Newfield Kindergarten - 30/10/2013

1 Evaluation of Newfield Kindergarten

How well placed is Newfield 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

Children at Newfield kindergarten benefit from a rich and stimulating programme that supports their learning and wellbeing. They play and learn in an exceptionally well-resourced indoor environment that is inviting and inspiring. The outdoor area is a natural environment providing challenges for children and a variety of play spaces for children to explore. Both these areas have been intentionally constructed to provide spaces that inspire children.

Newfield Kindergarten is located next to the primary school in Newfield, Invercargill. The teachers have established close links with the school.

Children attend a mixture of extended day, morning and afternoon sessions and may also attend a weekly playgroup before they formally start kindergarten.

A feature of this kindergarten is the Whānau room that has been developed as a space for families to gather and stay and, at times, meet with visiting agencies such as the Public Health Nurse. Many parents spend time with their children during the sessions during the “stay and play” days each week.

The very experienced head teacher provides strong leadership to the team. Teachers work well together to support children’s learning.

This review was part of a cluster of 23 reviews in the Southland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from the partnerships teachers have with them and their whānau. There is a sense of aroha (respect) between them. Teachers know the children very well. They are attuned to the children’s personalities and learning styles. They have respectful, nurturing relationships with them.

Children have strong friendships with one another. Their teachers have taught them how to use effective communication and other ways to help them relate well with each other. Children are empowered to take increasing responsibility for the wellbeing of themselves and others.

Children spend long periods of time developing their ideas and making their play more complex. They have fun together.

The experienced head teacher has high expectations and provides strong leadership for teaching and learning. The teachers and head teacher are:

  • intentional in their teaching, and use purposeful strategies to encourage and support children
  • actively building children’s identities as successful learners
  • promote the value of learning through play
  • work collaboratively and use the strengths of all team members.

The teachers have high expectations for children’s learning and behaviour. They view children as competent learners and explorers. Children know these expectations. ERO observed children confidently making choices about their learning and play. Teachers support children to experiment, set themselves challenges and make links across time and activities by revisiting their ideas, interests and deepening their understanding. Teachers take time to genuinely listen to children and explore the deeper meanings in their learning. They foster children’s language development and are strong advocates for children who they have identified as requiring additional support.

The kindergarten’s curriculum is effectively designed to promote positive outcomes for all children. Teachers use their in-depth knowledge of children and subject content knowledge to provide layers of complexity in programmes to enrich children’s learning.

Children’s learning is enhanced by the provision of an extensive range of subject areas embedded in real-life contexts stemming from children’s interests. This includes mathematics, science, art, dramatic play, literacy, information and communication technologies (ICT), physical play, gardening and sustainability.

Planning for learning is a strength. This is evident in the way that:

  • planning shows individual children’s learning and next steps
  • children’s interests are developed into long and short-term group plans
  • teachers and whānau priorities for learning are integrated into programmes, for example, Enviroschools and road safety.

Learning is made visible for children and their whānau in the displays of children’s experiences.

The head teacher and teachers have a very strong commitment to ensuring all children know about the dual heritage of Aotearoa. They make extensive use of resources and many planned experiences that includes, myths, legends and te reo Māori.

The head teacher and teachers have developed a kindergarten philosophy, vision and strategic intent that align with the Southland Kindergarten Association’s strategic intent. They have developed useful action plans to implement these.

The head teacher maintains efficient systems for managing the workload and running the kindergarten.

The Kindergarten South governors consulted widely when developing the vision and goals that guide the long term direction of the association. They have high expectations that the association and each kindergarten will:

  • involve the community
  • provide natural learning environments
  • do what is best for children
  • be a good employer.

The association is committed to transforming each kindergarten’s outdoor play area. Children now play and learn in beautiful and natural environments.

Governors and staff have a clear understanding of the roles of governance and management in the association. They have developed a useful policy framework and guidelines that support the day-to-day and long-term operation of the kindergartens.

The advisory-support teachers provide useful feedback and guidance to staff and endorse the high expectations set by the board of governors. Newfield Kindergarten benefits from strong ongoing support from the general manager and other association staff.

Next Step

A further enhancement to current good practice would be for the teachers to refine processes and documentation for strategic self review then use this to monitor the progress of their developments.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

30 October 2013

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

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

5522

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children over two years of age

Service roll

39

Gender composition

Boys: 21

Girls 18

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Russian

9

28

1

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable

 
 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

30 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2010

 

Education Review

December 2006

 

Education Review

October 2004

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.