Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam - 01/03/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam is located in the St Albans suburb of Christchurch. The kindergarten currently operates morning sessions from Monday to Friday and three afternoon sessions each week. It is licensed for 45 children over two years of age. All teachers are fully qualified and registered as early childhood teachers.

The kindergarten is one of 63 kindergartens (including one early learning centre) administered by the Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association Incorporated, trading as Kidsfirst Kindergartens.

The association that governs this kindergarten is well organised and managed. It provides useful policies and procedures and a comprehensive framework for monitoring health and safety. The association incorporates management support in the form of education service managers and a manager of kindergarten operations who work in partnership with teachers providing ongoing leadership and professional development.

Children benefit from a well organised and attractive learning environment. Teachers give careful thought to the presentation of resources to inspire children’s curiosity, investigation and art appreciation.

The well-being of children and families is fostered through supportive and caring relationships in the kindergarten community. Parents and families are actively involved in the life of the kindergarten.

Other positive features of this kindergarten are the:

  • supportive ways teachers encourage children’s independence and social skills
  • wide range of challenging creative and expressive learning experiences
  • focus on literacy, maths, science and art in the programme
  • effective ways parents are informed about children’s learning.

Teachers use a good level of te reo Māori in ways that provide opportunities for children to experience te reo Māori and tikanga Māori throughout the programme. Bicultural perspectives are well integrated into the environment.

The teaching team has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next area for development is to build on aspects of evaluation documentation and to continue to increase children’s and parents’ contributions to the programme and self review.

This review occurred at a time when the association and its kindergartens were responding to issues associated with the Canterbury earthquakes relating to children, family, personnel and property. The association and the kindergarten teachers have been proactive in addressing these challenges.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the kindergarten is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore, ERO is likely to review the kindergarten again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the kindergarten 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 kindergarten (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children at Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam.

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.

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

The Quality of Education

Background

The association’s philosophy states that teachers aim to provide a warm and welcoming environment where children and their families feel comfortable and safe. In this kindergarten, the association’s philosophy is interpreted in a vision statement which states that teachers aim to provide an environment where close links are established between teachers and families.

The programme provides a structure to encourage children to develop independence, caring attitudes towards each other, and decision making.

Areas of strength

Relationships

Teachers have warm, responsive and inclusive relationships with children and families. Teachers know children and families well. There is a strong sense of belonging for children and families. Many parents are comfortable spending time at the kindergarten and involve themselves in the programme supporting their own and other children. Teachers have well established links with the local school and other local early childhood education services.

Developing children’s social competencies

Teachers actively foster children’s independence and social skills. Children use effective language and practices that help to promote children’s social development. Children play cooperatively with and alongside others for sustained lengths of time. They show care and concern for each other. ERO observed many children confident to share ideas, make choices and develop their play with one another. Children are aware of the kindergarten expectations and teachers provide consistent guidance to support this.

Programme

Teachers provide many ways for children to be leaders in the programme and experience success with their learning. They make good links to the planned programme and children’s current learning interests.

Children are actively challenged in a wide range of creative and expressive learning activities. Parents are well informed in a range of effective ways about the strong value placed on children’s learning.

Strong features of the programme are the focus on literacy, maths, science and arts. Children’s art and progression with art is made highly visible in the attractive wall displays. Bicultural practices are well integrated into the environment. Teachers use a good level te reo Māori in ways that help to build on children’s use of the language.

Purposeful learning environment

Children benefit from a well organised, well resourced and interesting learning environment. Teachers present these areas in ways that help to inspire children’s curiosity, investigation and art appreciation. Children’s work is highly valued and respectfully displayed. Attractive wall displays inform parents about children’s current learning interests.

The spacious natural outside area provides children with many opportunities for physical play, and to learn about the natural world and sustainable practices. Children play with a wide range of literacy and science resources that are well integrated in the inside and outside areas.

Areas for development and review

The teaching team has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps are to continue to:

build on aspects of evaluation documentation to more clearly show the impact of teaching strategies on children’s learning

increase children’s and parents’ contribution to aspects of the planned programme and self review.

3. National Evaluation Topic

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.

Inclusion of Children with Moderate to Severe Special Needs

As part of this review, ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions ensure the continuing well-being, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the kindergarten is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

Background

This kindergarten has some children with identified moderate special education needs currently enrolled. The kindergarten is well placed to meet the needs of those children and to identify any other children with moderate to severe special education needs. Teachers have clear policies and guidelines in place to identify such children and are intentional in their assessment of typical developmental milestones. Teachers are well informed about processes for identifying and referring children who may have developmental challenges. This judgement is based on the teaching team’s strong:

  • transition processes into the kindergarten and on to school
  • flexible approach to accommodating individual needs and preferences
  • commitment to inclusive practices and to supporting the social and learning needs of all children
  • focus on relationships and effective communication with parents
  • collaborative working relationships with external specialist services.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

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

During the review, ERO looked at the kindergarten’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that 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.

5. Future Action

ERO is confident that the kindergarten is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the kindergarten again in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

Sessional, Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

45 children over two years old

Roll number

83

Gender composition

Boys 43; Girls 40

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 58;

Māori 9;

Pacific 2;

Asian 6;

Other Ethnicities 8

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

1 March 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review November 2007

Education Review March 2005

Accountability Review June 2000

1 March 2012

To the Parents and Community of Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam.

Kidsfirst Kindergartens Sunbeam is located in the St Albans suburb of Christchurch. The kindergarten currently operates morning sessions from Monday to Friday and three afternoon sessions each week. It is licensed for 45 children over two years of age. All teachers are fully qualified and registered as early childhood teachers.

The kindergarten is one of 63 kindergartens (including one early learning centre) administered by the Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association Incorporated, trading as Kidsfirst Kindergartens.

The association that governs this kindergarten is well organised and managed. It provides useful policies and procedures and a comprehensive framework for monitoring health and safety. The association incorporates management support in the form of education service managers and a manager of kindergarten operations who work in partnership with teachers providing ongoing leadership and professional development.

Children benefit from a well organised and attractive learning environment. Teachers give careful thought to the presentation of resources to inspire children’s curiosity, investigation and art appreciation.

The well-being of children and families is fostered through supportive and caring relationships in the kindergarten community. Parents and families are actively involved in the life of the kindergarten.

Other positive features of this kindergarten are the:

  • supportive ways teachers encourage children’s independence and social skills
  • wide range of challenging creative and expressive learning experiences
  • focus on literacy, maths, science and art in the programme
  • effective ways parents are informed about children’s learning.

Teachers use a good level of te reo Māori in ways that provide opportunities for children to experience te reo Māori and tikanga Māori throughout the programme. Bicultural perspectives are well integrated into the environment.

The teaching team has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next area for development is to build on aspects of evaluation documentation and to continue to increase children’s and parents’ contributions to the programme and self review.

This review occurred at a time when the association and its kindergartens were responding to issues associated with the Canterbury earthquakes relating to children, family, personnel and property. The association and the kindergarten teachers have been proactive in addressing these challenges.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the kindergarten is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore, ERO is likely to review the kindergarten again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed a kindergarten or 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 contact person 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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

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.

National Evaluation Topics – This strand contributes to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.

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.