Otahuhu Central Kindergarten - 02/10/2019

1 Evaluation of Otahuhu Central Kindergarten

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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

Background

Otahuhu Central Kindergarten is licensed for 30 children over two years of age and operates for hours that reflect a regular school day. It serves a culturally diverse community.

The kindergarten team includes an acting head teacher, one other registered teacher, a teacher aide, an administrator and a lunch-cover staff member. The kindergarten has been impacted by low rolls as well as staffing and leadership changes. The current focus is on continuing to provide a service for children and families in the community and strengthening community involvement.

The kindergarten's philosophy recognises parents as children's first teachers and is underpinned by "three beings - being kind, being healthy and being educated".

The kindergarten has a history of positive ERO reports. In 2015, ERO identified children and parents having a strong sense of pride, ownership and belonging in the kindergarten, and the redeveloped outside area adding physical activities for children. These features continue to be present. Areas for improvement included curriculum planning processes, evaluation, and consolidating effective practices as a new teaching team. There is a need to continue to attend to these aspects.

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 have built trusting relationships with teachers and demonstrate a sense of belonging. Teachers are warm and nurturing and readily available to children. Children are comfortable to approach adults for help, comfort, and to play.

Teachers value and respond to children's home backgrounds. They engage in inclusive, respectful and affirming ways with children. Teachers know children and families well. They promote positive relationships with families and have identified ways to continue strengthening engagement with the community.

Children access a thoughtfully resourced learning environment that supports their play and exploration. The indoor environment has been redesigned to purposefully engage children in different areas of play.

The philosophy and related indicators of practice are well enacted by teachers. They reflect the team's priorities and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers aim to build relationships with families, and they view children holistically as individuals and promote their sense of identity as a part of their community, family and kindergarten. Māori and Pacific cultures are highly visible in the environment. The curriculum is enhanced by an emphasis on developing shared team understanding about implementing the 'notice, recognise, and respond' cycle of assessment and planning.

The acting head teacher and team are undertaking system-wide reviews of centre operations. Recent reviews include the philosophy, some procedures related to AKA polices, and the environment and layout of the kindergarten. These evaluations are contributing to the development of a shared understanding of quality teaching practices.

Teachers have established a collaborative culture of mutual respect, modelled by the new head teacher. There is a renewed sense of building professional knowledge and trust within the team. Recent staffing and leadership transitions have been well managed to minimise their impact on children and families.

The AKA is providing targeted professional learning support to the new head teacher. The new role of Area Leader has been created to better connect with individual kindergartens and provide support for teachers.

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 develop:

  • formalised approaches to assessment, planning and evaluation, and make use of dispositional learning and outcomes in children's assessments

  • shared understandings about effective teaching practice

  • ways to evaluate the impact of new systems being implemented on outcomes for children, whānau and teachers.

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 Otahuhu Central 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

2 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

Otahuhu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10025

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children aged over 2 years

Service roll

10

Gender composition

Girls 5 Boys 5

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pacific groups
other ethnic groups

2
5
3

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

2 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2016

Education Review

May 2012

Education Review

May 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

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.