Mt Albert Kindergarten - 02/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Mt Albert Kindergarten

How well placed is Mt Albert 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

Mt Albert Kindergarten is licensed for up to 40 children from two to five years of age. Full day and sessional options are available for families and most children attend three times per week.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises children learning through play. Core values of care, respect and tolerance foster a safe educational environment with nurturing and respectful relationships. Importance is placed on developing children's social competence.

The kindergarten team comprises a head teacher and three other registered teachers, two support workers and an administrator. Staff are from diverse and multilingual backgrounds.

The kindergarten is well established and has a history of positive ERO reports. ERO’s 2014 report recognised a variety of positive features, including welcoming and inclusive relationships, and a comprehensive range of activities and experiences for children. Teachers have responded well to recommendations in the last review, explored ways to develop children's learning dispositions and strengthened self-review processes to achieve positive outcomes for children.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework and support personnel, in a range of different roles.

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

The Review Findings

Children and families benefit from the welcoming environment and have a strong sense of belonging in the kindergarten. They are offered opportunities to enhance their pride in their cultural heritage. Parents who spoke to ERO, value the care, and the nurturing way teachers build children's confidence in all aspects of the programme.

Children are independent, and have opportunities to lead and participate in uninterrupted play. They are focused and highly engaged in their learning. Children are free to choose activities based on their interests and preferences. Friendships between children are evident and they play in collaborative and friendly mixed age groups.

Children freely access internal and external play areas. Significant work has been done to improve the spacious indoor learning environment. This has resulted in a stimulating and creative space for children. Children's work and their contributions to the learning programme are celebrated. Further improvements to the outdoor learning environment are being planned.

Teachers promote a calm and peaceful environment. The pace of the day is unhurried. Children are encouraged to take increased responsibility for themselves and others. Teachers use strategies to deepen children's thinking. Children are well supported as they transition to school.

The programme has a strong focus on strengthening oral literacy. Opportunities are created for children to problem solve. Skills and knowledge from parents and the local community are used well to extend children's experiences. Teachers plan collaboratively to develop programmes and activities that reflect children's interests. They continue to develop shared expectations and understandings that will strengthen programme planning.

The embedding of bicultural practices and understandings, including ways to recognise te ao Māori, is an area teachers continue to develop. It would be helpful now to review the kindergarten philosophy through a bicultural lens and explore further ways to engage parents in the review process. This could contribute positively to building learning partnerships between teachers and the parent community.

Parents who spoke to ERO during the review appreciate the frequent opportunities that teachers provide for conversations about their child's progress and development. They value the interactive digital communication and portfolios showing their child's learning and involvement in the programme. Teachers should now consider how to document their teaching role to capture the complexity of children's learning through play. Analysing individual learning stories and identifying next steps could support this process.

The experienced head teacher continues to build her own leadership practice. She is well supported by the Association as she builds the leadership capacity of the team. Teachers continue to seek ways to broaden their own leadership practice.

Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA’s strategic goals. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) aligns with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. It enables the AKA and teachers to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement. The AKA continues to review its management and leadership structure. It has begun a process of internal evaluation to establish how effectively the four pillars of its strategic plan are resulting in more positive outcomes for children, their families, and the organisation. 

Key Next Steps

The head teacher and teachers agree the key next steps for the kindergarten are to:

  • strengthen all documentation to support the good work in teaching and learning practices

  • embed reflection and evaluation practices

  • refine programme planning processes

  • strengthen all documentation that shows the kindergarten's continued commitment to bicultural practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mt Albert 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 Mt Albert Kindergarten will be in three years.

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

2 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

Mt Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5098

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll

40

Gender composition

Boys 25 Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

other

4

20

11

5

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 2017

Date of this report

2 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

February 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

September 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.