Lets Grow Early Learning Centre - 25/08/2015

1 Evaluation of Lets Grow Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Lets Grow Early Learning Centre 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

Lets Grow Early Learning Centre is a newly established, purpose-built early childhood centre on the outskirts of Raglan. The centre was established in February 2014 in response to a need in the community. It has extended hours from 7.30 am to 6.00 pm to cater for working parents who travel to Hamilton. The centre is licensed for 50 children including a maximum of 14 aged up to two years. At the time of this ERO review there were 72 children on the roll, including 24 who identify as Māori. Children learn and play in three age-related rooms and benefit from a natural environment in a rural setting.

The centre is owned and governed by two directors who take responsibility for administration and maintenance. The centre manager, with the help of her assistant manager, oversees the day-to-day organisation and curriculum for children, and the professional growth and development of staff.

The centre has developed a mission statement and philosophy that focuses on providing education and care for children in a home-like, rural setting in which children engage in genuine learning experiences, caring for the natural environment, and growing in confidence, creativity and self esteem.

The centre manager and assistant manager are provided with time and support to effectively build and grow the professional practice of teachers, and to collaboratively develop and enact the centre vision and philosophy.

Teachers have been involved in a range of professional learning and development that is closely focused on enhancing outcomes for children.

Children benefit from quality teacher-child ratios that exceed the minimum legislative requirements. The owners and leaders are building a sense of community through positive relationships with parents, whānau and local organisations. Teachers make children and their whānau welcome and have established close links with the community including local iwi and marae. 

The Review Findings

Centre leaders and teachers have been focused on developing a shared understanding and approach to education. They demonstrate a deep understanding of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and promote the principles of empowerment, holistic development, family and community relationships, which are strongly evident in practice.

Teachers place a priority on children learning within their community, and whānau contributions to the programme support children to learn in meaningful contexts. Children interact closely with the natural environment both within the centre and through the use of an additional natural outdoor area. Literacy and numeracy are well integrated throughout the programme in age-appropriate ways. Music and movement, science and exploration are also strongly evident in the programme.

Children are being well supported to develop as confident and capable learners. Trusting and respectful relationships underpin teachers’ interactions with children and families. Teachers use a range of effective strategies to engage children in learning and play. They listen to children to ensure their conversations and involvement in play support social skills’ development, and encouragement to think and problem solve. Children enjoy friendships with their peers and have many opportunities to take responsibility and care for themselves, others and care for their environment.

Teachers are skilled in noticing, recognising and responding to children’s interests. They play alongside children having conversations that extend their thinking and learning. Children have easy access to high quality resources to initiate their own learning. They have many opportunities to make decisions and choices about directing their own learning.

Centre leaders and management have established a partnership with families and welcome whānau involvement in the programme of education and care. Individual child assessment portfolios provide a valuable record of children’s learning experiences during their time at the centre and include parents’ aspirations for their child’s development in the process.

Children’s cultural diversity and individual qualities are acknowledged and valued. Children of Māori descent have their culture, language and identity valued and affirmed, and all children benefit from the use of te reo and tikanga Māori experiences that are naturally integrated into the programme.

In the infants’ and toddlers’ room, consideration has been given to the educational approach teachers use, and respectful and caring relationships are integral to supporting infants’ learning. Teachers in this room are skilled at tuning in to babies’ verbal and non-verbal communication. They establish unhurried routines that respond to babies’ rhythms and preferences, and develop close one-to-one relationships.

Teachers and children in the toddler room enjoy activities that promote and respect children’s independent choices and age-related needs. Routines are unhurried and respectful and are seen as learning opportunities. Children develop strong attachments to the teachers and one another through social cooperative play.

Older children are provided with a rich and stimulating learning environment in which literacy, mathematics and science are strongly promoted, and children are able to engage in sustained learning that prepares them well for school. Transitions into, within and from the centre are sensitively managed, and there are clear processes to guide these important moments for children and parents.

Centre owners provide effective governance and management that supports high quality education and care for children. In the short time since opening, centre management and leaders have established highly effective self-review processes and practices that contribute to the provision of a high quality service. The centre owners and leaders are strong advocates for children and their families. They have an ongoing commitment to building constructive partnerships with whānau and community. 

Key Next Steps

The centre has identified that the next steps for further development are to:

  • embed and refine the centre’s agreed high quality teaching practices through ongoing evaluation focused on outcomes for children
  • continue the commitment to working with the support and guidance of tangata whenua to embed Ahuatanga Māori in the centre curriculum. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lets Grow Early Learning 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. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Lets Grow Early Learning Centre will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

25 August 2015 

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

Raglan, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

46371

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 14 aged under 2

Service roll

72

Gender composition

Girls       40
Boys      32

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Asian
Other European
Other

24
24
  3
  2
14
  5

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2015

Date of this report

25 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

 

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.