Littletoetoes Early Learning Centre - 27/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Littletoetoes Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Littletoetoes Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Littletoetoes Early Learning Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Littletoetoes Early Learning Centre, formerly known as Amber Learning Centre, is licensed for 42 children, including 10 children up to the age of two years. The learning environment includes a renovated house for children over two years, and a new purpose-built building for children up to two years. Both buildings have their own outdoor play spaces. The majority of children attending are of Indian heritage.

The new owner/director oversees the operational and administrative aspects of the service. The newly appointed centre manager is the curriculum leader and mentor for staff, which includes two registered teachers and four unqualified staff. Most of the staff are new to the centre.

The centre is founded on a philosophy that values each child's uniqueness, through their culture and language. Teachers are committed to support children to become confident learners.

This is the first evaluation of Littletoetoes Early Learning Centre under the new management.

The Review Findings

Children show a sense of belonging and wellbeing at the centre. They enjoy friendly relationships with staff and other children, and are busily involved in the programme. Children are developing appropriate self-help skills, and they show a growing awareness of the needs of others.

Staff encourage children’s involvement in play, frequently sharing friendly interaction and humour. They are caring and attentive, and provide a culturally responsive, inclusive environment. Infants and toddlers benefit from good periods of uninterrupted play and independent choices. Teachers could build on their well-established relationships with children to promote children’s thinking and exploration of ideas.

Teachers' interactions with children are enriched by their use of children's first languages. They are developing bicultural practices that integrate into the programme. Children are familiar with the centre's routines, and they enthusiastically sing and participate in well prepared mat times. However, teachers should review the daily routines so that children's play is not so often disrupted by tidying up. This would encourage more sustained play and learning opportunities.

The new building has considerably enhanced the learning environment. Staff should now provide more physical challenges in the playground for older children, particularly boys. Staff and managers could build on the range of quality resources by increasing children’s access to a greater variety of natural and open-ended resources.

Staff plan and assess programmes based on children's interests and community events. They record children's participation in the programme in individual portfolios. Teachers could improve the documented evidence to show children's continuity of learning, and how children's interests are fostered in assessment portfolios.

Parents and whānau actively engage in centre events. Teachers are considering how to further involve parents in their children's learning at the centre.

The new owner has developed a good range of operational systems, policies and procedures to guide practice. As staff implement and embed these policies, ongoing review will help to ensure the policies are relevant to the context of this centre.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for teachers should include accessing external professional support to help managers, leaders and teachers to:

  • extend their professional knowledge, education practices and skills to provide good quality learning opportunities, particularly for children up to the age of two years

  • align the transition to school programme with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum

  • build teachers' knowledge and understanding of Te Whāriki and best teaching practice.

To improve operational practices, managers should ensure they:

  • use internal evaluation to guide the centre's future planning and ongoing improvement

  • strengthen strategic planning to focus on the holistic development of the centre, and align this planning to an annual action plan

  • implement and embed teachers' appraisal processes.

Recommendation

The service will provide ERO with an action plan that shows how the priorities for improvement, including health and safety concerns, will be addressed. ERO will evaluate the extent of this progress within six months.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Littletoetoes 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.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to:

  • recording emergency drills carried out, and evidence of how evaluation of the drills has informed the annual review of the service's emergency plan

  • reporting how the service is using the equity funding to parents and the community

  • the provision of safe, suitable safe-fall surface in the outdoor area

  • the quality of the curriculum, professional practice and children as learners.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA3; HS7, PF13, C1,2,3,4 & C7,8,9,10.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

27 February 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

Papatoetoe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

46267

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

42 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll

39

Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 19

Ethnic composition

Māori
Indian
Fijian Indian
other ethnic groups

1
22
7
9

Percentage of qualified teachers

50-79%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2019

Date of this report

27 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Under the previous name of Amber Learning Centre:

Education Review

September 2015

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.