Sunny Days - 12/02/2018

1 Evaluation of Sunny Days

How well placed is Sunny Days to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Teachers and leaders need support to develop systems to improve consistency of programme delivery and centre operation.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

Sunny Days is a community all-day early learning service operating under the umbrella of the Napier Family Centre. Full and part-time places are available for children aged from birth to five years. The philosophy places future-focused education at the heart of its curriculum.

The centre operates three learning-rooms, Pukeko, Kiwi and Tui. Children transition through these based on age and developmental readiness. Each has a head teacher and a designated teaching team.

The December 2014 ERO report identified a number of areas requiring strengthening including: culturally responsive practices; programme planning; and alignment between board direction and centre practices.

Since the previous ERO review there have been significant changes in the teaching team, including the disestablishment of the divisional manager role. The centre manager is presently undertaking the duties and responsibilities of this position alongside the manager of the Napier Family Centre home-based service.

The Review Findings

Aspects of the philosophy are evident in practice. Teachers know children well. Flexible routines are responsive to individual needs. Children's self-help skills and independence are supported. Due to recent changes, it is timely to revisit the philosophy to evaluate its alignment with the aspirations of whānau and wider centre community, and to the vision and long-term goals of the centre.

Leaders recognise that assessment of children’s learning needs further strengthening. To promote consistency across the team, the development of clear expectations for assessment and planning is a key next step. These should include strategies to monitor the effectiveness of teachers' practice over time.

Teachers maintain a calm, slow pace in which infants and toddlers have space and time to lead their own learning. Responsive caregiving supports strong and secure attachments for younger children. Children's sense of belonging is nurtured during transitions within the centre. Teachers successfully promote positive transitions to school.

Children with additional learning needs play and learn alongside their friends. Teachers work with families and external agencies to identify and meet individual learning goals. Their responsiveness to children's wellbeing is evident.

A bicultural perspective is visible in resources, routines, activities and through teachers' use of te reo Māori. Some teachers are actively engaged in deepening their knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori. Leaders recognise that developing a strategic approach to promoting successful learning outcomes for Māori and Pacific children is a key next step. ERO's evaluation affirms this development.

Internal evaluation is in the early stages of development. Leaders agree that teachers need support to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of evaluation as a tool to drive ongoing improvement. They have sourced external professional learning and development to strengthen practice. To meet regulatory requirements, leaders should develop a schedule for reviewing and evaluating centre operation over time.

Teachers need support and guidance to build upon their recent professional learning and development. Systems to strengthen practice across all centre operation are required. Consideration should be given to improving teachers' appraisal and providing appropriate leadership support for the centre manager.

Governors should continue to strengthen the alignment between board direction and centre practices.

Teachers and leaders are not fully aware of their responsibilities under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. Managers should ensure that all staff read and adhere to these requirements.

Key Next Steps

ERO recommends that centre leaders should:

  • improve teachers' appraisal to include robust feedback and feed forward about their teaching practice
  • provide ongoing leadership support for the centre manager, including the implementation of regular and appropriate appraisal
  • strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation to consistently support all children’s learning
  • improve staff knowledge and understanding of internal evaluation as a tool to develop and sustain centre practice and operation
  • continue to strengthen the alignment between board direction and centre practices
  • improve staff knowledge, understanding and implementation of practices that meet regulatory requirements.

Since the on-site phase of the review, the service has informed ERO that they have accessed professional learning and development in relation to appraisal practice, and that the centre manager has sourced a suitably qualified person to conduct her appraisal. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Sunny Days 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to the governance, management and administration. In order to improve current practice the service provider should:

  • improve the annual plan to identify 'who', 'what', and 'when' in relation to key tasks undertaken each year.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA8]

In order to improve practice:

  • managers and teachers should strengthen processes for reviewing and evaluating the service's operation by the people involved in the service. This should include a schedule showing timelines for planned review of different areas of operation.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Sunny Days will be within two years.

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

12 February 2018 

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

Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

55048

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

62 children, including up to 14 aged under 2

Service roll

76

Gender composition

Girls 41, Boys 35

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific Island
Other ethnic groups

47
15
  5
  9

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:6

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

12 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

March 2012

Education Review

April 2009

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.