Learning Adventures - 18/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Learning Adventures

How well placed is Learning Adventures to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Requires further development

The service needs support to further develop the curriculum and to be assured of the quality of teaching and learning practices.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

Learning Adventures (previously known as Annie's Childcare Centre) is a privately-owned early childhood centre, purchased by the current owners in January 2016. The service is located in Otorohanga and provides full-day education and care for children in a mixed-age setting. The centre is licensed for 39 children, including ten up to two years. The roll is multi-cultural, and at the time of this ERO review there were 38 children enrolled, including 13 of Māori descent.

The centre has two company directors, one of whom is also the centre manager. She has overall responsibility for governance and management including strategic planning, and compliance with legislative requirements. The manager is a qualified teacher and leads a team of one part-time and four full-time teachers, three of whom are qualified and registered early childhood teachers. The head teacher position is currently vacant, and the centre manager is acting in this capacity.

The centre philosophy states that it has a family focus and seeks to promote tuakana-teina relationships between older and younger siblings and peers.

The centre manager has addressed some of the areas identified for development in the previous ERO report. Teachers are using a digital platform to support assessment and planning, and an appraisal system that meets Education Council requirements has been developed.

The Review Findings

The alignment of strategic and annual plans needs strengthening to prioritise areas for improvement and to develop clear, achievable action plans. Centre management has developed some systems and processes that contribute to positive outcomes for children. Policies set out clear expectations and guidance for leaders and teachers, and these are reviewed in consultation with teachers and whānau. The centre manager also sought whānau and teacher contributions as part of the recent review of the centre philosophy. Self-review processes focused on improving outcomes for children are being developed.

The leader provides ongoing coaching and mentoring for teachers and has high expectations of staff. Leadership has accessed external mentoring and is involved in the local community of learning. Professional development, which has targeted some priority areas, has been provided for teachers. As a result of several changes to teaching staff, practices identified through this professional learning and development have not been embedded.

Aspects of the curriculum respond to children’s emerging interests. Children's learning is supported through a variety of excursions in the local community. Parents are provided with opportunities to engage in children’s learning through whānau events and access to digital learning portfolios. Further ways to build relationships within the community and increase opportunities for parent partnerships in learning should now be developed.

There are some examples of effective planning to respond to children’s interests. However, planning needs to be more consistent and intentional to better support and extend children's strengths and learning needs. Teachers need to integrate more literacy and mathematics learning opportunities. In addition they need to consider ways to enhance the environment to provide richer learning opportunities and appropriate levels of challenge, particularly for older children. Responding to children's language, culture and identity through assessment and planning needs further development.

Teachers are responsive to the care needs of children. Some warm relationships are being formed. Children with additional needs are identified and included in centre activities. Children up to the age of two are supported by a primary care giver and have individualised routines. The mixed-age setting promotes tuakana teina relationships.

Key Next Steps

To support better outcomes for children, centre leadership needs to:

  • align the centre strategic and annual planning with professional development priorities and teaching and learning

  • strengthen the curriculum to respond effectively to all children’s learning needs and to their language, culture and identity

  • build teacher capability, with a focus on planning and assessment.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Learning Adventures 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to the curriculum. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • understanding children's learning and development

  • supporting children's cultural identities

  • providing a stimulating environment.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2, C4, C6, C9]

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Learning Adventures will be within two years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

18 June 2018

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

Otorohanga

Ministry of Education profile number

30024

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

39 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

38

Gender composition

Girls 20 Boys 18

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian
Other

13
12
6
7

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

May 2018

Date of this report

18 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015 (as Annie's Childcare Centre)

Education Review

December 2013

Education Review

June 2010

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.