Remuera Stepping Stones Childcare Centre - 23/01/2015

1 Evaluation of Remuera Stepping Stones Childcare Centre

How well placed is Remuera Stepping Stones Childcare Centre 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

Remuera Stepping Stones is a small privately owned centre that operates from the basement of the owner’s home. It is an attractive learning environment with a large outdoor play area. The centre is licensed for 12 children, with a maximum of six under two year olds.

The centre’s philosophy values a caring, homelike environment that encourages children to build the skills to become confident learners. Many parents choose Remuera Stepping Stones as a transition between fulltime care at home and a larger early childhood service. The centre’s small context allows teachers to develop close relationships with children and to provide good individualised education and care for children.

The owner/director is responsible for management, administration and daily teaching duties. She employs two other teachers, allowing for a high ratio of adults to children. There are two experienced and qualified teachers and one recently appointed staff member. The owner and staff prioritise children through the daily teaching and learning programme and a commitment to the centre philosophy.

Over the past three years, staff have sustained the significant strengths that were acknowledged in the 2011 ERO report. They have made some progress in the areas for development that were noted in that report. However, progress in self review and in documenting processes and systems is more limited. This is largely due to the owner’s multiple roles, the small centre context and a need for systematic self review.

The Review Findings

Children are confident, respected and empowered to make their own decisions. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and are happy and settled in their play. They know centre routines well. Children have interesting and engaging learning experiences in a range of curriculum areas including literacy, mathematics and science.

Teachers’ practice is contributing to positive learning outcomes for children. Teachers know children well. Their interactions with children are considerate and caring. Teachers use good strategies to encourage the development of children’s social competence. The programme is based on children’s interests and on developing their ways of learning. Teachers recognise the importance of children learning through play and make relevant links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers work collaboratively to promote shared understandings and effective team organisation. This results in a cohesive programme for children.

Assessment portfolios are good records of children’s learning and development. There are clear links between learning stories to show how children have progressed over time. Parents contribute information about their children at enrolment. Teachers are continuing to look at ways to increase parents’ input into children’s portfolios and are seeking ways to acknowledge children’s cultural heritage. Teachers are continuing to develop teaching strategies and resources that support children to develop awareness and understandings of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

The teaching team has worked on developing self review. Staff participate in open team discussions to share ideas and improve on what is happening for children. Verbal self review happens constantly amongst the team. They are beginning to document their team reflections and ways to improve teaching practice.

The centre owner is involved with professional networks that could contribute to growing the teams’ reflective practice. She has led a consultative review of the centre philosophy and policies. Strategic and annual plans guide the centre’s day-to-day management. Teacher appraisals are now linked to the registered teacher criteria. The owner agrees that centre self review should be strengthened to prioritise decision making, professional learning development and management planning.

Key Next Steps

The centre owner agrees that the priorities for the centre include:

  • developing a policy and process to guide the self review of centre practices

  • supporting teachers to engage in deeper reflective and evaluative practice that leads to changes that improve outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Remuera Stepping Stones Childcare Centre 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 Remuera Stepping Stones Childcare Centre will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern Select Region

23 January 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

Remuera, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20555

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

12 children, including up to 6 aged under 2

Service roll

24

Gender composition

Boys 13

Girls 11

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Jewish

1

22

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

23 January 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2011

 

Supplementary Review

June 2008

 

Education Review

June 2007

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.