Newlands Kindergarten - 20/06/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Newlands Kindergarten is affiliated to the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association (the association). The association has a governing board and a general manager. The general manager is the service provider contact person for the kindergarten. The association employs a team of senior teachers, one of whom is responsible for leading the professional support and advice and guidance to the teaching team. She also liaises with the kindergarten community.

An inclusive culture underpins the operation of the kindergarten. Staff warmly welcome parents and whānau and encourage them to share time and contribute to their child’s learning. Close partnerships are fostered through informal and formal communication and consultation. The concepts of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are highly evident.

Teachers model appropriate social interactions. They encourage children to develop skills of negotiation, respect and responsibility. An interest in and knowledge of the whole child is apparent. Children are nurtured in a positive and highly supportive environment.

Early literacy knowledge and skills are fostered in a print-rich environment with many different aids for children to read, use and manipulate. Literacy, in its broadest sense, is valued and shared with children. Well-considered teaching strategies help children develop mathematical understandings and simple science concepts.

Attractive profile books document each child’s learning. Teachers use purposeful observations to identify and plan for individual interests, strengths and dispositions. There is an appropriate focus on increasing parent contributions and determining aspirations for their children.

Transitions into and out of the kindergarten are carefully planned and managed. There is a high level of support for families. Teachers work together in children’s best interests to make transitions smooth.

The kindergarten’s philosophy of having an attractive and creative environment is evident in practice. Children confidently explore their surroundings and settle quickly. The large, refurbished indoor area invites investigation and creativity.

Children are well supported to test and extend their physical and fine motor skills. Risk taking is actively encouraged.

Areas for review and development include increasing teacher understanding of effective self review and further integrating te reo me nga tikanga Māori and families’ cultural identities within the kindergarten environment.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Newlands Kindergarten was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children at Newlands Kindergarten.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children;
  • the learning environment; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

The Quality of Education

Background

Since the April 2008 ERO review, the kindergarten has restructured and increased session hours. The teaching team comprises a head teacher and three teachers.

Considerable upgrading of the indoor environment includes installation of acoustic walls and storage cupboards, alterations to the children’s bathroom, new carpet and vinyl and a renovated kitchen. Further development of the indoor and outdoor areas is presently being planned.

Areas of strength

Interactions and relationships. In keeping with the kindergarten’s philosophy, children are nurtured in a positive and highly supportive environment. Teachers clearly enact their guiding principles.

  • Teachers model appropriate social interactions. They encourage children to develop skills of negotiation, respect and responsibility. An interest in, and knowledge of the whole child is apparent.
  • Children are friendly, interact well, confidently approach adults and initiate conversations. Their mana is upheld. Teachers foster a sense of fun and enthusiasm for learning.
  • An inclusive culture underpins the operation of the kindergarten. Staff warmly welcome parents and whānau and encourage them to share time and contribute to their child’s learning. Close partnerships are fostered through informal and formal communication and consultation. The concepts of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are highly evident.
  • Teachers successfully promote independence and self care. Routines are flexible and well understood by children.
  • Children identified as having additional learning needs are well supported. The teaching team and education support personnel work alongside children and their families in a collaborative way.

Programme. Children are provided with an interesting and inclusive curriculum. It is child-centred, valuing learning through play. Key curriculum priorities reflect the principles of Te Whāriki and revolve around social competency.

  • Early literacy knowledge and skills are encouraged in a print-rich environment with many different aids for children to read, use and manipulate. Literacy, in its broadest sense, is valued and shared with children. Well-considered teaching strategies help children develop mathematical understandings and natural science concepts.
  • Attractive profile books document each child’s learning. Teachers use purposeful observations to identify and plan for individual’s interests, strengths and dispositions. Learning stories show clear links to prior knowledge and progress over time. There is an appropriate focus on increasing parent contributions and determining aspirations for their children. A more consistent approach to assessment and planning is now apparent with clear links to Te Manawa the association’s criteria for curriculum implementation.
  • Mat times are used to interweave aspects of te reo Māori. Children are familiar with key vocabulary and waiata. Teachers are committed to increasing their own knowledge and confidence. Gathering times are also an occasion to reflect on current interests in a meaningful way and provide opportunities for dance and movement.
  • Transitions into and out of the kindergarten are carefully planned and managed. There is a high level of support for families. Assessment information is shared with the new entrant teachers and reciprocal visits are undertaken. Teachers work together in children’s best interests to make transitions smooth.

Learning Environment. The kindergarten’s philosophy of providing an ‘attractive and creative environment’ is evident in practice. Children’s sense of well-being and belonging is successfully promoted. They confidently explore their surroundings and settle quickly.

  • The large, refurbished indoor area encourages investigation and creativity. Children have access to many organised and well-planned play areas in which to work independently or in groups.
  • Wall displays reflect children’s interests and involvement. Successes are celebrated. Planning and learning stories are highly visible to children and parents.
  • Children are well supported to test and extend their physical and fine motor skills. Risk taking is actively encouraged. New outdoor equipment enables children to work cooperatively towards achieving common goals.

Areas for development and review

From professional and reflective discussions the team has identified that the following require enhancement:

  • strengthening shared understandings about in-depth self review processes
  • building teachers’ confidence to more effectively integrate te reo me ngā tikanga Māori as a part of everyday interactions
  • ensuring that families’ different cultural identities are more visible in the environment
  • documenting more specifically in the profile books, how teachers are responding to children’s interests and extending their learning.

ERO external evaluation supports these directions.

Association Support

Background

The 2008 ERO review of the association identified several strengths, including the provision of professional development, sound operation plans, support for property development and the use of a range of communication strategies to keep teachers and communities informed. Areas for improvement included the quality and depth of the written feedback given to teachers by the senior teacher and strengthening the appraisal process.

Since 2008, the association has led consultation with the community to modify session times and improve the ratio of teachers to children from 1:15 to 1:10 and maintained its policy of employing qualified, registered teachers in regulated permanent positions.

The association provides expectations and guidance to the kindergarten through its strategic plan, policies and procedures and more recently, the professional development strategy Te Manawa: Criteria for Curriculum Implementation.

Areas of strength

The association continues to provide high levels of guidance and support to teachers for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. These include:

  • the strategic plan setting expectations for participation, parent and whānau involvement and quality teaching practices
  • clearly defined indicators of quality teaching and learning practice through Te Manawa
  • a wide range of professional development opportunities
  • ongoing support in property development, human resource management, finance and resourcing.

Areas for development and review

The association, senior teachers and ERO have identified areas where the association can strengthen its support for teachers. These include:

  • further developing and supporting leadership, including a review of the appraisal process
  • reviewing senior teacher documentation to show how teachers have improved their practice as a result of feedback
  • reviewing how kindergartens’ annual plans for teaching and learning could more explicitly show how teachers respond to the association strategic priorities.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Newlands 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:

  • administration;
  • health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management; and
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse);
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures);
  • staff qualifications and organisation; and
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

4 Recommendation

ERO and the kindergarten leaders agree that the priorities for development and review are those outlined in this report.

5 Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years. 

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

About the Centre

Type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over 2 years of age

Roll number

66

Gender composition

Males 35,

Females 31

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 30,

Asian 13,

Indian 8,

Pacific 7,

Māori 5,

Other ethnic groups 3

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

20 June 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review April 2008

Education Review 2005 A

ccountability Review 1998JuneJuly

To the Parents and Community of Newlands Kindergarten

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Newlands Kindergarten.

Newlands Kindergarten is affiliated to the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association (the association). The association has a governing board and a general manager. The general manager is the service provider contact person for the kindergarten. The association employs a team of senior teachers, one of whom is responsible for leading the professional support and advice and guidance to the teaching team. She also liaises with the kindergarten community.

An inclusive culture underpins the operation of the kindergarten. Staff warmly welcome parents and whānau and encourage them to share time and contribute to their child’s learning. Close partnerships are fostered through informal and formal communication and consultation. The concepts of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are highly evident.

Teachers model appropriate social interactions. They encourage children to develop skills of negotiation, respect and responsibility. An interest in and knowledge of the whole child is apparent. Children are nurtured in a positive and highly supportive environment.

Early literacy knowledge and skills are fostered in a print-rich environment with many different aids for children to read, use and manipulate. Literacy, in its broadest sense, is valued and shared with children. Well-considered teaching strategies help children develop mathematical understandings and simple science concepts.

Attractive profile books document each child’s learning. Teachers use purposeful observations to identify and plan for individual interests, strengths and dispositions. There is an appropriate focus on increasing parent contributions and determining aspirations for their children.

Transitions into and out of the kindergarten are carefully planned and managed. There is a high level of support for families. Teachers work together in children’s best interests to make transitions smooth.

The kindergarten’s philosophy of having an attractive and creative environment is evident in practice. Children confidently explore their surroundings and settle quickly. The large, refurbished indoor area invites investigation and creativity.

Children are well supported to test and extend their physical and fine motor skills. Risk taking is actively encouraged.

Areas for review and development include increasing teacher understanding of effective self review and further integrating te reo me nga tikanga Māori and families’ cultural identities within the kindergarten environment.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz. 

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)