Mayfield Kindergarten - 02/05/2014

1. Evaluation of Mayfield Kindergarten

How well placed is Mayfield 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

Mayfield Kindergarten is located beside Mayfield School in a residential area of Otara. It provides early childhood education for up to 40 children from two years old to school age. Families have the option of enrolling their child for six hour days or for selected session times. The number of children aged two to three years on the roll has recently increased.

Mayfield Kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) and operates within the policies and management framework of this organisation. A professional services manager (PSM) visits regularly and provides professional advice and support for teachers.

The kaupapa of the kindergarten is based on whanaungatanga and manaaki for children and their families. Aroha, awhi and ako guide teachers as they work alongside families, many of whom have long term connections with the kindergarten. Tuakana/teina practices underpin teaching and learning approaches. Teachers respect the mana of tamariki and value their diverse cultural heritages.

The well established teaching team is led by an experienced head teacher. A new teacher has recently joined the team.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children and their families are well known and warmly greeted by staff. Positive relationships between teachers and whānau promote an inclusive atmosphere. Children’s wellbeing is supported by caring and calm teachers.

The programme is child-led and tamariki have lots of time to explore their interests. Teachers play alongside children and promote respectful interactions. They offer children a good range of learning resources and activities, and support children’s decision making skills well. Teachers are well positioned to increase opportunities for longer conversations with and between children by using more open ended questions. Expanding literacy learning in areas of play could further promote children’s thinking and language skills.

Recent upgrades to the outdoor learning environment have significantly improved children’s access to and use of the outdoor learning environment. Generous garden areas are well used to provide interesting and extended learning experiences for children. Teachers also make very good use of outdoor areas to encourage whānau to stay and join in the programme with their children.

Māori children’s culture and identity are well supported by the kindergarten. Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a strong feature of the kindergarten’s philosophy. The prominent display of taonga helps Māori children and their whānau to connect to the kaupapa of the service. Increasing teachers’ capacity to use te reo Māori on a more regular basis should enhance children’s use of Māori language.

Pacific children’s cultural heritage and identity is valued. Teachers welcome opportunities to learn Pacific languages to use with the children. Increasing the visibility of cultural artefacts and expanding resources to strengthen home languages could now be helpful to enhance children’s bilingualism at kindergarten.

Teachers have responded well to the 2011 ERO report recommendation to improve their assessment of children’s learning. Portfolios are attractive records of children's learning experiences and families value the learning stories they contain. Linking the next learning steps for individual children to programme planning is a relevant focus for teachers.

Teachers are focused on continual improvement. They are developing their understanding and use of self review. Performance management supports teachers to reflect critically on their teaching practices. Developing a shared understanding of effective teaching practice aligned to the centre philosophy could help sustain good practices.

The Auckland Kindergarten Association continues to provide strong governance for kindergartens. The association continues to expand its strategies to build professional leadership across the organisation. It has diversified the delivery of professional learning and development to keep teachers up-to-date with current theory and initiatives. Teaching teams are well supported by the AKA to continue to strengthen quality outcomes for children.

It is essential, however, that key AKA policies such as child protection are regularly revisited by teachers and shared with families. Through the ERO review, teachers have developed a clearer understanding about the need to refer situations to the Association for advice and to keep records of all visitors to the kindergarten.

Key Next Steps

The teachers, the PSM and ERO agree that key next steps for the kindergarten should include:

  • developing the centre strategic plan by linking goals to specific outcomes for children and using measurable indicators to guide evaluative self review
  • connecting individual children’s next learning steps to programme planning and learning activities
  • extending the complexity of learning opportunities and through the communication and exploration strands of the curriculum.

The 2014 review of the AKA strategic plan should provide an effective way for kindergarten staff to contribute to the ongoing development of the Association.  

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mayfield 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.

In order to improve practice teachers should ensure that the kindergarten premises are used for appropriate purposes by members of the kindergarten community and should promptly report any concerns to the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Mayfield Kindergarten will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

2 May 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

Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5070

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

32

Gender composition

Boys 18

Girls 14

Ethnic composition

Māori

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Tongan

12

10

7

3

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

February 2014

Date of this report

2 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2011

 

Education Review

May 2008

 

Education Review

April 2005

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.