Sunnyvale Kindergarten - 14/12/2016

1 Evaluation of Sunnyvale Kindergarten

How well placed is Sunnyvale 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

Sunnyvale Kindergarten is a well-established service that provides six hour sessions that align well with school hours. It is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) and operates within its policies and strategic goals. A range of AKA professional support personnel are available to assist teachers with curriculum, management and property matters.

The team consists of four registered teachers who are supported by a teaching assistant, a teacher aide and an administrator. They have worked together as a collaborative team for more than two years. Teachers are responsive to the multicultural community and promote an inclusive environment underpinned by a commitment to 'awhi mai, awhi atu', which helps to foster a culture of mutual support in the kindergarten. This commitment aligns well with the kindergarten's philosophy of valuing children's competence, individuality and cultural identity.

In 2013 ERO acknowledged several strengths of the kindergarten. A calm atmosphere and positive relationships continue to be features of the service and a rich environment and a varied curriculum effectively engaged children in learning. ERO recommended improvements in planning and assessment records, self review and in integrating te reo and tikanga Māori throughout the programme. There has been very good progress in these areas.

The AKA provides a governance and management framework for the kindergarten. It also provides personnel support, to assist the kindergarten. The 2015 restructure of AKA leadership roles has been reviewed and has resulted in the further allocation of roles. There continues to be a period of transition for all AKA staff as they adapt to new systems and responsibilities.

This review was part of a cluster of seven kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children are eager learners who settle quickly and show a sense of belonging in the kindergarten. They have positive relationships with their peers and with teachers and contribute well to conversations about their play.

Children play confidently by themselves and in small independent groups, exploring resources and working collaboratively. They benefit from many opportunities to practise early literacy skills in meaningful contexts and also use numbers and mathematical concepts for real purposes. The integration of te reo and tikanga Māori support Māori children to have pride their culture and identity.

Teachers support diversity and the cultural heritage of all families by celebrating events, providing resources with cultural themes and responding very well to children with special needs.

Children's learning is deliberately encouraged. Teachers are respectful and responsive in their interactions with children, listening well and asking questions that help to extend children's ideas particularly during mat time. They encourage children to support each other and work together to solve problems.

Teachers celebrate children's ideas about their own strengths and interests in attractive displays. They value children's contributions to planning the programme and the environment. This focus could be extended to challenge children to set new goals and further develop their problem solving skills. Displays within the kindergarten enable parents and whānau to be well informed about the programme and many are using a digital portal to provide teachers with feedback or to share stories from home.

Teachers are increasing the transparency of their planning and evaluation in response to children's interests. They are strongly committed to reflecting on their practices and identifying strategies to support learning. Teachers' current focus on children's learning dispositions is enabling them to more critically analyse the quality of children's play and the learning outcomes that follow. They could now use this process to strengthen expectations about the ways children use equipment and make discoveries.

Parents and whānau are interested and active partners in their children's learning. Teachers actively foster family involvement through a parent/whānau support group, regular discussions and centre events. Parents who were interviewed by ERO are enthusiastic about the welcoming environment and the opportunities they have to contribute to the programme. They value how well teachers know their children and respond to their interests and cultural identity.

The kindergarten is well managed. The head teacher is a collaborative leader who distributes responsibilities and values the different skills and knowledge each teacher brings to the team. Together they use their strategic action plan to operate the centre and achieve development goals.

Teachers value the range of professional development provided by the Association and the support network that is available to them, including an extensive course to enhance bicultural practices. They have a well established internal evaluation processes that are focused on improvement and result in positive outcomes for children. Teachers are gaining confidence with using these processes.

Association systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in kindergarten operations are well established. Centre operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA’s strategic goals. New AKA roles have been established to provide more targeted support for head teachers in their leadership and management roles.

Key Next Steps

The teachers and AKA managers agree that the key next steps for the kindergarten’s development could include:

  • ongoing development of bicultural practices, integrating more natural resources and becoming more familiar with local Māori history
  • strengthening provocations in the programme that will challenge children's thinking and help them to set goals
  • incorporating the concepts of the Ministry of Education resource, Tātaiako: cultural competencies for Māori learners, in teaching practices and appraisal documentation.

The AKA is continuing to review and refine its policies and procedures, including those for teacher appraisal and the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale Kindergarten will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

14 December 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

Sunnyvale, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5106

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

53

Gender composition

Girls       31
Boys      22

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Indian
Samoan
Tongan
others

11
18
  6
  3
  1
14

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

September 2016

Date of this report

14 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

November 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

May 2007

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.