Our Place Preschool - 21/08/2015

1 Evaluation of Our Place Preschool

How well placed is Our Place Preschool 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

Our Place Preschool is a privately owned centre that opened in February 2014. It is located close to the St Columba’s Catholic Church and St Columba's Catholic School in Frankton, Hamilton, which form an important part of the centre’s wider community. The preschool provides full-day education and care in a mixed-age environment for children from birth to school age. It is licensed for 40 children, with a maximum of up to 10 under the age of two years. At the time of the ERO review, the roll was made up of 51 children who come from a variety of cultures, predominately New Zealand/European and Māori.

The joint owners are qualified and experienced early childhood educators and they retain overall responsibility for governance and centre management. The philosophy reflects the strong special Catholic character, which provides a faith-based set of values that is embedded in all aspects of centre operations and the children’s education and care. Children are welcomed into a family-like environment where their emotional and spiritual development is nurtured. The owners have successfully established a collaborative team of staff who have a shared understanding of, and commitment to, the centre’s philosophy.

The programme is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and the Catholic early childhood curriculum document. Teachers have had extensive access to relevant professional development focused on positive outcomes for children and their families. The owners and staff have developed highly effective research-based self-review processes to evaluate and improve the quality of education and care.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy affirming, trusting and respectful relationships with adults and their peers. Their strong sense of belonging is enhanced through regular involvement in events at the nearby church and school. Daily routines celebrate the mixed-age environment as children of all ages share mat times and meals. Older children naturally care for and support the younger children. Teachers implement a variety of effective strategies that include karakia, waiata and tikanga Māori practices. These contribute to children’s understanding and appreciation of Te Ao Māori, which naturally complements the centre’s Christian philosophy. 

Babies and toddlers have safe areas to play and explore their environment. Two teachers have designated responsibility for the youngest children to ensure their personalised care and consistently effective communication to parents. All adults are skilled at observing, understanding and responding to the verbal and non-verbal behaviours of babies and toddlers.

Teachers thoughtfully prepare the indoor and outdoor learning environments to provide children with ongoing access to high quality resources. Children are supported to make choices and explore areas of interest and strength appropriate to their age for sustained periods of uninterrupted time. Their social and oral skills are fostered by teachers who view children as capable and competent learners. Children learn through independent and social play, and are encouraged to solve problems and investigate the world around them.

Teachers are skilled at observing children, recognising their current interests, and planning responses to extend their learning. Concepts about literacy and mathematics are skilfully implemented in meaningful contexts within children’s play, and promoted through high quality learning conversations between children and teachers. There are many opportunities for children to use their imagination and creativity. A notable strength of the programme is the additional learning experiences provided through participation in school events and church liturgies. These practices strongly promote sensitively and well-managed transitions into the centre and to school.

The owners and teachers place high value on working in supportive partnership with families. Children’s home experiences are often shared and included in the learning programme. Teachers make themselves available to share and celebrate children’s successes in learning. Children and their families have regular access to individual learning portfolios that provide a valuable record of children’s experiences and learning at the centre. This is further supported through parents' access to on-line learning stories.

Strong professional and experienced leadership is being provided by the centre directors. Whole centre professional development in literacy practices enhances teaching practice, outcomes for children, and improved planning and assessment. Teachers are well supported in their access to professional development and are up to date with current best practice in early childhood.

Key Next Steps

ERO supports the centre’s future plans to promote Māori culture, language and identity.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Our Place Preschool 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 Our Place Preschool will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

21 August 2015 

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

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

46366

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

51

Gender composition

Girls       32
Boys      19

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Southeast Asian
Samoan
Other European
Other

12
26
  3
  2
  3
  5

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

21 August 2015

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 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.