Sara Petesa A'oga Amata - 30/03/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Petesa A’oga Amata operates under the management of the Otara Samoan Assembly of God. The a’oga mostly serves the church and community, providing all-day, Samoan language immersion early childhood education based on Samoan and Christian values. The centre is licensed for 40 children from birth to five years old.

Children are warmly welcomed into the centre and settle quickly. They are confident and able to make choices for themselves. Children enjoy their time at the centre and interact positively with each other, building trusting relationships with their peers. Children benefit from being immersed in the gagana and aganu’u Samoa context and they actively participate in cultural aspects of the programme.

Teachers are respectful and affirming of children. They support children in the daily programme and are responsive to their needs. Flexible routines allow teachers to respond to children’s individual needs and preferences. Teachers acknowledge the need to strengthen programme processes to help them develop more challenging learning experiences for children.

Parents express a high level of satisfaction with the a’oga. They appreciate the positive relationships they have established with teachers. These relationships have supported their children to transition confidently into the a’oga amata.

Sound management systems and effective leadership support the centre to maintain and help to sustain the quality of the a’oga. The management committee is committed to ongoing improvement of the a’oga and members are supported by the managers and staff. Managers agree that they need to strengthen self-review practices to promote more meaningful and challenging learning for children. External professional advice and support would assist them in this process.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Petesa A'oga Amata 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 at Petesa A'oga Amata.

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 a’oga operates behind the church on a large site. The building has two rooms and a spacious outdoor space for children.

The manager of the centre and several teachers are fluent Samoan speakers. Some teachers are qualified and are completing their teacher registration, and some are beginning their training.

In 2008, ERO reported that teachers had made good progress in improving centre operations. They had accessed good professional support to help them develop the programme and improve personnel and financial management. ERO recommended further improvements to planning and assessment practices, and the implementation of their philosophy in practice. The management committee and managers have taken positive steps to respond to these recommendations.

Areas of strength

Gagana and aganu’u Samoa. The a’oga philosophy and practice are clearly woven into the programme, environment and documentation. Teachers constantly talk to children and encourage their response in gagana Samoa. Some children confidently take on leadership roles and interact with teachers while participating in the lotu and pese. Teachers can build on these good practices as they support children’s language development.

Outcomes for children. Welcoming environments and respectful relationships between children and adults support children’s wellbeing and belonging. Children are familiar with routines and have extended periods of time to make choices for themselves. They settle quickly into their play and confidently seek out their peers to play alongside each other and develop friendships.

Responsive teachers. Teachers support children to engage in the daily programme with friendly conversation that encourages them to explore resources in their environment. Teachers in the infants and toddlers area provide an environment that suits children’s preferences and individual routines. They build sensitive and respectful relationships with children.

Learning environment. The learning environments in the a’oga are welcoming and attractively presented, reflecting gagana and aganu’u Samoa, and acknowledges Māori language and tikanga. Children move freely between the indoor and outdoor play areas choosing from a variety of planned resources and activities. Teachers could now review their learning environments to offer more physical and creative challenges for children.

Areas for development and review

Self review. Although self-review processes have been developed, managers acknowledge self review as a major focus for continued development. ERO supports managers’ plan to increase teachers’ capabilities and understanding, of the value of self review.

Curriculum management. The programme reflects how teachers are responsive to children’s interests. Teachers could now focus more on planning to extend children’s learning and evaluating the quality of children’s experiences. Self-review processes would help them strengthen programme management and enhance the learning environment to improve children’s learning.

Encouraging children to speak. Teachers need to consider ways to further develop children’s thinking and language as they interact with other children and adults.

Strategies could include:

  • watching and listening to children to gauge when to become involved
  • using open-ended questions to encourage children to express their ideas and challenge their thinking
  • supporting children to engage in conversations about people, places, events, and things that are meaningful to them
  • involving parents in discussions about their child’s learning and how they foster children’s language at home
  • providing challenging learning experiences to encourage children to solve problems, reason, plan and predict.

Leadership and management. With established processes and stability of leadership, managers could now:

  • redevelop appraisals to reflect an educational focus and to align the process with the Registered Teachers Criteria
  • develop and implement strategic planning to align with annual goals and budget decisions.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Petesa A'oga Amata 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:

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

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that 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 the managers should:

  • ensure that medication procedures are followed up and accurately recorded
  • add a protected disclosure clause to the child protection policy.

4 Recommendations

ERO and the centre managers agree that:

  1. managers should develop more rigorous self-review processes that guide ongoing centre improvement and evaluate the impact of changes on outcomes for children

  2. teachers should continue to develop the programme by increasing the levels of challenge for children.

5 Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

About the Centre

Type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2 years

Roll number

31

Gender composition

Girls 16

Boys 15

Ethnic composition

Samoan 31

Review team on site

January 2012

Date of this report

30 March 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Supplementary Review, December 2008

Education Review, November 2007

Education Review, May 2004

To the Parents and Community of Petesa A'oga Amata

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Petesa A'oga Amata.

Petesa A’oga Amata operates under the management of the Otara Samoan Assembly of God. The a’oga mostly serves the church and community, providing all-day, Samoan language immersion early childhood education based on Samoan and Christian values. The centre is licensed for 40 children from birth to five years old.

Children are warmly welcomed into the centre and settle quickly. They are confident and able to make choices for themselves. Children enjoy their time at the centre and interact positively with each other, building trusting relationships with their peers. Children benefit from being immersed in the gagana and aganu’u Samoa context and they actively participate in cultural aspects of the programme.

Teachers are respectful and affirming of children. They support children in the daily programme and are responsive to their needs. Flexible routines allow teachers to respond to children’s individual needs and preferences. Teachers acknowledge the need to strengthen programme processes to help them develop more challenging learning experiences for children.

Parents express a high level of satisfaction with the a’oga. They appreciate the positive relationships they have established with teachers. These relationships have supported their children to transition confidently into the a’oga amata.

Sound management systems and effective leadership support the centre to maintain and help to sustain the quality of the a’oga. The management committee is committed to ongoing improvement of the a’oga and members are supported by the managers and staff. Managers agree that they need to strengthen self-review practices to promote more meaningful and challenging learning for children. External professional advice and support would assist them in this process.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in 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.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

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.
  • 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.