PORSE Howick S1 - 01/06/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

PORSE (Play, Observe, Relate, Support, Extend, Evaluate) is an in-home early childhood organisation with its National Support Office located in Hawkes Bay. Area offices are located throughout New Zealand. Within the area offices, PORSE personnel, including coaches and programme tutors, work with parents, nannies and home educators to provide early childhood education and care for infants, toddlers and young children. Children are cared for in their own homes or in small groups in the home of their educator. The PORSE mission is “to have all people in New Zealand schooled in nurturing and educating children in their care.” Families are valued partners in children’s education and care.

PORSE Howick S1 is one of three networks based in the Howick Eastern office, which is operated as a PORSE franchise. This review focuses on the quality of care and education, and the partnerships with whānau, in the PORSE Howick Eastern area, where 104 educators, provide for 272 children.

Three programme tutors and the Howick Eastern franchisee, who are all registered teachers, have primary responsibility for children’s learning. They provide support, encouragement and informative resources for in-home educators. PORSE offers opportunities for educators to share their practice, support each other, and to participate in professional development courses.

Children benefit from warm, caring relationships in familiar environments. Home environments are generally well resourced and children enjoy varied experiences that build on their interests. Educators take advantage of community facilities and PORSE playschools, and other group activities where children are able to develop friendships with peers and work alongside a variety of adults. PORSE encourages educators to make the most of natural environments. Refocusing assessment, planning and reflective practice on children’s learning would help programme tutors to enrich outcomes for children in both home and playschool environments. This focus on children’s learning is also likely to result in more targeted and purposeful support for educators.

Parents/whānau select their children’s educators. They have direct day-to-day relationships with educators and are well informed about their children’s daily activities. Parents/whānau are generally happy with the services offered by PORSE. PORSE staff agree that, to enhance the educational success of Māori children, there is further work to do in improving provision for these children and their whānau.

The Howick Eastern PORSE franchisee and programme tutors agree that a next step for the service is to continue increasing the rigour of their self-review practices. More robust evaluation could assist programme tutors to continually improve their support for children’s learning. It could be useful for PORSE to review its support for programme tutors to enable them to refocus their work on enhancing outcomes for children.

Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of PORSE Howick S1 was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by PORSE Howick S1 to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the service (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atPORSE Howick S1.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children;
  • the learning environment; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

This review of the Howick Eastern PORSE office is informed by organisational and local documentation, visits to homes selected by PORSE, interviews with educators and PORSE staff, written feedback from parents and observations of programmes for children.

ERO’s 2006 report commented on strong leadership and effective support for educators and for children’s learning.

The three programme tutors in the Howick Eastern office work with a client services administrator and PORSE consultant, who have direct contact with families and educators, undertake enrolment and approval processes, and maintain the administration of the office.

Since 2006, the Howick Eastern area office has changed premises and there has been a growth in personnel as roll numbers have expanded from 135 to 272.

Areas of good performance

Diverse learning environments. Children benefit from familiar home environments that are mostly well resourced and offer good access to indoor and outdoor play spaces. They also enjoy a diverse variety of additional environments. Educators make use of community facilities, and attend regular PORSE playschools and ‘naturelive’ playschools that focus on natural resources and surroundings. They often meet informally to share resources and activities. Children have good opportunities to relate with others in the community, and to develop friendships and skills through social interaction with other adults and children.

Family relationships. Warm, caring interactions with educators result in children being confident and comfortable with others and showing a sense of security and belonging. Close, trusting relationships, and daily contact between families and educators, are positive features that assist educators to be responsive to the needs and aspirations of whānau, and to discuss shared strategies for working with children. Educators’ very good knowledge about children in their care is often reflected in journals, which provide good information for parents/whānau about children’s day-to-day activities. Parents/whānau report that they are generally happy with PORSE arrangements and the programmes provided for their children.

Building educator capability. PORSE resources, and their approval and training programmes for educators, are designed to motivate educators to further develop children’s education and their own personal growth. Educators have diverse backgrounds and training levels and are well supported to build their capability. Programme tutors provide affirming, encouraging support and often assist educators to identify strategies for managing specific situations. There are good opportunities for skilled educators to share their practice with those who are less experienced. Educator support and training is intended to contribute to continually improving programmes for children.

Some of the positive practices that were observed in home programmes include:

  • varied and stimulating experiences that build on children’s interests and prior knowledge, and include good opportunities for literacy and numeracy learning;
  • very good support for children’s language development, and opportunities for children to engage in conversations and interactions that foster learning; and
  • daily journals and programme journals that show how educators respond to what they notice about children’s learning and emerging interests, and that make links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Developing team approaches and reflective practice. The franchisee provides responsive, inclusive local leadership. She has initiated an external review of her systems with a view to refining management practices and has used review findings to develop a business plan for further development of the service. The PORSE organisation has a variety of methods for monitoring and collecting information to review its operations.

Staff and educators are encouraged to maintain reflective journals. Some individual staff are beginning to critique their practice and to address needs or gaps identified through their reflections. A team approach to reflective practice is at an early stage of development.

PORSE is currently reviewing and strengthening educator approval and training processes and induction and appraisal processes for programme tutors. Recent steps have been taken to revisit policies. These reviews should help to ensure that the requirements of PORSE and the regulations are well understood, and that appropriate tools and support are provided for all personnel.

Areas for development and review

In-depth self review. The franchisee and programme tutors agree that a next step for them is to establish processes for a more systematic and in-depth review of their practices. This review should be improvement focused. A more robust review of all aspects of their work, particularly relating to the impact of their work on outcomes for children, would assist staff to make their support for educators, and for children’s learning, more targeted and purposeful.

Programme tutor role. After a period of focus on building PORSE training programmes, the organisation has identified the need to refocus its attention on the quality of in-home programmes provided for children. It could be useful to review and clarify the role and responsibilities of programme tutors in this regard. Support for programme tutors to increase their knowledge about current theories and developments in early childhood education, and to help them to focus their work on outcomes for children, could also be worthwhile.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Partnerships with whānau of Māori children in early childhood services

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • this service understands and values the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau, particularly when the child and whānau transition to the service;
  • managers and educators have built relationships with whānau of Māori children;
  • this service works in partnership with whānau of Māori children.

Background

Programme tutors and educators in the Howick Eastern office have responsibility for the care and education of ten children of Māori descent. The PORSE Māori as Tangata Whenua policy promotes connections with Māori communities and professional development for staff on the application of the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It aims to increase Māori participation and to have the bicultural nature of New Zealand reflected in training programmes.

Areas of strength

Whānau Māori benefit from the close relationships and ongoing communication between educators and families noted above in this report.

Areas for development and review

Review of policy and practice. It would be worthwhile for PORSE Howick Eastern personnel to review their implementation of the PORSE Māori as Tangata Whenua policy and to establish relationships and consultation with local Māori communities. They could also consider ways to ensure that the bicultural nature of Aotearoa/New Zealand is included to a greater extent in home and playschool programmes for children.

Management Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the management and staff of PORSE Howick S1 completed an ERO Home-Based CareManagement Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration;
  • health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management; and
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse);
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures);
  • staff qualifications and organisation; and
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

In order to improve current practice, PORSE should establish systems for hazard identification and management and ensure that all practicable steps are taken to eliminate, isolate, or minimise hazards in homes and other environments where educators provide care and education for children.

4. Recommendations

ERO, PORSE coaches and programme tutors agree that it would be worthwhile for the service to:

implement processes for more systematic, in-depth self review that focuses on the quality of outcomes for children; and

review policies and practices against Ministry of Education strategic plans and against ERO’s evaluation reports and indicators of good practice to support success for Māori children.

5. Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the Service

Type

Home-Based Care

Chartered under

Education (Home-based Care) Order 1992

Roll Number

106

Gender composition

Girls 56,

Boys 50

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 36,

Māori 1,

Chinese 3,

South East Asian 3,

other 63

Review team onsite

March 2011

Date of this report

1 June 2011

Previous ERO report

Education Review, September 2006

 1 June 2011

To the Parents and Community of PORSE Howick S1

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report onPORSE Howick S1.

PORSE (Play, Observe, Relate, Support, Extend, Evaluate) is an in-home early childhood organisation with its National Support Office located in Hawkes Bay. Area offices are located throughout New Zealand. Within the area offices, PORSE personnel, including coaches and programme tutors, work with parents, nannies and home educators to provide early childhood education and care for infants, toddlers and young children. Children are cared for in their own homes or in small groups in the home of their educator. The PORSE mission is “to have all people in New Zealand schooled in nurturing and educating children in their care.” Families are valued partners in children’s education and care.

PORSE Howick S1 is one of three networks based in the Howick Eastern office, which is operated as a PORSE franchise. This review focuses on the quality of care and education, and the partnerships with whānau, in the PORSE Howick Eastern area, where 104 educators, provide for 272 children.

Three programme tutors and the Howick Eastern franchisee, who are all registered teachers, have primary responsibility for children’s learning. They provide support, encouragement and informative resources for in-home educators. PORSE offers opportunities for educators to share their practice, support each other, and to participate in professional development courses.

Children benefit from warm, caring relationships in familiar environments. Home environments are generally well resourced and children enjoy varied experiences that build on their interests. Educators take advantage of community facilities and PORSE playschools, and other group activities where children are able to develop friendships with peers and work alongside a variety of adults. PORSE encourages educators to make the most of natural environments. Refocusing assessment, planning and reflective practice on children’s learning would help programme tutors to enrich outcomes for children in both home and playschool environments. This focus on children’s learning is also likely to result in more targeted and purposeful support for educators.

Parents/whānau select their children’s educators. They have direct day-to-day relationships with educators and are well informed about their children’s daily activities. Parents/whānau are generally happy with the services offered by PORSE. PORSE staff agree that, to enhance the educational success of Māori children, there is further work to do in improving provision for these children and their whānau.

The Howick Eastern PORSE franchisee and programme tutors agree that a next step for the service is to continue increasing the rigour of their self-review practices. More robust evaluation could assist programme tutors to continually improve their support for children’s learning. It could be useful for PORSE to review its support for programme tutors to enable them to refocus their work on enhancing outcomes for children.

Future Action

ERO will review the service again within three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood service we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the service or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region