St Andrews Kindergarten - 03/02/2015

1 Evaluation of St Andrews Kindergarten

How well placed is St Andrews Kindergarten 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

St Andrews Kindergarten is located in Hamilton and provides both all-day and sessional education and care for children from two years to school age. The kindergarten is licensed for up to 40 children over the age of two years at any one time. At the time of this ERO review, 58 children were enrolled, of whom nine are identified as Māori.

The kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Waikato Kindergarten Association (WKA), which is a charitable trust, and does not operate for profit. The strategic direction of the association is guided by the overarching statement, ‘Every child reaching their full potential’. The WKA has a commitment to providing quality, inclusive services that effectively meet the diverse educational needs of all children attending. All WKA kindergartens provide an Enviroschool focus as a key curriculum feature to encourage children to better understand caring for the environment.

The Educational Service Manager (ESM) monitors and reports to the association on the kindergarten’s quality of education. A kaumātua from Tainui provides advice, guidance and support about Māori language, culture and identity. The kindergarten’s administrative responsibilities are well supported by association resource personnel.

The kindergarten benefits from the WKA's clear guidelines and expectations for practice and the availability of good self-review processes for monitoring and evaluating the quality of education and care it provides for children.

Since the last ERO review in 2012, there have been considerable refurbishments and improvements to the indoor and outdoor environments. During 2014, the roll increased and the operating hours were extended. A new head teacher was appointed in Term 3, 2014 and the teaching team is currently in the process of reviewing the kindergarten philosophy. Teachers continue to warmly welcome children, parents and the community to the kindergarten. They are well supported by the Education Services Manager (ESM) and the WKA.

The kindergarten responded positively to the recommendations in the 2012 ERO report. Teachers have reviewed planning, assessment and evaluation systems, and provided increased opportunities for children to use computer technologies as tools for learning.

This review was part of a cluster of five kindergarten reviews in the Waikato Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

St Andrews Kindergarten is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Warm, welcoming relationships among children, teachers and parents and whānau are strongly evident throughout the kindergarten. Parents reported that the teachers get to know children and their families well, invite them to share aspects of their culture, and support them through challenging times.

There are high levels of mutual respect among children and adults. Children’s interests, ideas and suggestions are listened to by teachers who engage in meaningful dialogue and discussion. Children are encouraged to make decisions, solve problems and develop their working theories. Teachers respond to children’s leadership and initiatives by joining them in play. There is a sense of enjoyment, fun and laughter as teachers and children celebrate their learning and play.

Children with diverse needs are well supported by teachers and support workers in an inclusive culture. Parents acknowledged that the needs of their children are carefully managed. Challenging behaviour is minimised through the use of positive guidance and the setting out of stimulating activities that engage children. Children demonstrate high levels of social skills in a mixed-age setting where tuakana-teina relationships enhance their self esteem and confidence. Transitions into and from the kindergarten are well managed and the use of the ‘key teacher’ roles promotes children’s sense of belonging and wellbeing.

The kindergarten provides a wide range of opportunities to engage children in all aspects of Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum. Resources and equipment are presented in an attractive way to invite children to explore, investigate, challenge their physical skills and promote imaginary and creative play. Teachers contribute a high level of knowledge and expertise to the curriculum to extend children’s learning through play, and build on their prior knowledge and home experiences.

A feature of the curriculum is the strong priority placed on respect for the natural environment, sustainability, and growing and preparing food. Teachers have engaged in professional development to improve their knowledge and practice of tikanga Māori. Māori concepts, beliefs and values are part of the daily routines. Increased understanding and promotion of bicultural perspectives, and the culture and identity of other children and their families, is evident throughout the curriculum.

Authentic learning contexts are introduced by teachers to increase children’s sense of belonging. There is a strong focus on literacy and mathematics, science, art, music and drama. Children are confidently using computer technology to record and enhance their learning experiences.

Teachers have been involved in a sustained review of assessment, planning and evaluation systems. There is now a clearer, more visible planning process that is shared with parents and whānau. Children’s learning is recorded in high-quality stories that can be shared and revisited in profiles and on a web-based programme. Children contribute to their profiles, and their learning and progress over time is identified by teachers. Ongoing reflection about the effectiveness of the programmes and initiatives is led by the head teacher.

The head teacher has an inclusive and strategic approach to her leadership role. She promotes high expectations and standards that she models for others. She places high priority on respectful, trusting, relationships, critically reflective practice, and open communication. The head teacher has built a collaborative and collegial teaching team and encourages leadership in others. Her leadership is well supported by teachers, parents and the WKA. The head teacher and staff are using self review effectively to improve the quality of education and care for children.

Key Next Step

The kindergarten has recently identified that ‘making learning more visible’ is a strategic priority. ERO and the kindergarten leaders agree that a next step is to explore ways to promote greater engagement of children and parents in discussions and reflections about their current learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St Andrews 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of St Andrews Kindergarten will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

3 February 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

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

5157

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

58

Gender composition

Boys 29

Girls 29

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Indian

Pacific

Other

9

34

8

4

2

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

3 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2012

 

Education Review

August 2008

 

Education Review

August 2005

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.