Rotary Park Kindergarten - 26/11/2015

1 Evaluation of Rotary Park Kindergarten

How well placed is Rotary Park Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children? 

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Background

Rotary Park Kindergarten is one of 24 kindergartens operating under the Dunedin Kindergarten Association (DK). It is located in the Highcliff suburb of Dunedin and provides learning experiences for up to 41 children from 8:30 in the morning to 2:30 in the afternoon. Children may attend all or part of the day as their family chooses.

Children at Rotary Park Kindergarten enjoy playing and learning in spacious, well-designed, interesting outdoor and indoor areas. Teachers focus on making children’s learning fun as they:

  • develop social skills
  • grow a sense of empathy, care and respect for others, animals and the natural environment
  • develop an understandings of early literacy and numeracy
  • develop an understanding of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Children from two-years old to school age attend the kindergarten. They benefit from experienced, qualified teachers who have worked well together for many years. 

The recommendation from the 2012 ERO report to improve assessment practices has been successfully addressed.

This review was part of a cluster of 24 reviews in the Dunedin Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children and teachers share trusting, caring relationships. Children appear very settled as they play in groups or independently. There is a welcoming, inclusive culture where families feel comfortable to stay for a while and work alongside their children. Children relate well to one another and have a strong sense that this is their place and they belong here. 

The kindergarten is very well resourced and the environment, which includes pets such as rabbits, hens and fish, offers variety, interest and challenge.

Teachers are very purposeful in fostering children’s oral language development. Specific vocabulary is taught such as; narrator, props, audience and applaud during drama sessions. Children also participate in and benefit from very regular music sessions and a strong focus on te reo and tikanga Māori. Each year teachers develop a progressively more in-depth plan to strengthen the way they include aspects of Māori culture within the programme. This year two more teachers are participating in te reo Māori learning to upskill themselves.

Children experience a rich curriculum in other areas such as:

  • transition to school
  • a regular forest programme for older children
  • mathematics and literacy, dramatic play, the arts and science
  • healthy-heart initiative and a physical-coordination programme
  • caring for animals to build children’s empathy.

Teachers plan well for groups of children as well as for individuals. Plans are relevant and show appropriate strategies teachers will use to support children’s learning and development. Children with particular learning needs have plans with specific strategies for how teachers, with the help of outside experts, will support them. Teachers reflect on the programmes and their practices regularly and discuss ways they could better support children’s learning. Records of learning show children’s progress over time, what their next learning may be and how teachers are responding to parents’ aspirations for their children. There are clear links between what happens for children at the kindergarten and in their home lives.

Teachers follow a useful framework for evaluating how well programmes and their practices support children’s learning. As a result of these reviews, improvements have been made to teaching and learning. 

Parents and a parent committee support the kindergarten well, particularly with the maintenance and appearance of the property, fundraising and providing resources. The head teacher keeps the committee well informed about the learning priorities and how progress is being made in meeting these.

The vision of the DK is to provide excellence in early childhood education for all children. The DK is governed by a board and managed by a long-serving general manager. The kindergarten teachers told ERO they appreciated the support they receive from the association and the advice and guidance of the senior teachers.

The board, general manager and senior teachers:

  • provide appropriate opportunities for parents and staff to contribute their ideas about matters in the association 
  • are responsive to the identified needs of children and families within the association, and provide funding and support to enable these to be met
  • have developed a useful framework to guide their work
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure safe environments for children, teachers and other staff 
  • maintain their professional learning and provide ongoing professional learning for teachers in the association.

Key Next Steps

Teachers have good ideas about what they want for the future of the kindergarten. Their ideas could be developed into a strategic plan which would show the priorities and actions to achieve the desired outcomes. Related systems such as professional learning, appraisal, self-review topics and senior-teacher support could then be aligned to strengthen the strategic focus.

When teachers next review the kindergarten philosophy it would be useful if their beliefs were stated more clearly. This would enable them to evaluate more efficiently how well they are meeting their expectations for children’s learning.

Next steps for the board, with the support of the general manger and senior teachers, are to:

  • continue to define what excellence in education looks like in the DK
  • further develop strategic planning to better show future goals and priorities and how these will be achieved  in the association and in the kindergartens 
  • ensure that the reports they receive show how well the association's vision and goals are met, are evaluative and inform future planning 
  • continue to strengthen the appraisal process and be assured that appraisals are rigorous and consistent throughout the kindergartens.

With the appointment of a new senior teacher it is timely for the board and general manager to review the role of the senior teachers and strengthen systems to ensure consistent, high-quality practice across all kindergartens within the association.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Rotary Park Kindergarten 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.

ERO found that the plans to manage risks during excursions could be more detailed so that all adults are clear about what to do if there is an incident.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Rotary Park Kindergarten will be in four years.  

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

26 November 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

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

5506

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

41 children over two years of age

Service roll

39

Gender composition

Girls: 24

Boys: 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnicities

  2

34

  3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff           Under 2

to children                                  Over 2

Not applicable

 

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

26 November 2015

Most recent ERO reports

 

Education Review

September 2012

Education Review

May 2009

Education Review

February 2006

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.