South Brighton Playcentre - 16/07/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

South Brighton Playcentre is one of 49 centres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The association’s education and centre support teams provide support for the centre. The parent cooperative is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the playcentre. This playcentre operates five morning sessions for children aged from birth to school age.

This playcentre has been significantly affected by the recent Canterbury earthquakes. The centre was unable to use its buildings for a significant period of time. The local school provided a classroom for the playcentre to use. This arrangement strengthened the relationship between the playcentre and school. The parent members have responded to the earthquakes by establishing effective support networks with each other. They continue to promote a strong sense of community for children and families. Despite many families needing to find alternative housing, the playcentre cooperative has remained enthusiastic and focused on providing high-quality learning experiences for their children.

Positive features of this playcentre include:

  • a programme that strongly reflects children’s emerging interests and ideas
  • supportive and encouraging relationships between children and adults, and among adults
  • the effective ways adults relate to children, including babies and toddlers, that extend their learning and ideas
  • the collaborative way parents work together to support children’s learning, manage the playcentre and make improvements to the learning environment and programme
  • the wide range of activities to enhance learning, and opportunities for children to explore the stimulating natural outdoor play area.

The next steps are for the parent group to:

  • increase the depth of what is recorded about children’s learning in assessment and programme planning
  • improve the opportunities children have to hear and use te reo Māori
  • prioritise ideas for centre improvements and develop plans to ensure that changes are manageable and sustainable.

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 in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of South Brighton 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 atSouth Brighton 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 highlights the belief that children reach their full potential when parents understand their development and take part in the learning process. At this playcentre, the parent group believes that children learn best when they are able to choose their own play experiences and follow their own ideas. Parents aim for the playcentre to be a positive environment. Adults are expected to work cooperatively to effectively manage the centre and have opportunities to develop friendships with other families in the community. This philosophy was clearly visible in the centre’s practices and operation.

Areas of strength

Children benefit from a programme that strongly reflects their emerging interests and ideas. Children make the most of the many opportunities they have to initiate and lead play, and make choices about how they organise their time at the playcentre.

Trusting and mutually respectful relationships are a feature of the playcentre. This includes:

  • positive and encouraging relationships between adults and all children
  • supportive and friendly interactions between parents
  • centre supervisors and parents working effectively together for the benefit of children.

Parents work collaboratively to support children’s learning. They regularly discuss what they recognise about children’s learning and make useful plans to extend children’s interests further. The number of parents undertaking training is increasing. This commitment to training is also resulting in parents increasingly sharing their knowledge with each other to help improve the programme.

The parent group works well together. A good number of active members are sharing the workload of managing the playcentre.

The parent group has now begun to re-establish more robust self-review systems. Although in the early stages of the process, parents are making good use of these reviews to:

  • visit other playcentres and find out about new ideas
  • further their knowledge and understandings through readings and research
  • seek and use all members’ views and perspectives.

Adults interact with children in a range of ways that promote their play and learning. This includes adults:

  • modelling and encouraging a sense of fun and enjoyment through play
  • using effective questioning to help children think about and explain their ideas
  • providing children with regular opportunities for solving problems and persisting with challenges
  • being involved in children’s play and providing additional resources to help children carry out their ideas.

ERO observed that the high number of adults who chose to remain on session resulted in sustained engagement with individuals and small groups of children. Adults effectively include babies and toddlers in all activities at the playcentre.

Children have many opportunities for exploration in the programme. Adults plan and provide a wide range of learning experiences including many sensory activities, physical challenges and regular opportunities for children to enhance their literacy skills. The outdoor environment is well set out with areas of natural plantings and resources for children to investigate and explore. It reflects the local environment the children and their families live in.

Areas for development and review

Following the earthquakes, and subsequent temporary relocation of the playcentre, understandably there was less focus on self review, planning and assessment practices. The parent group members are now back in their usual premises and are in a better position to:

  • increase the depth of what is recorded about children’s learning in assessment and programme planning
  • improve the opportunities children have to hear and use te reo Māori
  • prioritise ideas for centre improvements and develop plans for these so that the changes are manageable and sustainable in post-earthquake conditions.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of South Brighton Playcentre completed an ERO CentreManagementAssurance 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
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

At the time of this review parents had informal systems for identifying and attending to hazards in the environment. Since the onsite stage of the review the parent group has made better use of association systems for recording and sharing information about hazards with centre members and visitors.

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 in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

Sessional Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

22 children, including up to 10 aged under two

Roll number

55

Gender composition

Girls 30 Boys 25

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 35; Māori 4 British 4; German 3; Other Ethnicities 9

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

16 July 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review May 2008

Education Review June 2004

Accountability Review May 1999

16 July 2012

To the Parents and Community of South Brighton Playcentre

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

South Brighton Playcentre is one of 49 centres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The association’s education and centre support teams provide support for the centre. The parent cooperative is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the playcentre. This playcentre operates five morning sessions for children aged from birth to school age.

This playcentre has been significantly affected by the recent Canterbury earthquakes. The centre was unable to use its buildings for a significant period of time. The local school provided a classroom for the playcentre to use. This arrangement strengthened the relationship between the playcentre and school. The parent members have responded to the earthquakes by establishing effective support networks with each other. They continue to promote a strong sense of community for children and families. Despite many families needing to find alternative housing, the playcentre cooperative has remained enthusiastic and focused on providing high-quality learning experiences for their children.

Positive features of this playcentre include:

  • a programme that strongly reflects children’s emerging interests and ideas
  • supportive and encouraging relationships between children and adults, and among adults
  • the effective ways adults relate to children, including babies and toddlers, that extend their learning and ideas
  • the collaborative way parents work together to support children’s learning, manage the playcentre and make improvements to the learning environment and programme
  • the wide range of activities to enhance learning, and opportunities for children to explore the stimulating natural outdoor play area.

The next steps are for the parent group to:

  • increase the depth of what is recorded about children’s learning in assessment and programme planning
  • improve the opportunities children have to hear and use te reo Māori
  • prioritise ideas for centre improvements and develop plans to ensure that changes are manageable and sustainable.

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 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.

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.

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.