Meadowbank Kindergarten - 28/08/2015

1. Evaluation of Meadowbank Kindergarten

How well placed is Meadowbank 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

Meadowbank Kindergarten is a well established service in east Auckland. In 2014 it changed from a sessional service to a ‘kindergarten day’ model which enables children to attend sessions similar to school hours. Teachers and the community have responded positively to this model.

The kindergarten provides for up to 40 children over two years of age. It is staffed by a head teacher and three other registered teachers, a teaching assistant, a teacher aide, and an administrator. Currently all children are over three years of age. Relationships, child-led learning and fostering children’s independent thinking are integral to the kindergarten philosophy. Whakawhanaungatanga is at the foundation of all aspects of the kindergarten curriculum, programme and teaching practices.

Since the 2012 ERO review the kindergarten has undergone significant changes to the teaching team, centre hours of operation and to the building. From October 2014 to March 2015 the kindergarten was in temporary premises while renovations were completed. Despite these changes, teachers have maintained the good quality teaching practices noted in ERO’s 2012 report and have continued to foster a sense of community. Parents continue to be well informed, supportive and appreciative of the kindergarten. This report also noted that teachers and ERO agreed that teachers could continue to strengthen bicultural practices, enhance aspects of self review, assessment, planning and evaluation. Teachers have reviewed and strengthened practices in these areas.

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 supports 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 learn in an attractive, well resourced environment that provokes and sustains child-initiated learning, discovery and purposeful play. The influence of the Reggio Emilia approach to the environment being a third teacher is evident. There is good provision for active play and physical challenge. This is complemented by a calm and harmonious atmosphere in the kindergarten.

Children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and enthusiasm for learning. They are confident, socially competent and have friendships. Children’s independent thinking and problem solving abilities are fostered in meaningful learning experiences. They engage in sustained imaginative play that involves a high level of collaboration and negotiation. Children are caring and supportive of peers and are developing the dispositions of life-long learners.

Teachers’ respectful and supportive interactions foster and extend children’s ideas and interests in play and discussion. They encourage children to try things out and experiment in their play. Literacy, mathematics, science concepts and the use of information and communication technologies are skilfully integrated into everyday activities. Children’s imagination and creativity is valued and further developed. Promoting sustainability and respect for the natural world are also an integral part of teacher practice.

Teachers view all children as competent capable learners. They are inclusive of, and responsive to, the strengths and abilities of all children at the kindergarten. The programme is strongly reflective of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and teaching philosophy. Children’s ideas and parents aspirations are valued and included in planning. Highly informative assessment and planning documentation shows how children’s group and individual interests guide the programme. Children’s paper portfolios are also highly valued, added to by parents, and reflect children's learning journey.

Teachers are constantly considering ways to promote positive outcomes for all children. They are eager to continue to strengthen their bicultural practices and continue to increase the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the kindergarten. The head teacher is an effective professional leader and encourages leadership in others, including children. Teachers work collaboratively as a team to enact the kindergarten philosophy, annual and strategic plan. Sound systems for self review guide teaching practice and inform programme improvement. They are continuing to enrich partnerships with parents/whānau in ways that include sharing culture and capabilities.

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. Centre operations are also guided by clear future planning and a shared vision that is linked to the AKA’s plan. The Association has a strong commitment to biculturalism and to embracing diversity. There are sound systems in place for health, safety and accountability.

Key Next Steps

The teachers, the Association representative and ERO agree that the key next steps for the kindergarten could include continuing to:

  • strengthen the evaluative aspects of self review through teaching as inquiry
  • seek ways to make the depth of children’s thinking and learning more evident in documentation

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Meadowbank, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5071

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

53

Gender composition

Girls 31

Boys 22

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

South African

Sri Lankan

Samoan

other

1

41

2

2

1

6

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

28 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

September 2012

 

Education Review

August 2009

 

Education Review

June 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.