Onehunga Kindergarten - 08/10/2019

1 Evaluation of Onehunga Kindergarten

How well placed is Onehunga Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Onehunga Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Onehunga Kindergarten is a well-established service for up to 40 children over two years of age. The service operates for six hours each day, to reflect a regular school day. The teaching team and learning programme are supported by an active parent committee that meets regularly.

ERO's 2014 education review identified very good practices. It identified next steps relating to strengthening child-directed learning and building local community networks.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides leadership, a framework of policies and operational guidelines, support personnel and programmes of professional learning and development. Strategic planning supports the kindergartens' development and future focus. A new AKA structure has been established and new personnel appointed. Many of these roles have recently been established.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy an expansive curriculum, that includes opportunities for physical activity throughout the day. All areas of play have been thoughtfully organised, with new equipment prioritised in designated spaces such as science, music and construction. The spacious indoor facilities and outdoor areas are well maintained and resourced.

In consultation with families, teachers have deliberately prioritised learning about environmental sustainability and zero waste. Trips to local landmarks have strengthened children's sense of place and heightened their awareness of being kaitiaki/guardians of the natural environment.

Teachers value children's prior learning and diverse cultural backgrounds. Planned cultural celebrations include Matariki. The environment reflects families' cultures. Teachers have strengthened bicultural practices in the programme and the environment, and children are familiar with some waiata and aspects of tikanga Māori. Teachers agree they need to strengthen their use of te reo Māori and children's home languages, in the context of play.

Teachers' relationships with children are affirming and encouraging, resulting in children's high levels of interest and engagement in the programme. Children's social development and skills for investigating, communicating and problem solving are enhanced by teachers' shared planning and assessment strategies.

Teachers' professional learning and development has been ably supported by AKA specialist personnel. The teaching team has reviewed the philosophy statement and the indicators that support its enactment. They support children with additional learning needs effectively.

Parents are comfortable in the kindergarten, many staying to settle their children at the start of the day. They communicate frequently with teachers about their children's learning and development. Teachers encourage parents to share their aspirations and contribute to children's online learning stories.

Children access their individual portfolios to revisit their learning and experiences. Teachers support them to pursue their interests and learning priorities. They could consider ways to increase their shared understanding about using dispositional learning in planning and assessment. Teachers could include children's own learning goals as part of this approach. It would be useful to clarify the connections between assessment and programme planning.

The head teacher's consistent leadership, together with a stable team of teachers, has facilitated ongoing internal evaluation with a focus on improvement. A recent evaluation of transition practices has been useful in extending and strengthening community relationships.

Internal evaluation has been a recent focus of teachers' shared learning and is becoming established across several operational systems. The next challenge is to more closely relate evaluation to teaching practices that make a positive difference to outcomes for children. There are opportunities in teacher inquiry, programme planning and assessment to continue strengthening the use and rigour of internal evaluation.

The AKA continues to provide support for kindergartens to strengthen bicultural practices. In many instances this has made a significant difference to confidence and capability. Specialist support impacts positively on teachers’ confidence and inclusion of children with additional learning needs. Specific programmes that help teachers to support children’s developing social competencies can now be extended across all kindergartens. The strategic direction being established by new AKA leaders is providing a positive framework for kindergartens’ annual planning.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers should continue to strengthen:

  • teaching practice and documentation related to promoting individual children's language, culture and identity

  • the use of goal setting and teacher inquiry to evaluate teaching strategies that improve outcomes for children.

It would be useful for AKA managers to:

  • clarify new roles and engage teaching teams in the implementation of the new structure across the AKA

  • increase the rigour of monitoring and quality assurance, and strengthen Internal evaluation at all levels of the AKA

  • identify and implement strategies for achieving greater consistency of the practices that are strengths in some kindergartens, across the AKA.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Onehunga 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

8 October 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

Onehunga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5044

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2 years

Service roll

64

Gender composition

Girls 35 Boys 29

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Chinese
Cook Island Māori
Japanese
other Pacific
other ethnic groups

8
32
5
4
4
5
6

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

8 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

January 2008

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.