Learning Steps Childcare Centre - 06/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Learning Steps Childcare Centre

How well placed is Learning Steps Childcare Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Learning Steps Childcare Centre requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

The Learning Steps Childcare Centre managers and teachers have not yet established effective practices to support positive learning outcomes for children. Ongoing external professional advice and support are essential to support the new owner, manager and teachers to improve leadership, management and curriculum practices.

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

Background

Learning Steps Childcare Centre provides full-day and sessional education and care for children, from three months to school age. The centre caters for up to 50 children, including up to 10 under two years of age. Children and their families attending the centre reflect the multicultural nature of the local Glendene community.

The centre has had three new owners since ERO's 2015 review. The most recent ownership change has been in the three months prior to the onsite phase of this review. The long-serving centre manager and teachers have provided continuity throughout this period of change.

The 2015 ERO report noted some positive progress since earlier supplementary reviews. The report also identified areas for development relating to self review and the programme provided for children. The centre's philosophy has recently been reviewed and this has strengthened teachers' understanding of play-based learning in mixed-age groups.

This is the first review of the centre under new ownership. The owner is working alongside the longstanding teaching team to review current practices, promote leadership responsibilities and support improvements.

The Review Findings

The teaching team has worked towards building stronger relationships with parents. They have sought parent input when reviewing policies to support centre operations. Teachers have also begun to use an online tool for communications with parents about their children's learning experiences.

Relationships between teachers and children are positive. There are some examples of good teaching practices that engage children in activities and conversations that respond to their interests. Children enjoy exploring the interesting outdoor spaces. Some aspects of bicultural practices are incorporated in programmes.

The quality of care for babies and toddlers is not adequate. Teachers do not sufficiently notice, recognise and respond to the capabilities and interests of these very young children. The environment and resources for babies and toddlers urgently need to be improved.

The programme and environment for pre-school children does not yet align well with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children would benefit from a curriculum and resources that enable greater self-direction in their learning and play.

While aspects of assessment are visible in displays, the quality of learning stories is variable. These should more consistently identify how teachers plan learning experiences, and follow children's interests, with clear links to their learning and next steps.

The centre manager requires external support to build teachers' capability, and develop more effective teaching across the centre. This should support teachers as they work towards implementing Te Whāriki 2017. The appraisal process is not yet well understood or implemented in a meaningful way to develop teachers' professional capability. Professional learning in this area is necessary to support teachers to meet the requirements of the Education Council.

Key Next Steps

The centre manager agrees that she and teachers require support to:

  • establish effective curriculum management and implementation to improve the quality of education and care for children, particularly those up to two years of age

  • develop and sustain effective leadership practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Learning Steps Childcare Centre 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 improve current practices, the owner and manager should ensure that record keeping in relation to complaints and disclosures aligns with centre policies.

Actions for compliance

ERO found significant areas of non-compliance in the service related to personnel management, and curriculum. In order to address these, the owner and manager must ensure that:

  • teachers' appraisals comply with Teaching Council requirements

  • premises and equipment are kept in a hygienic condition, particularly in the infants' area.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C4, HS1; Education (ECS) Regulations 2008, 43(1a,iii), 47c (ii).

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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

6 March 2019

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

Glendene, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10154

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

58

Gender composition

Girls 32 Boys 26

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
Asian
other Pacific
other

13
10
8
6
7
14

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

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2018

Date of this report

6 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2015

Previously reviewed as:

Aunty Maria's Childcare Ltd

Supplementary Review

August 2012

Supplementary Review

August 2011

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.