Michael Park Kindergarten - 22/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Michael Park Kindergarten

How well placed is Michael Park 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

Michael Park Kindergarten is located within the Michael Park School campus in Ellerslie, Auckland. It is licensed to provide education and care for 100 children aged over two years. Children from many cultural backgrounds attend sessions that are similar to school hours. Those aged two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half are catered for in the Rose Cottage, before moving through to one of four mixed-age rooms. Almost all of the kindergarten children transition to Michael Park School between six and seven years of age.

The Rudolf Steiner Schools Trust is the proprietor of the kindergarten and has a governance role. The Rudolf Steiner philosophy is practised in the kindergarten, and in the school. Children's individuality is foregrounded. Play resources are unstructured, and mainly from the natural materials. Self-directed play forms the basis of the programme and opportunities for children to work together, and be imaginative and creative are well supported. Seasonal rhythms are embraced and celebrated.

The kindergarten leader/manager is a qualified teacher. The kindergarten staff team has a variety of background knowledge and experience, and includes eight registered early childhood teachers. A distributed leadership model allows each teacher to take a lead role in different areas of kindergarten operations.

The 2013 ERO report acknowledged high levels of parent engagement and the successful integration of literacy and numeracy in play. It noted good opportunities for children to develop social competence, and their perseverance in learning activities. Advice and guidance for children with special needs, internal evaluation, and transition processes were identified as strengths. These features remain evident in practice.

Agreed areas for continued development in ERO's 2013 report were the mentoring of beginning teachers, children's participation in, and contribution to, programme planning and more effective documentation of children's learning progress over time. There has been a positive response to these areas for development.

The Review Findings

Children play well in small groups. They are articulate and imaginative, and use resources well. Older children are able to sustain cooperative play for periods of time, setting and accepting roles, negotiating and challenging each other and themselves.

Children have opportunities to take on leadership roles, particularly around daily routines and tuakana/teina relationships. These opportunities allow younger children to learn from older peers and provide meaningful learning around mathematics and literacy.

Children are independent. They have a sense of belonging in, and ownership of, the kindergarten environment. The curriculum includes a strong focus on the arts, storytelling and moving to music. An element of risk-taking is encouraged.

Teachers maintain a calm, unhurried pace to the programme. They listen thoughtfully to children and talk with them in quiet, respectful ways that are reassuring and supportive. Their relationships with children are warm. Teachers work effectively with families to establish understandings of home contexts.

Parents who spoke with ERO shared their understanding of the Steiner philosophy and appreciated the individual and inclusive care and education promoted for their children. They value opportunities to participate in the numerous celebrations and festivals the programme offers.

The service's bicultural practice has been the subject of an ongoing review that has resulted in the appointment of a Māori cultural advisor. The kindergarten leader has identified that this is an area of practice that they will continue to strengthen.

Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, is highly evident in programme planning documentation. Significant learning is being shared with parents through narratives that identify possibilities for teachers' responses in order to bring more complexity to children's learning.

A distributed leadership model is providing good opportunities for teachers to develop their professional practice. The kindergarten leader continues to refine and develop the teacher appraisal system and is committed to maintaining an organisational culture of ongoing improvement. The purpose of self review is well understood, supported by research, and resulting in positive outcomes for children.

The kindergarten's vision and philosophy focus on the special character of Steiner schools. A framework of policies and procedures is established and continues to be reviewed to ensure alignment with current legal requirements. Strategic and annual plans guide the kindergarten's long term development.

Key Next Steps

Kindergarten leaders agree that appropriate ways to enhance their practice, include:

  • ensuring children's interests are prioritised in programme planning

  • refining programme planning to establish alignment between planning and learning stories

  • using the kindergarten's developing appraisal and mentoring processes to help all teachers respond more consistently to the learning needs of older children

  • consistently following new supervision and risk management plans.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Michael Park 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 Michael Park Kindergarten will be in three years.

Violet Tu'uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

22 June 2017

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

Ellerslie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10081

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll

100

Gender composition

Girls 51 Boys 49

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
German
Chinese
Russian
Brazilian
English
Hungarian
other

10%
45%
11%
10%
6%
2%
2%
2%
12%

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

May 2017

Date of this report

22 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2013

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

June 2007

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.