Surrey Park Early Learning Centre Inc - Intermediate - 12/07/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Surrey Park Early Learning Centre – Intermediate, provides education and care for children aged approximately 20 months to three and a half years. It is one of three licences at the Surrey Park site. Children begin in the Infant Centre, then move into the Intermediate and finally into the Preschool Centre. A parent committee has overall responsibility. The three licenses are managed by an on-site director.

Children and teachers are based in two large areas that are separated by a shared playground. The areas are known as the Blue and Green Rooms and operate two separate programmes. However, at the beginning and end of each day, and during outside play, children and teachers mingle.

In the last year there has been ongoing work to upgrade the buildings and grounds. Two licences became three. These changes meant that many children and teachers have shifted during the year and teachers worked under challenging circumstances.

The focus of this review was the quality of education for children aged birth-to-five years. ERO reviewed the programme, the learning environment and the quality of the interactions to see how these contribute to children’s learning and development. In 2011, ERO is evaluating partnerships with Māori whānau in all reviews.

Children benefit from positive and trusting relationships with their teachers. The teachers place high importance on getting to know the children and their families well. The teachers have developed a shared philosophy and are reflective about their work with children and how they could improve what they do.

Children experience a good range of learning and play opportunities. They are well engaged in a centre programme that:

  • recognises their levels of development and promotes their independence
  • helps build confidence and respect for themselves and each other
  • provides many opportunities to build on their interests in meaningful ways
  • extends their early literacy and numeracy skills
  • builds on their oral language in one-to-one and small-group times
  • has an increasing focus on learning
  • is safe and healthy.

The teachers agreed that their records could more clearly show the priorities for individual and group learning. The teachers also need to develop an understanding of self review. They then need to implement an ongoing programme of self review so that they can better monitor the effectiveness of their work.

ERO found that the centre has useful and detailed policies and procedures to guide its practice. Many of these practices are not currently followed, and this has compromised the effectiveness of the overall management and governance of the centre. The centre has not in recent times undertaken self review, staff appraisal, strategic planning or ensured that provisionally registered teachers receive an advice and guidance programme. As the centre continues with its expansions and development plans, it is urgent that the trustees and director develop an action plan to address the points raised in the Governance and Management section of this report and implement the desired changes. This should be submitted to ERO within one month of the confirmation of this report.

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 within three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

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; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

In addition, ERO decided to evaluate:

  • aspects of governance and management.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

The teachers have recently reviewed their shared philosophy. Their philosophy states that they strive to make the learning for children evident in what they do. They state that their planning is based on children’s interests and that teachers will build on these interests by providing meaningful and relevant experiences.

Areas of strength

Relationships. Teachers have developed very positive relationships with the children and their families. They show a genuine interest in them. They know the children well and there is a sense of fun in how they relate to them. Children have trusting relationships with their teachers. They can be confident that their needs will be quickly met. The teachers work well as a team. They share their ideas and support each other.

Well-being and belonging. The children show a strong sense of well-being and belonging. They settle quickly on arrival and are developing friendships with each other. They confidently approach their teachers. The teachers are very aware of the characteristics of toddlers and set appropriate boundaries. They explicitly model and talk about important social skills like turn taking and appropriate ways to resolve conflict. The teachers focus their time and energy on the children.

Children’s engagement. Children show good levels of interest and involvement in their learning and play. They happily play by themselves and in small groups for sustained periods of time. They are generally focused on and complete their activities, like puzzles or painting, before moving on. They benefit from frequent small-group and one-to-one time with their teachers. Teachers note and respond to children’s interests and leads and this helps sustain children’s involvement.

Variety of experiences and resources. Teachers deliberately plan, provide and resource a variety of interesting learning experiences. They bring in additional resources to provoke and extend children’s interests. Teachers have a focus on building a love of books with the children. They intentionally build children’s oral language. They include early mathematics concepts such as counting, ordering, sorting and classifying. They provide ongoing art projects, dramatic play and investigations linked to children’s interests. These were especially evident in the Blue Room.

Focus on learning. There is a focus on learning in group planning. Teachers notice and recognise children’s interests and then plan ways to build on these. Teachers think about the rationale and learning goals for each programme focus. These, and the likely learning for each, are displayed for teachers and parents. In some instances, teachers have discussed and recorded the strategies they plan to use to achieve the intended goals.

Reflective practice. The teachers reflect on their work with children and consider how they could improve what they do. Useful practices have been developed to help teachers do this. These include an expectation for weekly reflections, twice-a-term peer reviews on an aspect of teaching practice and snapshot peer feedback. ERO noted that there is no review of how well or often this is carried out by teachers.

Areas for development and review

Planning for individual and small-group learning. Centre guidelines say that teachers will, with parent input, plan learning pathways for each child. This does not happen. There are few records of discussions about children’s learning and the strategies that teachers might use to build on this. In the children’s profile books, it is hard to see the priorities for that child, the parents’ aspirations for their learning and how teachers plan to support the child’s next learning steps.

Self review. The team needs to develop a shared understanding of self review and then review aspects of their practice and programmes. ERO noted several areas that need to be reviewed. These include: mat time; transitions; meal times; and the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori. Effective self review would also enable teachers to identify best practices and to share these with the whole team.

Other Priorities: Governance and Management

Background

There have been many changes within the centre. These include extensive building developments, relicensing and roll increases. These changes have put increased demands on the director and have had an impact on governance and management practices.

Area of strength

The centre has detailed and useful procedures and guidelines. Staff retention is high and staff members speak positively about their work place and relationships with each other.

Areas for development and review

Governance and management. A number of aspects of governance and management have lapsed and need to be reinstated. Key points are that:

  • some important centre procedures and guidelines are not followed.
  • there is no strategic plan to give direction for the future of the centre.
  • there is no detail as to how the annual plan will be implemented, by who and when.
  • there is no system to report on how well the annual plan has been implemented.
  • there are no formal reports from the director to the management committee about centre operations.

Self review. Formal self-review practices need to be implemented. The centre is yet to carry out rigorous self review to identify what is going well, what is not, and what needs to change. The centre does not have effective systems to monitor centre expectations and staff performance.

Support for teachers. Teachers have not had sufficient professional support. There has been no advice and guidance support for most provisionally registered teachers. As a result, these teachers will not be able to register in the immediate future. Teachers, team leaders and the director were not appraised against their job descriptions and the Teacher’s Council professional standards in 2010. Staff meetings could have a greater focus on teaching and learning. The skills of the leadership team could be better developed and used in order to support the director.

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.

Partnerships with Whānau of Māori Children in Early Childhood Services

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

  • this service understands and values the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau, particularly when the child and whānau transition to the service
  • managers and educators have built relationships with whānau of Māori children
  • this service works in partnership with whānau of Māori children.

Background

There are 10 Māori children in this service .

Findings

Staff relate to Māori children and their families in the same way that they relate to other centre members. They are welcoming and friendly. However ,no special effort is made to find out about the strengths, cultural experiences, or interests that these children or their parents might have as Māori. Parents have not been asked about their aspirations for their child. In the centre’s annual plan, there is a commitment to improving the teachers’ knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori. Several teachers have enrolled in courses in these areas.

Area for development and review

Managers and teachers need to find out about the aspirations that Māori parents have for their children. They then need to show how they have responded to this. All children could have more frequent opportunities to hear and use te reo Māori and learn about aspects of Māori culture. Teachers have identified this as a priority.Strengthening partnerships.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Surrey Park Early Learning Centre - Intermediate completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement andSelf-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.

During the course of the review ERO identified several areas of non-compliance. Teachers and other staff were not appraised in 2010. Many of the provisionally-registered teachers were not allocated a tutor teacher or involved in an advice and guidance programme. In order to address these, centre managers must:

4.5. appraise teachers and other staff each year[Source: GMA7 - there is a system of regular appraisal]

4.6. provide provisionally-registered teachers with a suitable advice and guidance programme.[Source: GMA7 - provision of professional development]

5. Recommendations

ERO and the director agree that:

  1. the director and teachers address the areas for development and review in the Quality of Education section
  2. the trustees and director develop an action plan to address the points raised in the Governance and Management section and implement the desired changes. A copy of the action plan is to be sent to ERO.

6. 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 within three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

All Day

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Roll number

61

Gender composition

Boys 33

Girls 28

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 49

Māori 10

Cook Island 2

Review team on site

May 2011

Date of this report

12 July 2011

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review March 2007

Education Review May 2003

To the Parents and Community of Surrey Park Early Learning Centre - Intermediate

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Surrey Park Early Learning Centre - Intermediate .

Surrey Park Early Learning Centre – Intermediate, provides education and care for children aged approximately 20 months to three and a half years. It is one of three licences at the Surrey Park site. Children begin in the Infant Centre, then move into the Intermediate and finally into the Preschool Centre. A parent committee has overall responsibility. The three licenses are managed by an on-site director.

Children and teachers are based in two large areas that are separated by a shared playground. The areas are known as the Blue and Green Rooms and operate two separate programmes. However, at the beginning and end of each day, and during outside play, children and teachers mingle.

In the last year there has been ongoing work to upgrade the buildings and grounds. Two licences became three. These changes meant that many children and teachers have shifted during the year and teachers worked under challenging circumstances.

The focus of this review was the quality of education for children aged birth-to-five years. ERO reviewed the programme, the learning environment and the quality of the interactions to see how these contribute to children’s learning and development. In 2011, ERO is evaluating partnerships with Māori whānau in all reviews.

Children benefit from positive and trusting relationships with their teachers. The teachers place high importance on getting to know the children and their families well. The teachers have developed a shared philosophy and are reflective about their work with children and how they could improve what they do.

Children experience a good range of learning and play opportunities. They are well engaged in a centre programme that:

  • recognises their levels of development and promotes their independence
  • helps build confidence and respect for themselves and each other
  • provides many opportunities to build on their interests in meaningful ways
  • extends their early literacy and numeracy skills
  • builds on their oral language in one-to-one and small-group times
  • has an increasing focus on learning
  • is safe and healthy.

The teachers agreed that their records could more clearly show the priorities for individual and group learning. The teachers also need to develop an understanding of self review. They then need to implement an ongoing programme of self review so that they can better monitor the effectiveness of their work.

ERO found that the centre has useful and detailed policies and procedures to guide its practice. Many of these practices are not currently followed, and this has compromised the effectiveness of the overall management and governance of the centre. The centre has not in recent times undertaken self review, staff appraisal, strategic planning or ensured that provisionally registered teachers receive an advice and guidance programme. As the centre continues with its expansions and development plans, it is urgent that the trustees and director develop an action plan to address the points raised in the Governance and Management section of this report and implement the desired changes. This should be submitted to ERO within one month of the confirmation of this report.

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 within 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