Oanaka Educare - 26/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Oanaka Educare

How well placed is Oanaka Educare 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

Oanaka Educare is a purpose-built early childhood centre in Wanaka. Initially privately owned, it was purchased by the Evolve group in June 2015. The centre provides full-day education and care for up to 66 children from birth to school age. The children are grouped in three rooms. The Kanuka room is for infants, the Kowhai room for toddlers, and older children are in the Kahikitea room.

The centre vison is 'to provide a safe, loving, stimulating and fun place for children and families, which enables them to feel valued and experience an environment that feels like home'. Children play and learn in well-resourced indoor and outdoor areas. With the centre's vision in mind, teachers have carefully arranged these areas to create homely and inviting spaces.

There have been some minor changes to the management of the centre since becoming part of the Evolve group. There is now one centre manager. Previously this role had been shared by two people. The manager is supported by the three head teachers of the rooms and a mentor teacher who has responsibility for the provisionally certificated teachers. Most of the staff are qualified teachers.

Some of the next steps in this review build on the recommendations of the March 2013 ERO report, in particular the need to continue to develop self-review practices.

The Review Findings

Children show a strong sense of belonging to the centre. They and their families benefit from the positive, respectful relationships they have with their teachers. Each child is assigned a key teacher. This allows children and families to form close relationships with their teacher. Teachers and families feel comfortable sharing information with each other through their daily conversations and increasingly through the use of ICT. This helps to ensure smooth transitions into and throughout the centre.

Children in the three rooms play and learn in calm and settled environments. They freely access the indoor and outdoor areas for much of the day. They play well together and show respect for one another. Teachers are very responsive to children. They know the children well. Teachers:

  • foster children's interests and allow them to take the lead in their learning

  • listen carefully to children

  • build on children's ideas to extend language and thinking skills

  • help children learn the skills of being a friend and part of a group

  • support children to be independent.

The programme for infants recognises that caregiving is an essential part of learning for these babies. Teachers use care moments as times for close one-to-one conversations and to form nurturing, trusting relationships with them. They encourage infants to freely explore their environment in their own time and in their own way. Infants benefit from the small group size and the unhurried rhythm of the day.

Each room has started to consider, in consultation with parents, what learning is important for children in that room. When the centre philosophy is next reviewed and redeveloped, it would be useful if some of this important learning is included in the philosophy.

The 2013 ERO review found that children had many opportunities to hear te reo Māori and to learn about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Teachers have continued to build the bicultural content and practices within the programme. Some teachers have undertaken additional learning to increase their skills in te reo Māori. A next step is to include the centre's commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi in the centre philosophy and related documents, such as the strategic plan.

Children's learning is supported by a programme based on all the strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The planned programme includes many opportunities for children to:

  • learn positive attitudes to healthy eating and challenge themselves through physical activity

  • be curious, creative and expressive

  • enjoy early literacy

  • engage in real-life activities such as gardening, cooking and caring for animals

  • make links with the Wanaka community through many varied outings and activities.

Centre leaders and teachers have recently had a focus on developing and improving the usefulness and effectiveness of group planning. This is still work in progress. Leaders and teachers acknowledge that the next step is to clearly document the intentional teaching planned to support children's learning. Teachers regularly seek parents' wishes, through conversations and in writing, for their children's learning, and respond to these. Records could more consistently show how these discussions have been acted on. Teachers should also continue to find ways to show how they acknowledge children's language, culture and identity.

The centre is capably managed and led. The manager is well aware of where the centre is at in the process of settling into the Evolve organisation and what its most important priorities are. The manager, leaders and teachers work well together. They meet regularly to ensure the centre operates smoothly. A recently strengthened appraisal process has an appropriate focus on improving teacher practice through ongoing reflection and regular goal setting.

It may be useful to consider a centre-wide appraisal goal linked to the strategic plan. Provisionally certificated teachers are well supported, particularly by their mentor teacher.

The 2013 ERO report found that self-review practices needed strengthening. Leaders identify this is still work in progress. They should ensure self review is evaluative.

The centre manager has recently developed a strategic plan with purposeful goals to guide centre developments. The strategic plan could be strengthened by:

  • developing clearer indicators to support the goals

  • aligning the goals to the philosophy and valued outcomes, and other related systems such as appraisal

  • ongoing monitoring and being informed by robust self-review findings.

The centre receives regular support from an Evolve business manager.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for the manager, leader and teachers are to further develop and strengthen:

  • the philosophy

  • aspects of planning

  • self-review practices

  • strategic planning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Oanaka Educare 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 Oanaka Educare will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

26 May 2016

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

Wanaka

Ministry of Education profile number

80062

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

66 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

100

Gender composition

Boys: 54

Girls: 46

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other

5

86

9

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

April 2016

Date of this report

26 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

November 2009

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.