Oratia Kindergarten - 27/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Oratia Kindergarten

How well placed is Oratia 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

Oratia Kindergarten, located in the Oratia Primary School grounds, continues to have strong links with the school community. It provides education and care for up to 40 children over two years of age and serves families in the local and wider community. The roll includes eight Māori children and a small number of children from Pacific, Indian and Asian countries.

Teachers are experienced and well qualified, and most have worked at the centre for a number of years. In September 2016, a new head teacher was appointed.

The kindergarten philosophy promotes a curriculum that empowers children to lead their own learning, and has a strong focus on enhancing children's social and emotional competence. It also highlights the importance of building whanaungatanga with parents, whānau and the community to support children's learning and care needs. The philosophy, biculturalism and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpin curriculum planning and internal evaluation.

The 2014 ERO report identified many strengths including positive interactions between teachers and children, and a child-led curriculum. The report also noted that teachers were increasing their knowledge of te ao Māori and were focused on promoting partnerships with parents and whānau. It identified the need for assessment and evaluation to be improved. Good progress has been made in these areas.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework. Professional support personnel assist teachers with curriculum, management and property matters.

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

The Review Findings

Children are confident, competent learners who happily engage in play and learning. They are independent and lead their own learning. Children are supportive and kind to each other. The environment is spacious, attractive and well resourced. Children are provided with a flexible and unhurried pace to the day, and teachers respond well to their needs and preferences. They have free access to all areas of play, equipment and resources. Children who have additional needs are well supported.

Teachers respect and interact positively with children. They have conversations with children about their play, and further enhance oral language through waiata and storytelling. Literacy is encouraged throughout the centre and in the context of children's play. Materials for reading and writing are spread throughout the environment. Teachers follow children's lead and step in appropriately to make suggestions and extend learning. This good practice allows children to collaborate with each other in uninterrupted, imaginative ways. Mathematics and science concepts are integrated well in the context of children's play.

Children experience a curriculum that is based on their emerging interests. Teachers also plan for specific events and provide activities to meet and extend children's learning interests. The programme is based on the notice, recognise and respond approach. Teachers identify and analyse learning dispositions, including Māori values. Dispositions and links to Te Whāriki, are explicit in children's learning stories. Planning, assessment and evaluation processes are now clearly linked and benefit children's ongoing learning.

A noteworthy strength is the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori and deliberate planning and assessment that focuses on te ao Māori. The head teacher is engaged in professional learning to improve her confidence and knowledge about te reo and tikanga Māori. She models using te reo Māori for teachers and children.

Parents report that the kindergarten is welcoming, friendly and inclusive of all families and cultures. Staff are approachable and respond quickly to parents' aspirations by explicitly including these in curriculum planning. Teachers build close partnerships with parents and together they create individual development plans for children who have additional learning needs. An online assessment tool is effective in promoting communications between teachers and parents about children's learning.

Leadership is very effective. The new head teacher has led improvements in professional practice and encourages a positive professional tone and cohesive culture. She leads by example and has a supportive, collaborative and strengths-based approach. Opportunities for professional learning and an inquiry-based appraisal process support teachers' professional growth. Professional learning is having a positive impact on teachers' confidence and understanding of internal evaluation and te ao Māori. Internal evaluation is well established, comprehensive and focused on positive outcomes for children.

Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA’s strategic goals. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) also aligns with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. It enables the AKA and teachers to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement. The AKA continues to review its management and leadership structure. It has begun a process of internal evaluation to establish how effectively the four pillars of its strategic plan are resulting in more positive outcomes for children, their families, and the organisation.

Key Next Steps

Agreed next steps are for leaders and teachers to:

  • regularly examine the effectiveness of planned teaching strategies in their programme evaluations

  • continue to build teachers' assessment and planning skills

  • continue to embed internal evaluation systems and processes.

The AKA has useful processes for supporting teachers’ ongoing professional development. This process could be strengthened by ensuring that teachers’ individual goals are measurable and based on the evaluation of teaching practices and their impact children’s learning

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Oratia 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 Oratia Kindergarten will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

27 October 2017

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

Oratia, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5085

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children

Service roll

58

Gender composition

Boys 29, Girls 29

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Indian
other

8
43
2
5

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

27 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

December 2007

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.