ensure the review of all areas of operation. However, the effectiveness of these new systems is yet to be evaluated.

Areas of good performance

Good beginning practices. This first ERO review of BJ’s Homebased Care has been a positive catalyst for the licensee and coordinators to review operations and practices. They have undertaken thorough research on self review and have begun to implement self-review procedures. Documentation and discussions with managers indicates a clear understanding of the purpose and benefits of regular self review.

Consultation and communication. Managers understand that good consultation and communication between parents, caregivers, coordinators and the manager is essential for useful reviews and positive changes to practice. Well-designed surveys are used to give stakeholders the opportunity to feedback on the value of practices and to make suggestions for improvement at the various levels of operation.

Review in practice. Managers have devised a ten-year strategic plan against which they can track progress and have established an annual cycle for the review of policies. The management team review groups of policies over the year and where appropriate make changes to improve practice. Coordinators have reviewed the effectiveness of their support to caregivers. Some useful suggestions have been made, especially about caregivers’ requests for support to improve their understanding of learning stories used in the assessment of children’s learning. The management team is focussed on critical reflection and ongoing improvement.

Engaging parent input. The manager and coordinators have recently developed strategies to encourage parents to communicate directly with them regarding ways to improve practice and strengthen the quality of care and education of children. Many parents prefer to feedback directly to caregivers because they see them daily. Parents indicate satisfaction with the quality of the service provided by caregivers and trust them to meet the needs of their children.

Areas for improvement

Supporting caregivers’ understanding of review. The management team should review how they use the Revised Statement of Desirable Objectives and Practices (DOPs) in the caregivers’ homes as a framework for review. This would help caregivers to understand the importance of evaluating their programmes for children, strengthen communication and consultation between the arranger, coordinators and parents, and improve operation and administration systems.

Professional training. The managers and some caregivers have undertaken valuable in-depth training on Kei Tua o te Pae, assessment in early childhood. Coordinators have begun to pass this information on to the other caregivers. Managers should now review the impact this professional development is having on children’s ongoing learning opportunities to ensure positive learning outcomes.

5 Management Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the licensee and staff of BJ's Homebased Childcare Service Ltd 2 completed an ERO CentreManagement Assurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • administration;

  • health, safety and welfare;

  • personnel management;

  • 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 strengthen systems to ensure they keep up to date with current legislative requirements and that caregiver and management practices are in line with service policies. This includes:

  • making the child protection policy more specific and robust; and

  • developing personnel policies that include provision of equal employment opportunities, and outline procedures for anti harassment and stress prevention.

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

6 Recommendations

ERO and the service arranger agreed that the management team should:

  • document processes to ensure transparency and promote ongoing improvement; and
  • support caregivers to extend children’s learning opportunities.

7 Future Action

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

Elizabeth Ellis Area Manager

for Chief Review Officer

23 June 2008

To the Parents and Community of BJ's Homebased Childcare Service Ltd 2

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on BJ's Homebased Childcare Service Ltd 2.

BJ’s Homebased Childcare Services Ltd operates a home-based childcare and education service. It was established in 2004 to provide an organisational base for the provision of home-based childcare in Whangarei and the rural towns and districts in Northland. This is the first review of the service.

BJ’s caregivers provide home-based care and education for children from birth to school age in the caregivers’ own homes. Health, safety and compliance checks are systematic and regular, and a handbook for all caregivers contains the expectations and policies of the organisation. Good quality equipment and resources support children’s play and developmental needs. Parents contacted in the course of this review expressed a high level of satisfaction with the care and education provided for their children.

Respectful and responsive relationships between caregivers, coordinators, children and their families are a special characteristic of home-based care. Caregivers know the children extremely well and attend quickly to their physical and emotional needs. Caregivers are appreciative of the affirming and supportive visits provided by fully qualified coordinators. Children have warm relationships with coordinators and respond enthusiastically to their visits. Children are comfortable and confident in their surroundings and demonstrate a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging.

Children benefit from the provision of good opportunities to play and learn in caregivers’ homes. These learning experiences are enriched by excursions to community facilities. Playgroups provide opportunities for children to socialise with peers and engage in a wider variety of activities. Coordinators should continue to support caregivers in using strategies to notice and further extend children’s interests, increase the complexity of their play and enrich their educational opportunities. Coordinators are provided with appropriate information communication technologies, including digital cameras, to assist caregivers to document learning experiences that identify children’s significant learning, their interests, and subsequent planning.

The arranger and coordinators work collaboratively to ensure children receive good quality home-based care and education. They have a philosophical belief in benefits of home-based care and learning. The owner has a strong commitment to providing ongoing education and training to staff and caregivers. Management has developed a framework of systems, policies and procedures that underpins service operations. The management team is aware that better documentation of discussions and processes would help to ensure that the arranger has a clear overview of service practices and provision.

This report evaluates the quality of education and care provided by network two of BJ’s home-based childcare services. ERO interviewed parents, coordinators and the arranger and examined relevant documentation. Review officers observed children in the homes of a selection of caregivers, attended playgroup and surveyed the parents of children using the service. The report identifies many areas of good performance and some areas for further development. The report includes recommendations that the management team document processes to ensure transparency and promote ongoing improvement, and that managers supports caregivers to extend children’s learning opportunities.

Future Action

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

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

Elizabeth Ellis Area Manager

for Chief Review Officer

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and

  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

  • Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.

  • Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.

  • Areas of National Interest – information about how Government policies are working in early childhood centres.

  • Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.