Redwood Playcentre - 23/09/2010

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Redwood Playcentre is one of 50 playcentres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre operates within the constitution of the association. The treasurer of the association is also the licensee of all Canterbury playcentres.

The association offers parents opportunities to train in playcentre early childhood education. Parents are expected to take responsibility and share the leadership of the day-to-day operation of the playcentre.

The parents have responded positively to the 2007 ERO report that identified extending children’s thinking, reasoning and problem solving as an area for improvement. They are participating in training sessions, led by the association, to improve their questioning skills as part of their self review. The indoor area has been reviewed to provide a better space for children under two.

Other areas identified for improvement in the previous report, strengthening the parent committee and developing a planned approach to self review, remain in need of further development.

Since the previous coordinator resigned at the end of 2009, the parents have shown a determination to work towards providing stable, cooperative leadership. At the time of this review, two parents were sharing the coordinator’s role. A relief coordinator was supporting parents during the two funded sessions each week.

Features identified as strengths at the centre include:

  • the positive relationships parents have with children and other adults;
  • the focus on children and their interests, skills and strengths;
  • the way children of different ages play and learn together;
  • the opportunities children have to direct their own learning; and
  • the environment and the varied experiences children have within and outside the playcentre.

Parents have made good progress in recording children’s involvement in activities. However, they recognise that planning and assessment need further development. They have taken some steps to improve these processes.

Parents provide children with some opportunities to learn about Aotearoa/ New Zealand’s unique bicultural heritage. Strengthening bicultural experiences in the programme would help all children to understand and value the customs and beliefs of each culture.

The playcentre has mainly efficient systems for monitoring children’s health and safety. However, children do not always wash their hands before eating. This was identified as a concern in the 2007 ERO report.

A number of new initiatives are in the early stages of development. As a result, ERO has asked the playcentre to provide an action plan to show how the parents intend to make further improvements and address the recommendations in this report.

Future Action

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

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Redwood Playcentre was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre 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 centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atRedwood Playcentre.

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

The playcentre philosophy states that the centre will provide a safe and stimulating learning environment for children from birth to six years old. Parents are encouraged as their children’s first educators. The playcentre actively promotes and provides ongoing education for parents. The programme will be child-centred with many areas of play and experiences available to children.

Areas of strength

Parent commitment

Parents are increasing their capability as children’s first teachers and are focused on providing a high-quality learning environment for all children. They are now giving greater priority to extending the leadership skills of all parents. Parents also have a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities in working as a parent cooperative. The parents’ involvement in training is helping them to develop a shared understanding of the ways to provide a programme that reflects the playcentre’s philosophy. Experienced parents are supportive of and welcoming to newer parents at the centre.

Focus on children

Parents notice children’s interests and strengths and respond promptly and positively to develop these further. They show interest in and give support to their own and other children. ERO observed parents working alongside children for extended periods of time. This sustained interaction helps children to share and expand on their ideas. It also allows them to have a supportive and affirming time with an adult, as well as with other children.

Some recently introduced initiatives are helping parents to make focused observations of children at play so that they can share this information with others when planning the programme.

Parents foster positive relationships among children. Cooperative learning occurs regularly. Children are encouraged to take turns and respect the rights of others.

ERO observed enthusiastic and happy children who appeared confident in their play.

Children leading learning

Parents see children as competent and capable learners. Children have good opportunities to follow their interests and make decisions about the direction of their play. Parents show enthusiasm and follow children’s lead. Children confidently ask for resources or help. They show ability in adapting their ideas, sharing information with their audience and including younger children in their dramatic play.

Breadth of learning experiences

Children benefit from a rich variety of learning experiences within and outside the playcentre. A feature of the centre is the purposefully designed outdoor area that is used to stimulate and extend the interests of children of different ages. Children are encouraged to test their developing physical skills by moving equipment to create their own challenges indoors and outside. Parents make good use of a covered area off the main indoor play room to provide children with a multi-purpose learning space in all weathers. Children’s many experiences are recorded and displayed so that these can be revisited and recalled.

Areas for development and review

Strengthening assessment and planning

Some learning stories identify children’s learning better than others. Parents are now more involved in writing learning stories to capture children’s interests and developing skills and knowledge. In the best examples, parents:

  • clearly described the children’s behaviours and reactions;
  • included children’s words to describe their responses to their own learning;
  • identified the attitudes (dispositions) the children were demonstrating; and
  • suggested a next possible step for extending the interest, skill or disposition.

Parents could now consider ways to seek the views of older children about their own learning. They could also make more use of learning stories when planning the programme.

Bicultural learning

Parents have identified, and ERO agrees, that they need to give greater emphasis to a bicultural perspective in the programme. ERO observed children singing waiata and using poi when moving to music. However, the strength in using te reo Māori identified in the previous ERO report has not been sustained. The learning environment could more clearly reflect the bicultural nature of a New Zealand early childhood service. The parents would benefit from support from the association to increase their skills in providing a bicultural programme.

Self review

The playcentre is at an early stage in developing a systematic approach to self review. Parents are participating in self-review training with a cluster of other playcentres. They are focusing on improving their questioning to extend children’s thinking and ideas. Parents told ERO that much of their self review is informal. The annual plan makes little reference to reviews of play areas or teaching practices. There is no strategic plan to identify goals and action plans for making ongoing improvements to the programme. Parents recognise that such planning is necessary to ensure that the playcentre continues to provide high quality learning experiences for children and meet the needs of families.

3. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Redwood Playcentre completed an ERO CentreManagement Assurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative 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.

During the course of the review, ERO identified no areas of non-compliance. However, some practices could be improved. Children did not always wash their hands before eating. This was identified as an area for improvement in the previous report. Parents need to ensure that all children learn healthy practices and use them consistently.

4. Future Action

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

 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

23 September 2010

 

About the Centre

Type

Playcentre

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 6 aged under two

Roll number

36

Gender composition

Girls 14;

Boys 22

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pakeha 33;

Māori 3

Review team on site

May 2010

Date of this report

23 September 2010

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review April 2007

Education Review June 2004

 

23 September 2010

To the Parents and Community of Redwood Playcentre

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Redwood Playcentre.

Redwood Playcentre is one of 50 playcentres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre operates within the constitution of the association. The treasurer of the association is also the licensee of all Canterbury playcentres.

The association offers parents opportunities to train in playcentre early childhood education. Parents are expected to take responsibility and share the leadership of the day-to-day operation of the playcentre.

The parents have responded positively to the 2007 ERO report that identified extending children’s thinking, reasoning and problem solving as an area for improvement. They are participating in training sessions, led by the association, to improve their questioning skills as part of their self review. The indoor area has been reviewed to provide a better space for children under two.

Other areas identified for improvement in the previous report, strengthening the parent committee and developing a planned approach to self review, remain in need of further development.

Since the previous coordinator resigned at the end of 2009, the parents have shown a determination to work towards providing stable, cooperative leadership. At the time of this review, two parents were sharing the coordinator’s role. A relief coordinator was supporting parents during the two funded sessions each week.

Features identified as strengths at the centre include:

  • the positive relationships parents have with children and other adults;
  • the focus on children and their interests, skills and strengths;
  • the way children of different ages play and learn together;
  • the opportunities children have to direct their own learning; and
  • the environment and the varied experiences children have within and outside the playcentre.

Parents have made good progress in recording children’s involvement in activities. However, they recognise that planning and assessment need further development. They have taken some steps to improve these processes.

Parents provide children with some opportunities to learn about Aotearoa/ New Zealand’s unique bicultural heritage. Strengthening bicultural experiences in the programme would help all children to understand and value the customs and beliefs of each culture.

The playcentre has mainly efficient systems for monitoring children’s health and safety. However, children do not always wash their hands before eating. This was identified as a concern in the 2007 ERO report.

A number of new initiatives are in the early stages of development. As a result, ERO has asked the playcentre to provide an action plan to show how the parents intend to make further improvements and address the recommendations in this report.

Future Action

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

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person 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 centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

 

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

  • Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.
  • Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.
  • National Evaluation Topics – This strand contribute to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.