Little Adventurers' Early Learning Centre - 20/08/2014

Evaluation of Little Adventurers' Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Little Adventurers' 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

Little Adventurers’ Early Learning Centre was licensed in November 2012. It is privately owned and located in Porirua, Wellington. The centre provides all-day education and care for up to 55 children, including up to 20 under two years old.

The centre operates a mixed-age programme with children having access to all areas of the centre. Six registered teachers work full time with the children. Of these, three are provisionally registered, including the director. Four registered teachers work part time. Of these, one is provisionally registered. In addition, four unqualified teachers are employed. One of these works full time. A cook is employed to provide daily meals for the children.

This is the centre’s first ERO review.

The Review Findings

Children show a sense of security and confidence in their interactions with peers and adults. Younger and older children have frequent opportunities to play together in the mixed-age setting. They make choices about their involvement in activities. Teachers include them in decision-making about resources and activities, and use the wider community to support children’s learning. The environment supports children's emerging literacy.

Children learn about aspects of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. ERO agrees with the centre’s intention to continue to strengthen the bicultural programme. Centre leaders have consulted with Māori whānau. The development of a kapa haka group seeks to promote success for Māori as Māori.

Learning stories, stored in electronic portfolios, give parents and families useful information about children’s participation in the programme. Teachers should continue to strengthen this approach by showing how they add depth and complexity to children’s learning to better highlight progress overtime. Centre leaders have identified a need to continue to strengthen teachers’ consistency in this area. ERO’s external evaluation agrees with this decision. Teachers should give consideration to making portfolios independently accessible to children to support their learning.

Infants and toddlers freely access the whole centre environment. They interact with and learn from their older siblings and other children. A dedicated area is suitably resourced for rest and quieter activities. Good information-sharing between families and staff enables continuity of care.

Teaching practice is variable. The new appraisal system is not meeting the learning needs of individual teachers or contributing to the service achieving its vision and goals. This needs to be addressed through the development of an appropriate system which is regularly implemented for all staff.

Parents, families and whānau are welcomed into the centre. Social events and informal conversations foster their sense of belonging. Strategies to support Pacific children are being explored. Teachers are active in supporting children with special needs.

Routines are consistently implemented. They provide children with a framework to predict what will happen next. They enhance children’s sense of belonging. Teachers should ensure that routines are well managed and capitalise on opportunities that arise to promote independence and support children’s learning.

Self review is in the early stages. Managers should take a more strategic and purposeful approach to self review to better evaluate and improve centre operations and teacher practice. Teachers should strengthen their understanding of self review and evaluation to support ongoing improvement.

Greater clarification of the head teacher and director role is required. This needs to be reflected in job descriptions and the appraisal process.

Key Next Steps

ERO recommends that centre leaders should:

  • develop and implement a robust appraisal system that identifies areas of need and supports teacher practice

  • develop a system of assessment, planning and evaluation that is consistently implemented to support children’s learning and that enables children to revisit their previous learning

  • clearly define leadership roles and responsibilities

  • strengthen staff knowledge of self review and evaluation. This should support centre improvements to centre operations, the management of routines and effective teaching practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Adventurers' 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to administration of medication. To meet requirements the service needs to:

  • take all reasonable steps to promote the good health and safety of children enrolled in the service by maintaining a record of all medicine given to children left in the care of the service which includes evidence of parental acknowledgement. [Reg.46, Health and Safety practices standard: general (2) Licensing criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008: HS25 (1)]

Since the on-site phase of the review, the centre has provided ERO with information to show that steps have been taken to address this non-compliance.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Little Adventurers' Early Learning Centre will be within three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

20 August 2014

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

Porirua

Ministry of Education profile number

46064

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

55 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll

68

Gender composition

Girls 38, Boys 30

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Other ethnic groups

16

44

2

6

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

June 2014

Date of this report

20 August 2014

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.