Lynfield Kindergarten - 09/09/2015

1. Evaluation of Lynfield Kindergarten

How well placed is Lynfield Kindergarten 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

Lynfield Kindergarten is adjacent to the local primary school and serves a culturally diverse community in Auckland. Many families speak English as an additional language. In 2011 attendance hours changed from a sessional service to the Kindergarten Day Model (KDM) of six-hours per day. Teachers and the community have responded positively to this model. The kindergarten is licensed to provide education and care for up to 40 children over two years of age.

The kindergarten team comprises three teachers, including a head teacher, a teaching assistant and an administrator. Recent changes in staff have been managed successfully and have resulted in the continuation of high quality practice. Strong relationships, child-directed learning and a sense of wonder are foundations of the philosophy. Māori concepts of manaakitanga, turangawaewae, tuakana/teina and ako are fundamental to practice. Kindness, empathy and respect are fostered and modelled by teachers.

The 2012 ERO report recognised a variety of positive features in the centre, including high quality teaching practice. Many opportunities for imaginative play, creativity, and early literacy, mathematics and science learning were evident. Teachers’ partnerships with whānau supported children’s learning. These features remain evident. The 2012 report also noted that teachers were seeking to deepen their knowledge and strengthen their practices relating to Māori language and culture. They also wanted to attend relevant professional training to support the further development of teaching practices that improve outcomes for children. Steady progress in these areas has been made and continues to raise the quality of the programme.

The learning environment has been further improved by alterations and additional resourcing. Considerable work has been completed in the indoor areas, enhancing the welcoming atmosphere, and the attractiveness and effectiveness of the learning environment. Consequently, the centre environment now caters better for the requirements of children, parents and teachers.

The kindergarten operates as part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association, which provides considered leadership, a management framework, support personnel and a programme of professional development for teachers.

After extensive review, consultation and development, the Auckland Kindergarten Association has recently launched a new 10-year strategic direction. Its four strategic pillars/objectives relate to educational excellence, core organisational processes, community engagement and a future focus. These objectives are intended to guide the Association and its kindergartens in their ongoing development. The Association’s approach to bringing about a substantial change in its organisational structure has been carefully considered.

New Association roles have been established to provide more targeted support for kindergarten operations, curriculum and development. Professional development support kindergarten head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) is being implemented to monitor quality in kindergartens and contributes to self review and ongoing improvement.

This review was part of a cluster of eight kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are articulate and independent. They frequently initiate and lead their own learning interests, and are confident users of technology. Children display dispositions of curiosity, caring and kindness. Firm friendships amongst children are evident. They discuss their learning with teachers and each other. There are continuous conversations about home experiences and interests developed in the kindergarten. Children are confident in their own cultures and identities.

Whānau are comfortable in the centre. They are part of a strong learning partnership with children and teachers. Home visits help whānau to transition smoothly into the kindergarten. They appreciate the support that teachers provide to help children settle well into school. Parents share their aspirations for their children with teachers, who value and respond to these aspirations within the learning programme. Parents are provided with many opportunities to develop friendships with one another at kindergarten and community events.

The centre’s new teaching team has settled quickly and work collaboratively. Teachers support one another to develop leadership skills and experience success in their individual and group goals. They share a love of teaching and learning and a sense of fun and enjoyment. Teachers display effective high quality teaching practices. They are skilled and improvement focused.

The curriculum has a strong focus on equity-based learning opportunities. It responds effectively to the interests, strengths and abilities of all children. Challenges are provided to extend learning.

Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpins learning. Māori children are supported to be successful in their learning. The inclusion of Māori culture, language and tikanga in the programme has been strengthened. Children with special learning needs are well supported by teachers and also specialist agencies. Children who are learning English as an additional language are effectively supported.

The assessment and evaluation of children’s ongoing learning and interests are evident in teachers’ planning. Planning is effectively documented and can be revisited in wall displays and in children’s individual hard copy and computerised portfolios. Information communication technologies (ICT) have become a positive feature in the kindergarten. Teachers use ICT tools for communicating learning between children, parents and teachers.

Kindergarten leadership is highly effective in building the quality of teaching and learning and the professional capacity and skill of teachers. The head teacher has a collaborative leadership approach. She grows leadership within the team. High levels of care and respect between the teaching team are evident. Teachers have an enthusiasm for learning and a commitment to ongoing centre improvement.

Comprehensive training on self review has resulted in teachers who are reflective and improvement focused. Teachers have identified that they could further improve self-review outcomes by consistently including a research component in the procedure.

Auckland Kindergarten Association systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in kindergarten operations are well established. A variety of useful systems and processes contribute to the teaching team’s self review. Lynfield Kindergarten’s self review practices are well embedded. Centre operations are also guided by clear future planning and a shared vision, linked to the AKA’s plan. There are sound systems in place for health, safety and accountability.

Key Next Steps

The teaching team, the Education Specialist-Curriculum and Pedagogy and ERO agree that appropriate priorities for ongoing development could include continuing to maintain and improve the quality of teaching and learning programmes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lynfield Kindergarten 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 Lynfield Kindergarten will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

9 September 2015

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Lynfield, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5065

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

52

Gender composition

Boys 29

Girls 23

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Indian

Chinese

Samoan

Fijian

Indian

Sri Lankan

South African Indian

Bangladeshi

Indonesian

Pakistani

5

12

11

7

7

3

3

1

1

1

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

9 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

August 2012

 

Education Review

October 2009

 

Education Review

October 2006

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.