Rata - 17/06/2010

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

The Dunedin Community Childcare Association (DCCA) offers centre and home-based care and education. The Rata scheme is one of three home-based care and education services administered by the DCCA.

The DCCA is a high performing organisation. Since the time of the last ERO review in 2008, the DCCA has had significant changes. There have been staffing changes and the number of services has been reduced from four to three. These developments have improved the quality of the education and care programmes for children.

The directors and leaders have developed a strong vision and commitment to home-based care and education. As a result, parents and caregivers make a deliberate choice to use the home-based care and education services when enrolling their children. The association employs four visiting teachers who oversee the three services. A special feature of the visiting-teacher role is the way they work as a team across the services to help and support each other to build high quality care and education programmes in the homes.

Children show a strong sense of belonging in the homes of their educators. They have positive relationships with their educators and visiting teachers. Educators provide children with a good range of everyday experiences in the homes. Children’s learning is enhanced by purposeful and regular outings into the community, such as, playgroups, library and museum visits.

Other aspects of good practice include:

  • educators who know the children well and are able to build on children’s learning needs and interests

  • the very close partnerships that the educators and visiting teachers have with their families

  • the support for visiting teachers and educators to participate in ongoing professional learning

  • the high quality playgroups provided by the DCCA.

The directors and visiting-teacher team have established good quality systems for managing the service. The director acknowledges that the next step for the association is to extend the review practices to ensure that best teaching and learning practices are sustained across the service.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again within three years.

2.Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Dunedin Community Childcare Association - Rata was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by Dunedin Community Childcare Association - Rata 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 atDunedin Community Childcare Association - Rata .

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
  • the interactions between children and adults.

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

The Quality of Education

Background

The Dunedin Community Childcare Association (DCCA) is committed to providing high quality community-based education for children in partnership with their families in home-based settings.

Areas of strength

Focus on learning. Educators and visiting teachers know the learning and development needs of their children well. ERO observed visiting teachers supporting educators by modelling best practice strategies for teaching, interacting with children and recording children’s learning. Visiting teachers follow up visits to the educators with comprehensive and useful written feedback. These reports include recommendations to build on educators’ practice. Educators told ERO they appreciated and valued the guidance and support of the visiting teachers. As a result they feel there is a much greater focus on learning.

Range of experiences/programmes. Children benefit from a wide range of meaningful experiences in and beyond educators’ homes. Educators are encouraged to plan regular outings and activities in the wider community, for example, weekly gym and music sessions. Visiting teachers provide high quality resources that are specific to the meeting the child’s emerging interests, abilities and needs.

Inclusive culture. An inclusive culture is highly evident throughout the DCCA organisation. There are very positive and respectful relationships between adults and children. Parents, children and visiting teachers are warmly welcomed into educators’ homes.

The visiting teachers and educators are responsive to the diverse needs of individual children and their families. The shared philosophy for home-based care is highly evident in the inclusive nature of the service.

Professional leadership. The director, management team and visiting teachers have developed a strong collaborative leadership model to guide the direction of the service. There has been a significant shift in how the service is organised and managed to ensure that the focus is on high quality education and care.

Professional development. Professional development is relevant. The leadership team has established a strategic approach to professional learning based on identified priorities. They make good use of external expertise and the skills and knowledge of people within the service. Educators are encouraged to share good practice with other educators. The high quality playgroup programme that is organised and implemented by visiting teachers provides good modelling for educators.

Focus on improvement. The director, management team and visiting teachers have developed effective review practices. These practices focus on bringing about well-informed and improvement-focused change. There is a strong culture of self reflection among visiting teachers and educators. Visiting teachers clearly document their reflections and share their opinions about what is going well and what they need to do to improve practices. Visiting teachers encourage educators to evaluate the effectiveness of their programmes and discuss these when they visit.

Operational Systems. The operational systems within the organisation are well developed and clearly documented.

Area for development and review

Extending review practices. The DCCA has established effective systems for the review of home-based operations and made some useful changes to improve their practices. They are now well positioned to extend their review practices to ensure greater consistency in:

  • the quality of the written feedback visiting teachers provide for educators

  • the quality of assessment information in children’s profiles including the recording of parents’ expectations/priorities

  • the ways in which some educators interpret a small number of health and safety expectations.

Review processes should be extended to ensure the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the review. Reviews should include input from all relevant stakeholders. The process for review should ensure that all aspects that relate to children’s education and care are covered over time.

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

At the time of this review, six percent of children at the service identified as Māori.

Findings

Children are matched to educators as part of the transition programme to the service. Parents are asked at this time about the aspirations and expectations they have for their child’s learning. The association has identified that they need to consider a variety of ways to communicate with parents to ensure their aspirations for their children are known.

Educators have good relationships with their Māori families and value the experiences parents bring to their child’s learning. Some educators are receiving support in te reo and tikanga Māori from their Māori families. Educators are well supported by the association management, visiting teachers and through professional learning at playgroups, to improve the bicultural aspects of their programme. This is an area for ongoing development.

4. Management Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

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

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

5. Recommendation

ERO and the directors and managers agreed that:

  1. they extend their review practices.

6. Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again within three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

17 June 2011

About the Service

Licence type

Home-Based Care

Chartered under

Chartered under Education (Home-based Care) Order 1992

Roll number

99

Gender composition

Boys 45

Girls 44

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 79

Māori 6

Other Pacific 2

Chinese 1

Other European 1

Review team onsite

May 2011

Date of this report

17 June 2011

Previous ERO reports

Education Review April 2008

Education Review April 2005

Accountability Review January 2000

To the Parents and Community of Dunedin Community Childcare Association - Rata

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report onThe Dunedin Community Childcare Association (DCCA) offers centre and home-based care and education. The Rata scheme is one of three home-based care and education services administered by the DCCA.

The DCCA is a high performing organisation. Since the time of the last ERO review in 2008, the DCCA has had significant changes. There have been staffing changes and the number of services has been reduced from four to three. These developments have improved the quality of the education and care programmes for children.

The directors and leaders have developed a strong vision and commitment to home-based care and education. As a result, parents and caregivers make a deliberate choice to use the home-based care and education services when enrolling their children. The association employs four visiting teachers who oversee the three services. A special feature of the visiting-teacher role is the way they work as a team across the services to help and support each other to build high quality care and education programmes in the homes.

Children show a strong sense of belonging in the homes of their educators. They have positive relationships with their educators and visiting teachers. Educators provide children with a good range of everyday experiences in the homes. Children’s learning is enhanced by purposeful and regular outings into the community, such as, playgroups, library and museum visits.

Other aspects of good practice include:

  • educators who know the children well and are able to build on children’s learning needs and interests
  • the very close partnerships that the educators and visiting teachers have with their families
  • the support for visiting teachers and educators to participate in ongoing professional learning
  • the high quality playgroups provided by the DCCA.

The directors and visiting-teacher team have established good quality systems for managing the service. The director acknowledges that the next step for the association is to extend the review practices to ensure that best teaching and learning practices are sustained across the service.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore 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.

 Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region