Lollipops Orewa - 27/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Dragonfly Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Dragonfly 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

Dragonfly Early Learning Centre (ELC) provides full day education and care for up to 50 children, including up to 16 infants and toddlers less than two years of age. The centre is well established and was bought by Evolve Education Group at the end of 2014. This is the service’s first ERO review under the management of its new owner.

Improvements have been made to the leadership structure of the centre. A business manager and professional service manager (PSM) provide external support on a regular basis. A new head teacher position has been created to help ensure the smooth daily operation of the centre.

The majority of the regular staff are registered teachers and there are high ratios of teachers to children. Most children are of NZ European/Pākehā descent, and a small number of children from a diverse range of ethnicities also attend.

The 2012 ERO report recommended that teachers further support older children to develop more complexity in their play, problem solving, and thinking and reasoning skills. It also encourages teachers to refine the documentation of strategies to support and evaluate children’s learning, and critically reflect on their own practices.

In response to the 2012 ERO report, centre managers and staff have made some progress in improving self review, the environment and bicultural practices.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and settled and are generally engaged in activities. They are developing self-help skills. Teachers promote respectful relationships throughout the centre. Interactions are friendly and sociable, providing children with good opportunities to participate in group discussions. Infants and toddlers are able to freely explore the indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Teachers plan topics to provide opportunities for children to increase their knowledge. They see children as capable learners. Their challenge is to now provide experiences that further encourage the development of children’s thinking and problem solving skills.

The centre’s learning philosophy is based on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The educational programme and environment for infants and toddlers are guided by RIE and Reggio Emilia approaches. Staff are continuing to learn more about the benefits of these approaches to support the younger children’s wellbeing and learning.

The centre’s bicultural curriculum continues to develop. Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnerships and the place of Māori as tangata whenua of Aotearoa/New Zealand are valued. Children learn about, and enjoy participating in, tikanga and using te reo Māori.

Teachers have recently focused more specifically on gathering information about parents’ aspirations for their children. Parents are encouraged to contribute their ideas to strengthen children’s learning records in their individual portfolios. A computerised record of children’s learning is being introduced so that teachers and parents can work together more readily to extend children’s learning.

Teachers place emphasis on helping children to develop positive attitudes to learning. They also focus on preparing older children for their transition to school. Teachers use current research to inform their thinking, and meet with teachers from the local primary school to develop shared understandings about the best ways to support this transition process.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the centre manager, team leaders and PSM agree that in order to continue enhancing the quality of learning provided for children they now need to:

  • review and analyse their practice to ensure that it reflects the centre philosophy
  • continue their focus on developing children’s individual interests and learning dispositions
  • engage more frequently in learning-focused interactions that challenge children’s thinking and extend their learning
  • continue to progress staff understanding and use of self review.

Teaching staff should also consider long-term strategies to support the planned future directions for the centre.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

27 May 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

Orewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10349

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll

76

Gender composition

Boys 41

Girls 35

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

African

Chinese

European

South African

other

7

55

2

2

2

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

April 2015

Date of this report

27 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012

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.