Milford Kindergarten - 28/08/2015

1 Evaluation of Milford Kindergarten

How well placed is Milford 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

Milford Kindergarten is located on the North Shore, Auckland. It has a positive history of ERO reports and continues to provide high quality education and care for children. The kindergarten is licensed for up to 40 children over two years of age. The service has been operating a kindergarten day model since 2011 which enables children to attend sessions similar to school hours.

There is a centre-wide commitment to sustainable practice. The kindergarten embodies its vision to be a community of active learners creating a healthy, respectful and sustainable world. This vision and underpinning philosophy are embedded throughout centre practice. Milford Kindergarten holds silver Enviro-School and gold healthy heart status. The kindergarten provides an attractive, natural environment that has been gradually upgraded to be consistent with the kindergarten’s vision and philosophy.

The kindergarten operates as part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides effective leadership, a management framework, support personnel and a programme of professional development for teachers. Since the 2012 ERO review, teachers have been promoted from within the service to head teacher and an AKA education specialist who continues to support Milford Kindergarten. Successful succession planning has maintained staff sustainability and strengthened a consistent centre-wide focus on positive outcomes for children. This has enabled teachers to further embed the strengths that were acknowledged in the 2012 ERO report and to make very good progress in the areas that were noted for development.

After extensive review, consultation and development, the AKA 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 demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in response to the kindergarten’s welcoming and engaging environment. Children are settled and have warm, friendly relationships with their peers and staff. They are respected as leaders of their learning. Children engage in interactions throughout the day that reinforce their social competency. They are encouraged to be responsible problem solvers that can make a difference as global citizens. Children are engaged in real learning experiences that frequently stem from their own wonderings, goal setting and investigations. They develop complexity in their play through projects and creative use of the environment. Children are empowered to be capable and confident, lifelong learners.

Children experience an exciting transition programme, Ngahere Kindergarten, that prepares them well for school by building their key competencies. Teachers make good use of an adjacent bush area for this programme. Teachers work collaboratively with parents to embrace positive relationships as the key to successful outcomes for children. Parents’ aspirations for their children inform children’s goals. Teachers respect children by taking time with them to discuss decisions that impact on them.

The innovative programme embraces Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and bicultural partnerships. High quality planning, assessments and evaluations indicate that teachers are responsive to children’s changing needs and interests. Children’s portfolios show that teachers are increasingly emphasising children’s dispositions for learning and independent thinking. Teachers are accessing professional development to continue to strengthen the emergent, spontaneous curriculum by deepening children’s learning.

Teachers are making good progress in strengthening the inclusion of te reo in the programme. Professional development and support from local experts is having a positive effect on the programme. Teachers agree that this is an area which they wish to continue improving.

The head teacher is providing effective leadership and modelling high quality practice that is motivating the team. Staff are very well supported by the AKA education specialist. There is strong sense of shared responsibility in the kindergarten vision and philosophy. Teachers are committed to ongoing learning and sharing of professional practice. They are keen to continue presenting at professional conferences.

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. The kindergarten’s self review is robust and has resulted in ongoing improvement and good progress towards the kindergarten’s strategic intentions. Teachers have made significant improvements to focus self review on outcomes for children, in particular for children who are at risk of poorer outcomes. These have included ongoing changes to the learning environment, programme and teacher practice.

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 in embracing diversity. There are sound systems in place for health, safety and accountability.

Key Next Steps

The teachers, education specialist and ERO agree that key priorities for the centre include ongoing self review and professional development to continue:

  • deepening children’s learning through a responsive curriculum
  • strengthening bicultural practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

28 August 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Milford, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5072

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

55

Gender composition

Boys 29

Girls 26

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Chinese

Korean

Pakistani

other ethnicities

1

37

6

4

2

2

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

June 2015

Date of this report

28 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

July 2012

Education Review

August 2009

Education Review

September 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.