Learn A Lot Childcare - 20/01/2014

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, previously known as Learning Links Rototuna, is located in a purpose-built facility in the Rototuna shopping centre in Hamilton. The centre is licensed for 50 children including 20 under two. Children are cared for in two rooms, one for babies and toddlers, and the other for over two’s. The current roll is 54 children of whom 12 identify as Maori. The centre operates a full-day programme that allows parents to choose the most suitable hours for their child.

Since the ERO review in February 2011, there has been a change of ownership, a new centre manager appointed, and a largely new teaching team employed. Some of the areas for review and development identified in the 2011 ERO report have been addressed, including the review of lunch and mat-time routines, and there have been some improvements to the outside play area.

Areas that still need to be addressed are:

  • re-establishing a strategic plan that reflects parents’ aspirations, is aligned to the centre philosophy, and sets out goals and strategies for enhancing education and care outcomes for children
  • further development of the over-two outside play area to provide more stimulation and challenge
  • improvement to children’s portfolios so that they show each child’s progress and cultural background, and include opportunities for parents and whānau to make a contribution.

Staff continue to work in partnership with parents and respond effectively to the interests and strengths of children. They strive to fulfil the centre philosophy to ‘create a fun and welcoming environment which promotes curiosity and independence, and empowers children to explore, setting a solid foundation for becoming lifelong learners.’

The Review Findings

The centre’s curriculum is closely aligned to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It is responsive to the interests and abilities of children, and the aspirations of parents and whānau. Children access a wide range of areas of play including literacy, mathematics, science experiments, creative arts, building and construction. Flexible routines, and support from respectful teachers, allow children to select their play activities and manage their care routines independently where appropriate.

Babies and toddlers benefit from known and predictable routines in a trusting and secure environment. They have close, caring relationships and reciprocal one-to-one interactions with their teachers. The well-resourced indoor and outdoor play areas provide children with opportunities to explore and be challenged in a safe setting. All children benefit from nutritious meals that are prepared by a full-time cook.

Teachers are experienced and knowledgeable about the goals and strands of Te Whāriki. They promote learning activities that engage and interest children, and use a range of effective strategies to positively manage children’s learning and behaviour. Teachers are attentive to children’s learning needs and help them successfully engage in play. They work effectively with children who have special learning requirements and naturally include them in all activities.

Children confidently approach adults. Teachers actively listen and encourage children’s attempts to express their ideas. Boys’ learning needs are fostered through project work and opportunities to climb and balance, engage in water and sand play, and do carpentry.

Children’s assessments are displayed in portfolios and on the centre walls so that they and their parents can revisit their learning. Teachers should now explore ways to enrich and deepen the learning programme by providing resources that further foster children’s literacy and numeracy skills and ideas.

The experienced centre manager effectively oversees planning and assessment processes, and supports the programmes in both age-group areas. She maintains positive relationships with parents and whānau, and the local primary school and community. The head teacher responsible for babies and toddlers demonstrates effective leadership skills in managing her team of teachers, and establishing a positive and caring environment.

Centre leadership of learning now needs to be strengthened by:

  • establishing professional leadership of the over-two area
  • continuing to build collegial and trusting relationships amongst staff
  • accessing external professional development and support to embed a shared vision and understanding about high quality teaching and learning.

Centre administration and operations are capably managed by the licensee and centre manager who have established a mutually supportive professional relationship. Self-review processes are used to identify and bring about change and improvement in daily operations and routines. This includes a planned programme of policy review that involves collaboration with parents.

Key Next Steps

The licensee and centre manager have identified, and ERO agrees, that there is an urgent need to:

  • strengthen professional development and practice, including the quality of self review
  • complete performance management processes for all staff
  • provide teachers with opportunities to observe each other, evaluate their teaching practices, share their ideas and reflections and make relevant links to current research and best practice in early childhood education.

While the centre is inclusive of Māori children and their whānau, it is now timely to:

  • extend bicultural practices across the centre, including the use of te reo Maori
  • provide learning contexts that reflect New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Recommendation

ERO recommends that the centre manager and licensee seek external support to address the key next steps mentioned in this report.

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.

At the time of the review, appraisals, including that of the centre manager, had not been completed.

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.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

20 January 2014

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

54

Gender composition

Boys 30

Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Pacific

Other

12

24

8

5

5

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

20 January 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review (as Learning Links Rototuna)

February 2011

 

Education Review (as Lollipops Educare Rototuna)

February 2008

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.

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.