Learn A Lot Childcare - 07/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Learn A Lot Childcare

How well placed is Learn A Lot Childcare 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

Learn A Lot Childcare is an education and care service located in a purpose-built facility in the Rototuna shopping centre in Hamilton. The centre is licensed for 50 children including 20 up to the age of two. The current roll is 54, 18 of whom identify as Māori. There is also a significant number of children from a variety of other ethnicities. Children are catered for in two rooms, one for infants and toddlers and another for children over the age of two. The centre is open from 7.30 to 5.30, five days a week. Parents have a choice of either sessional or full-day programmes.

The centre endeavours to provide high quality care and education in a family-like environment. Teachers aim to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere that promotes curiosity, independence and empowers children to explore.

The centre has made several new staff appointments recently and at the time of the ERO review was in the process of appointing a new leadership team. Almost all the staff are qualified early childhood educators.

The centre has made some progress in responding to the areas for development and review identified in the 2014 ERO report but there is still more work to do to fully address these areas.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from an inclusive programme that provides opportunities for them to explore across a wide range of curriculum areas including gardening, art, cooking, literacy and mathematics. In line with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, children are able to follow their own interests in learning and play. Children’s oral language development is well supported and they benefit from respectful, reciprocal and nurturing relationships with teachers. Children confidently interact with others and are encouraged to develop self-management, leadership skills, and independance. The centre has a history of strong support and advocacy for children with diverse needs and their families, including children with English as a second language. Children experience a broad programme that empowers them as learners, encourages exploration and acknowledges their diverse cultural backgrounds.

Children are highly engaged in the centre programme. There is a good balance between teacher directed and child-led learning. ERO observed teachers using a range of effective teaching strategies, including:

  • scaffolding – supporting children to try new things for themselves

  • open-ended questioning – to extend children’s thinking

  • modelling – demonstrating how things might be done

  • encouraging independence and safe risk taking

  • having fun and enjoying learning.

All of these strategies are empowering children to develop as confident learners.

Teachers and children are aware of and practice tikanga Māori. Teachers are committed to using Māori phrases and instructions throughout the programme. Children participate enthusiastically in waiata, karakia and stories told in te reo Māori. Leaders and teachers acknowledge the need to continue to develop this area of the programme.

Children learn in a well-resourced environment. Equipment that can be played with in a variety of ways is easily accessible to children. Ongoing improvement, particularly to the outdoor space for the over two children means that the area can be used more effectively. A regular programme of minor excursions enables children to interact with and learn in the local community.

Infants and toddlers benefit from caring, sensitive and responsive interactions with teachers. All infants under one year of age are allocated a primary caregiver to promote strong and secure attachments. Effective communication between teachers and parents ensures that children’s individual needs are responded to and there is consistency of care between home and centre. A calm, slow pace in the under twos’ area allows children time and space to lead their learning. Children’s rights are respected and they are offered choices about their wellbeing and care. Children learn and develop in a safe and positive environment.

Parents are well informed about children’s learning, centre activities and developments. They are able to have input into policy review and participate in the daily programme, special events and activities. Digital portfolios provide an attractive record of children’s learning and progress with the opportunity for parental and family input.

Teachers are well supported by leaders to focus on positive outcomes for children. The experienced and knowledgeable centre leader has established a culture in which children are first and foremost valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning. There are sound systems in place to ensure consistent planning and assessment.

Teachers are able to access a wide range of professional development opportunities in response to their interests and legislative requirements. A newly revised appraisal system meets minimum requirements and provides a useful context for teachers to reflect on and improve their practice.

Regular, spontaneous internal evaluation follows a useful process and leads to improved outcomes for children. A sound policy framework, which is regularly reviewed, and sound business management enable teachers to enact the vision and philosophy.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree that there is a need to:

  • include more formal tracking and monitoring of individual children’s learning pathways in order to more effectively extend and add complexity to their learning

  • establish systematic and strategic curriculum review in order to ensure that all aspects of the learning programme reflect current theory and best practice

  • include local iwi history in order to more effectively develop the identity of Māori children in the centre and provide children with a better understanding of the rich cultural heritage of New Zealand

  • strengthen strategic planning processes so that the service's priorities and associated goals for improvement, particularly in relation to the curriculum and outcomes for children are clearly identified. This should also facilitate a more strategic and centre-wide approach to teacher professional development and internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Learn A Lot Childcare 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.

In order to ensure that it is meeting its statutory obligations the service must:

  1. Strengthen appraisal processes to ensure that each teacher is attested annually, and a more systematic approach to the setting and monitoring of teacher professional goals for improvement.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7] 

    In order to improve its practice the service should:

  2. Establish an appraisal process for centre leaders in their leadership roles.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Learn A Lot Childcare will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

7 March 2017 

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

Rototuna, Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

30297

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll

55

Gender composition

Girls 31 Boys 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Chinese

Asian

African

11

22

10

5

4

3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2017

Date of this report

7 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

January 2014

Education Review (as Learning Links Rototuna)

February 2011

Education Review (as Lollipops Educare Rototuna)

February 2008

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.