St Andrew's Preschool - 01/08/2016

1 Evaluation of St Andrew's Preschool

How well placed is St Andrew's Preschool 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 Andrew's Preschool is one of five education and care services operating under the umbrella of Bethlehem Early Learning Centres (BELC Ltd). Bethlehem College operates under the Christian Education Trust (CET). The centre is located on the grounds of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Te Puke. It is licensed for 40 children over two years old. There are 55 children on the roll, five identify as Māori and 12 are from other ethnic backgrounds.

The positive features identified in the 2012 ERO report have been maintained and further developed. Teachers have engaged in a range of internal and external professional development to improve teaching, bicultural, special character and self-review practices. They have also increased their knowledge and understanding of teaching children from diverse cultural backgrounds and those with special needs. There is a strong emphasis on employing qualified and professionally capable teachers.

Teachers have recently reviewed the centre's mission statement and philosophy. These statements incorporate Christian values and beliefs, bicultural goals and clear guidelines for supporting and promoting children's learning and wellbeing. The centre's positive, welcoming, and family-like culture reflects these values and beliefs.

This review was part of a cluster of 3 reviews under the umbrella of Bethlehem Early Learning Centres.

The Review Findings

St Andrew's Preschool is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Children benefit from high quality, affirming, caring and responsive interactions and relationships. They initiate play activities, help set up their environment, and readily engage in imaginative and creative play. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging, negotiate and take turns with each other through well-established tuakana-teina relationships. Children are encouraged to share their problem solving ideas and working theories with adults and their peers. They are confident, self-managing learners and communicators.

Teachers listen actively to children and effectively model and encourage oral language development. They skilfully scaffold children’s learning to extend their interests and thinking. Children are very well supported to manage their care routines, access resources and sustain engagement in a range of interesting activities. There is appropriate planning for groups and individuals and a suitable combination of child and teacher-led teaching and learning activities.

The environment is spacious and attractively presented to promote easy access to resources so that children can engage in play of their choice. Children make good use of readily available literacy, mathematics and science resources and materials. The outdoor area continually promotes exploration, along with physical and dramatic play. The environment strongly supports children's sense of well being and belonging.

Teachers regularly celebrate children’s culture, heritage and successes. Te reo and tikanga Māori are used often within the programme. Transitions into and from the centre are sensitively managed. Preschool staff have developed reciprocal professional relationships with local schools.

The planning process is clear and responsive to the learning and development needs of individual children. Narratives about children’s learning are informative and attractively presented to engage children and their families/whanau in the assessment and planning process. Profile entries acknowledge children’s strengths, interests and learning dispositions and guide programme planning. Samples of children’s work and their learning are also visible on well displayed planning boards. Learning can be revisited through accessible profiles and planning folders that document previous centre programmes.

The centre provides a warm and welcoming environment. Parents receive regular formative feedback about their child’s learning, progress and development through profiles, conversations, social media and individual learning plans. Parents participate collaboratively with teachers in setting children’s individual learning goals. These are acknowledged and revisited through regular profile assessment entries. Parents are encouraged to spend time in the centre and develop a good understanding about their child's learning.

Leadership provided by the head teacher is strong and effective. She has established a collaborative and collegial team. She knows children and their families well and is knowledgeable about professional practice and the needs of children, particularly those with diverse learning and health requirements. She has high expectations and standards for professional practice and models the Christian ethos and values of the centre. She gives teachers constructive feedback about their practices to improve outcomes for children.

The centre has a comprehensive system for appraisal and mentoring. This includes high quality support for teachers who are yet to be fully registered. Particular strengths of the process are centre-wide and individual development goals. These goals are supported by action plans and teachers’ critical reflection about their practice. The knowledgeable centre manager oversees and supports the five BELC centres. A considerable proportion of responsibility for financial, property and personnel matters is managed by BELC.

Self review is both strategic and spontaneous. Internal reviews follow an established process and are conducted collaboratively by staff, in consultation with parents/whānau to promote improved outcomes for children. The head teacher and staff have developed a five year management plan, which is aligned with the BELC strategic plan and provides well-considered strategic direction for the centre.

Key Next Steps

In order to further build on the centre's effective self-review processes, ERO and the head teacher agree that:

  • a next step is to develop action plans to support the implementation of the BELC plan goals and provide a basis for annual review
  • these processes should be extended to include the formal analysis of survey responses.

The staff appraisal process now needs to be further refined to align with the most recent requirements of the Education Council.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St Andrew's Preschool 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 Andrew's Preschool will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

1 August 2016

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

Te Puke

Ministry of Education profile number

40300

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

55

Gender composition

Boys 30 Girls 25

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Other European

Indian

Other

5

33

3

3

3

8

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

1 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

February 2010

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.