Little Scholars Early Learning Centre - 03/04/2018

1 Evaluation of Little Scholars Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Little Scholars 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 Scholars Early Learning Centre has been operating in Mount Roskill for 16 years. The centre serves a diverse local community, and staff reflect this diversity.

Centre operations are overseen by a manager, who works closely with the owner. The majority of staff are qualified, with the remainder in training. The centre has three areas that are organised for groups of children, according to their ages and stages of development.

The service's philosophy, curriculum and programme reflect an inclusive, positive and welcoming perspective. Staff actively build open and positive relationships with whānau.

The 2014 ERO review identified the need to strengthen self review, performance management, and strategies that promote children's leadership of learning and critical thinking. Since the 2014 ERO review, centre leaders have worked to strengthen practice in a number of areas of centre operations.

The Review Findings

Children and their families are warmly welcomed by staff. Teachers foster respectful and caring relationships, and their practice strongly promotes children's wellbeing in a settled and peaceful atmosphere. Children play together amicably, show respect for others and engage actively in play and exploration with their friends.

Children demonstrate a sense of ownership of their environment, are confident to investigate the activities provided, and have a strong sense of belonging. Routines are aligned to children's individual schedules and preferences. Teachers are considerate and caring, supporting each child's development at their own pace. A collaborative team approach is used to support and supervise children as they learn through play.

Children's interests and preferences, and parents' aspirations, drive their individual programmes. Learning stories show how teachers support children to sustain their interests and develop dispositions for learning over time. Early literacy and mathematical learning is integrated through play and exploration. The oldest children experience a 'Ready for School' programme. As part of this extended programme, children participate in excursions into the local community.

Infants and toddlers are nurtured and cared for in a designated area of the centre, with appropriate materials and experiences. They have access to an outside play area at certain points during the day. Teachers' interactions are gentle, unhurried and responsive to individual needs. Teachers are attuned to children's communications and stages of development. Leaders are taking steps to create a more social and interactive meal-time experience for these children.

Sound transition practices are in place to support children as they progress through the rooms. The centre has also developed relationships with local new entrant classes, and there are opportunities for children in the preschool room to make visits in preparation for school.

The service continues to demonstrate a commitment to supporting equity and success for Māori children. Teachers are able to demonstrate their growing knowledge of te reo Māori in their conversations with children as well as in singing waiata and reciting karakia. The environment reflects the various activities that children have been involved in, such as weaving and kowhaiwhai pattern-making for Waitangi Day. The manager is keen to continue to make whānau and community connections to enhance partnerships and to support learning and wellbeing for Māori children.

Open communication between parents and staff means that information is freely and frequently shared. A digital platform also supports shared information around children's interests, strengths and progress. Teachers evaluate children's learning and development at regular intervals, and share their thoughts with whānau. The cultures, languages, key festivals and celebrations of the community, are valued in learning stories, artefacts and photos around the centre.

The owner and manager have a focus on improvement and have strengthened centre practices since ERO's 2014 review. There is now a clear strategic direction for the service. Staff appraisal processes and teachers' inquiry into their practices have been purposefully improved. There are also positive changes to the programme, the organisation of the environment and routines to promote greater child-led learning opportunities.

The manager has used internal evaluation to identify ways to enhance areas of centre operations. Internal evaluation is a collaborative and consultative process, which has clear benefits for children, their families and the centre community.

Key Next Steps

The owner and manager are keen to sustain and embed centre improvements. They agree that the next steps include:

  • unpacking the current three-year strategic plan into annual plans that identify key actions that support progress towards the centre goals
  • making the service's bicultural commitment more overt in guiding documentation
  • continuing to refine the team's approach to improvement focused internal evaluation
  • evaluating and enhancing the quality of the external environment, using the philosophy statement and valued curriculum outcomes as indicators of quality
  • growing teachers' practice in developing high quality interactions and extending children's critical thinking during play.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Scholars 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 Little Scholars Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

3 April 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

Mount Roskill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10270

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

49

Gender composition

Girls       25
Boys      24

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Indian
Chinese
Samoan
Tongan
Fijian
other Pacific Peoples
other

  2
10
13
  4
  4
  4
  3
  2
  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

February 2018

Date of this report

3 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

June 2011

Education Review

June 2008

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.