St Andrews College Preschool - 07/12/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

St Andrews College Preschool is located on the St Andrew’s College campus. Children have the opportunity to visit and make use of the college facilities. The preschool caters for up to 40 children from two and a half years old to school age.

The Preschool teachers are qualified in early childhood education (ECE) and most staff have been at the centre for some time. At the time of the review, the preschool had an acting head teacher.

This preschool has had to address a number of challenges associated with the Canterbury earthquakes. They have managed these challenges well.

Since the 2008 ERO review, head teachers and teachers have introduced several initiatives. Ongoing professional development has helped them to build on and extend opportunities for children to learn and develop.

Particular features of this preschool are:

  • the wide range of learning opportunities teachers provide for children and the attractive and well resourced indoor and outdoor areas
  • the extent to which children’s ideas and interests are included in the programme
  • the variety of practices teachers use to support children’s learning and development
  • the quality of relationships between teachers and children, and teachers’ success in fostering children’s well-being and sense of belonging
  • leadership that promotes team work and ongoing improvement.

The next steps for the preschool include:

  • consolidating curriculum development and programme planning, and then reviewing, embedding and further integrating programme changes
  • improving aspects of self review and teacher appraisal to further improve outcomes for children
  • building on efforts to integrate bicultural practices into the programme.

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 St Andrews College Preschool 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 atSt Andrews College Preschool.

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.

The Quality of Education

Background

The preschool philosophy focuses on teachers working with children to support their development as confident and competent learners. Teachers make use of the wider St Andrews College environment to promote and extend learning opportunities for children.

Areas of strength

Programme

A feature of the preschool is the diverse range of educational programmes available for children. These experiences give particular emphasis to areas such as literacy, numeracy, science and the arts.

Teachers have continued to extend the programme through ongoing initiatives such as the transition-to-school programme, projects, and topic-based learning. They have incorporated ideas based on a variety of approaches to early childhood education.

Teachers actively seek ideas from children about their interests and ideas and successfully integrate these into the programme. The programme provides some uninterrupted time for children to work with and alongside others.

ERO observed children happily involved in sustained, independent and small group play and friendship groups. Children are well supported to take responsibility, to care for themselves, others and the environment.

Teaching practices

ERO observed teachers using practices that help to encourage children to take part in activities and promote their learning and development. For instance, teachers:

  • work with and alongside children in calm, consistent and unhurried ways
  • were interested in and responsive to children’s play ideas
  • often used strategies such as modelling, questioning that extended children’s thinking, and provided opportunities for children to make choices.

Reporting

Teachers complete well presented and informative assessments of children’s learning and development in their portfolios. These portfolios celebrate children’s learning through sharing activities they have been involved in, assessing aspects of their learning and development and identifying children’s future goals. Increasing numbers of parents contribute to these records and the decisions about their child’s future goals.

Learning Environment

Relationships and interactions

Children’s well-being and sense of belonging is fostered by the relationships teachers develop with children and the environment they provide.

Teachers know children well, are respectful in their interactions and show genuine interest and care for them. Teachers affirm and value children’s efforts. Children are confident to approach adults and seek comfort and support. Their self-help skills are encouraged.

Teachers actively support children’s social development. Children cooperate and play well together. They include and invite others into their play.

Teachers foster good links between the home and centre. They help to make parents feel welcome, hold parent evenings to inform them about preschool events, seek their ideas and encourage their participation in the programme.

The physical environment

Attractive wall displays make children’s current interests and participation in the programme visible and help to celebrate their learning. Teachers value children’s work.

The environment is well organised. Teachers make effective use of the indoor and outdoor areas to provide children with an extensive range of resources and activities to support and extend their interests and ideas. These play spaces invite children’s curiosity and exploration.

Leadership and management

Preschool leaders have built on the most effective past practices to bring about further improvements to the programme and implement recommendations in the last ERO review.

A good level of reflection has guided the development of team practices and resulted in ongoing programme initiatives and developments. The preschool’s annual plan provides a useful focus for developments.

Management systems are well established and applied in ways that support team work and collaboration.

Areas for development and review

Programme consolidation

Given the continuing initiatives and the growing range of programme activities it would be useful to review, embed, and further integrate programme changes.

Building on bicultural practices

The preschool has made some progress towards building on and extending bicultural practices. Head teachers have identified a need to develop and build on their knowledge and understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori so as to further integrate it across the service.

Assessment

The quality and usefulness of assessment practices would be enhanced by making:

  • greater reference in children’s learning goals to the development of children’s attitudes to learning
  • clearer links between children’s assessment findings and programme plans.

Building on management practices

To build on existing good practices and further promote development, preschool leaders should extend:

  • teacher appraisal practices and set more specific teaching development goals
  • the guidelines for conducting self reviews so changes can be strengthened and further evaluated.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long-term and systemic educational improvement.

Inclusion of Children with Moderate to Severe Special Needs

As part of this review, ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions ensure the continuing well-being, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

Background

Although there are no children with moderate to severe special needs currently enrolled in this service, it is well placed to support children with moderate to severe special needs.

Teachers are focused on meeting the needs of all children. They have some experience in supporting families and children who have had specialist support. This includes building relationships with specialist agencies and key personnel.

A feature of the centre is the way teachers foster children’s well-being and sense of belonging.

The environment is well set up to provide children with a suitable variety of resources and activities to support their diverse learning and development needs.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of St Andrews College Preschool completed an ERO CentreAssurance 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
  • 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.

5. 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

All day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

42 children

Roll number

52

Gender composition

Girls 23;

Boys 29

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 44;

Māori 4;

Other ethnicities 4

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

7 December 2011

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review January 2008

Education Review June 2005

Education Review November 2001

7 December 2011

To the Parents and Community of St Andrews College Preschool

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on St Andrews College Preschool.

St Andrews College Preschool is located on the St Andrew’s College campus. Children have the opportunity to visit and make use of the college facilities. The preschool caters for up to 40 children from two and a half years old to school age.

The Preschool teachers are qualified in early childhood education (ECE) and most staff have been at the centre for some time. At the time of the review, the preschool had an acting head teacher.

This preschool has had to address a number of challenges associated with the Canterbury earthquakes. They have managed these challenges well.

Since the 2008 ERO review, head teachers and teachers have introduced several initiatives. Ongoing professional development has helped them to build on and extend opportunities for children to learn and develop.

Particular features of this preschool are:

  • the wide range of learning opportunities teachers provide for children and the attractive and well resourced indoor and outdoor areas
  • the extent to which children’s ideas and interests are included in the programme
  • the variety of practices teachers use to support children’s learning and development
  • the quality of relationships between teachers and children, and teachers’ success in fostering children’s well-being and sense of belonging
  • leadership that promotes team work and ongoing improvement.

The next steps for the preschool include:

  • consolidating curriculum development and programme planning, and then reviewing, embedding and further integrating programme changes
  • improving aspects of self review and teacher appraisal to further improve outcomes for children
  • building on efforts to integrate bicultural practices into the programme.

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