Millie's House - 14/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Millie's House

How well placed is Millie's House 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

Millie's House is a privately owned education and care service located in Lower Hutt. It is licensed for 100 children, including 34 aged up to two years.

The centre serves a diverse, multicultural community. At the time of this ERO review, 24 children on the roll identified as Māori, and seven from Pacific communities.

The large, split-level building is divided into five age-related learning spaces. Three adjoining outdoor environments allow for mixed-age interactions.

A new manager was appointed in 2016. She is supported by an assistant manager and four team leaders. Most teaching staff are qualified. The leadership team enjoy a close networking relationship with neighbouring early learning services.

The June 2016 ERO report identified a number of areas requiring further development. These included planning and assessment processes, elements of the curriculum, appraisal, internal evaluation and operational systems. The centre has undertaken considerable professional learning and made significant shifts in practice, resulting in improvements for children.

The Review Findings

The centre has successfully developed systems and policies to guide consistent, sustainable operation and practices.

Infants and toddlers benefit from cheerful and responsive interactions. Teachers are attentive to their communication and cues. They work alongside children, encouraging their active exploration. The environment and resources are inviting. Teachers engage warmly with children in care routines that are flexible to their preferences. Parents are respectfully consulted. Teachers know children and their families well.

Older children work well in collaborative groups. Some teacher-child interactions are used as valuable opportunities to extend children’s thinking and oral language. Social competence skills are respectfully promoted, through clear and consistent strategies.

The daily programme contains both free play and structured group times. During unstructured times, children are engaged and confident. They freely access a wide range of stimulating resources and activities to support their learning. The physical environment fosters active exploration and movement.

Structured elements of the curriculum, particularly set group times, require review. Teachers should carefully consider how their practice would better align with the statements within the service’s philosophy, the intent of the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki (2017), and current best practice research.

Transitions into and through the centre are flexible to the needs of children and families. Teachers facilitate smooth transitions through close communication between rooms. Interconnected and shared spaces further support children's confidence and belonging within the wider group.

Children have opportunities to engage with elements of te ao me te reo Māori. Karakia and waiata Māori are well embedded in practice. Ongoing improvements to bicultural practice are planned.

Assessment, planning and evaluation documentation has undergone significant development. Profile books clearly show progress over time. Teachers closely observe children and regularly discuss their interests and strengths at teacher meetings and with families. Child and parent voice is regularly gathered to support narratives. Teachers create useful assessments that form the basis for learning goals. These link clearly to Te Whāriki (2017).

Leaders agree that their next step is to support all teachers to consistently show in documentation how children's learning is being purposefully extended. More specific, individualised teaching strategies should be planned, enacted and then evaluated for their effectiveness. Where appropriate, teachers should show how information gathered about children's cultural contexts has helped to form their teaching decisions.

Teachers liaise appropriately with families and outside agencies to support the learning of children with diverse needs. A next step is to clarify a range of strategies for teachers to support families and children whose first language is not English.

A useful framework guides internal evaluation of practice. Teachers collaborate on investigation and research, in consultation with parents, to make well-considered improvements. Benefits to children are prioritised and ongoing monitoring occurs. Leaders agree that they should introduce measurable indicators of success, based on an evaluative question, to support a more robust and systematic process.

A new online appraisal system is being implemented from 2018. As this becomes embedded, leaders and teachers should ensure that goals, observations and teacher inquiries are clearly aligned with the service's philosophy and strategic priorities. Provisionally certificated teachers are well supported through a useful mentoring process.

The manager is effectively building a cohesive, professionally-focused team culture. Leaders communicate clear expectations of teachers and support their growing pedagogical knowledge. Leadership opportunities are available for teachers, based on their strengths and interests. A good range of professional development, and useful networking within the local early learning community, promote ongoing improvement. Leaders demonstrate a clear commitment to growing and maintaining quality of practice.

Key Next Steps

ERO and leaders agree that priorities for improvement are:

  • reviewing teacher practices, particularly structured times and inclusive strategies for families of English Language Learners, to more strongly reflect the service philosophy

  • implementing specific, individualised plans to extend children's learning, drawing on cultural information where appropriate

  • embedding the new appraisal system.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Millie's House 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 Millie's House will be in three years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

14 May 2018

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

Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

46576

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 34 aged under 2

Service roll

102

Gender composition

Girls 55, Boys 47

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Chinese
Other ethnic groups

24
49
7
1
3 9

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

14 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

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.