Oakfields - Little Oaks Preschool Ltd - 31/05/2019

1 Evaluation of Oakfields - Little Oaks Preschool Ltd

How well placed is Oakfields - Little Oaks Preschool Ltd to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Oakfield's-Little Oaks Preschool Ltd is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Oakfields - Little Oaks Preschool Ltd is a newly-established preschool that was purpose-built two years ago. The centre is one of three privately-owned early learning services and is located in a new subdivision in Amberley, north of Christchurch. Oakfield's Little Oaks is licensed for 65 children, including 20 under two years of age.

The three centres are led by a management team consisting of two centre managers and the owner who has oversight of the services. A head teacher has overall responsibility for the day-to-day learning programme. This review was one of three centres reviewed at this time under the same ownership.

The preschool's vision and philosophy are currently being reviewed. The current philosophy supports the service's aspirations for children within the concept of an acorn to an oak tree, meaning children are supported as young people to grow into strong competent learners with an emphasis on respect for oneself, others and the environment.

This is Oakfields - Little Oaks Preschool Ltd first ERO evaluation report.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and engaged in the programme. They are involved in sustained periods of uninterrupted play individually, in small groups, and with teachers. Teachers work alongside children, inviting their participation and extending their interests.

Children benefit from an environment that is well resourced. There is a good range of learning opportunities available to children. They are able to self-select from and have easy access to a wide range of resources and activities that have a clear learning purpose.

Teachers have respectful and supportive relationships with children and their whānau. They provide children with a settled and well-managed environment. The philosophy of respect for oneself, each other and the environment is evident in practice. This contributes to children's sense of wellbeing.

Children demonstrate independence and self-management skills. Teachers are reflective practitioners who know children and their preferences well. They connect centre and home experiences, and work collaboratively to support children’s learning. This is helping children to build a sense of belonging at the preschool.

Children up to the age of two years benefit from caring teachers who promote a calm and peaceful environment. Children are well supported in their care routines. The environment is spacious, inviting, and inclusive, helping each child to develop a sense of curiosity and exploration. Teachers work respectfully and flexibly, following children's emerging interests and supporting their individual stages of development.

Transitions into and within the centre are well managed to meet the needs of children and their families. The head teacher is establishing connections with the local schools in order to support children and their families as they transition to school.

The service values New Zealand's bicultural heritage. Inclusion of aspects of te ao Māori is evident in the centre environment and in teaching practice. Teachers are working to improve their knowledge and skills in te reo and tikanga Māori. Centre leaders acknowledge the need to continue strengthening bicultural practices and ensure that this commitment is included in the service's philosophy which is currently under review.

Teachers are assessing the usefulness of their current assessment and planning processes, and are looking at ways to improve intentional teaching and learning records. Children with particular learning or wellbeing needs are identified and teachers' planning is focused on meeting these needs.

Teachers need to make visible how they gather and use parents' aspirations for children’s learning, and show how learning intentions are shared with the teaching team. They need to continue to develop ways to ensure children's ethnicity and culture are visible in learning stories.

Internal evaluation processes need to be more useful and effective. It would be helpful to have indicators of quality to measure performance against. The review schedule should identify the impact that centre practices and teaching are having on children's learning, and key next steps for improvement. Leaders and teachers should evaluate how well the service's priorities and goals are contributing to positive outcomes for all children.

The service is governed and managed by a team of leaders with high expectations for teaching practice and children's learning. The owner provides high quality resources and equipment that invite children's participation and are relevant to children’s interests and learning. The managers and owner work collaboratively with the aim of establishing consistency across the service and to ensure best practice is identified and shared.

Leaders are improvement focussed and have developed a range of systems and processes to support practices. A new appraisal process has recently been introduced and leaders are supporting teachers to become familiar with it.

Key Next Steps

The leaders and ERO agree that a key next step for the service is to clarify the service's vision, philosophy and key priorities for children's learning. This improvement should then be reflected across the service's strategic goals, programme planning and other relevant operations.

The service's focus on improvement would benefit from strengthened internal evaluation practices. This should help when addressing the next steps for improvement, which include:

  • assessment, programme planning and evaluation

  • the integration of Māori perspectives and bicultural practices into programmes and practices

  • continuing to embed and ensure that the new appraisal process is robust for all staff.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Oakfields - Little Oaks Preschool Ltd 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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Southern Region

31 May 2019

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

Amberley

Ministry of Education profile number

47318

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

65 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll

64

Gender composition

Boys 34, Girls 30

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities

4
57
3

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

March 2019

Date of this report

31 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

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.