My Treehut - 06/04/2020

1 Evaluation of My Treehut

How well placed is My Treehut to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

My Treehut is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

My Treehut is a privately-owned early childhood service in Taupō. It is licensed for 56 children including 10 up to two years old. At the beginning of 2019 the service opened The Cubby to cater for younger children aged up to three. At the time of this ERO evaluation there were 68 children enrolled, including nine Māori.

The vision, 'Toku Whare Rakau, he tipu tahi ana me to pai - My Treehut growing with respect', underlines the strategic goal to inspire a culture of nature and respect. The philosophy emphasises that tamariki come with their own kete and are naturally inquisitive, creative, inventive problem solvers. Through whanaungatanga (relationships), kaitiakitanga (guardianship), kotahitanga (unity) and respect they are encouraged and supported to test boundaries, manage risks and explore social situations. Experimenting in a safe, resource rich environment through child initiated experiences is an expressed expectation.

The owner of My Treehut is supported by two team leaders for the two spaces. Staffing includes a range of fully qualified and provisionally certified teachers, and students in training.

The service is a member of the Taupō Kāhui Ako.

The Review Findings

The service philosophy is well-reflected in the curriculum. Children lead their own learning through accessing a wide range of open-ended resources. Teachers actively support children's exploration and discovery. Regular excursions strengthen children's connections to their community and environment. Children, including infants and toddlers are encouraged and supported by teachers to take risks through exploration.

Oral literacy is a strength and children engage in extensive imaginative play. They tell stories and relate them to each other during their play. Teachers provide children with many opportunities to experience a love of language. Children benefit from teaching strategies that foster their language development through meaningful contexts.

Infants and toddlers actively explore their well thought out and designed environment. They move freely within the spaces and enjoy opportunities to play with older children. Visits by children between the Cubby and Treehut allows them to develop and extend their curiosity and sense of adventure.

Respectful relationships underpin teacher practice. Children develop empathy for each other, the environment and are empowered to make decisions for themselves. They are acknowledged as competent and confident learners. Strong relationships between staff and parents support children to be inquisitive and creative. Well considered transitions clearly focus on the needs and strengths of each child.

The bicultural curriculum continues to develop. Teachers are growing their confidence to encompass te ao Māori within the centre. The service is in the early stages of developing a place-based curriculum. A number of staff will be working alongside Ngāti Tūwharetoa to support success for Māori as Māori as a valued outcome for children. ERO's external evaluation confirms this priority as teachers take steps to reflect children's language, culture and identity through assessment, planning and evaluation.

Mostly, assessment shows children's strengths, interests, ways of learning and involvement in the curriculum. Some links to the learning outcomes of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are emerging. Learning assessments should be further strengthened to show progress over time and acknowledge children's culture, language and identity. Staff should continue to develop internal evaluation to inform improved outcomes for children.

Teachers work well as a team. They are collaborative and share their knowledge about children's learning. Professional learning and development informs practice. Teachers are focused on ensuring children experience positive outcomes.

Key Next Steps

Teachers should continue to improve assessment, planning and evaluation to illustrate and support continuity in learning and demonstrate children's progress in a range of contexts.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of My Treehut 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.

The service must ensure that the record of all medicine (prescription and non-prescription) given to children attending the service includes evidence of parent acknowledgement.
[Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, Reg 46, HS28]

During the onsite phase of ERO's evaluation this has been actioned.

Darcy Te Hau

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central) (Acting)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

6 April 2020

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

Taupō

Ministry of Education profile number

45803

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

56 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

68

Gender composition

Male 37, Female 31

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

9
55
4

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

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

January 2020

Date of this report

6 April 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2017

Education Review

November 2013

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.