Sylvia Park Kindergarten - 27/11/2012

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Mt Wellington Kindergarten is in a good position to promote positive outcomes for children.

Context

Mt Wellington Kindergarten in Mt Wellington, Auckland, is a well established centre that operates as part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association. It is a multicultural centre situated next to a primary school. The kindergarten runs two mixed-age sessions, and caters for 88 children from the age of two years. The Association provides a policy framework and good quality professional guidance for teachers. An administrator, teacher aide, and a parent support group assist teachers to facilitate the smooth operation the kindergarten.

Maintaining the number of children enrolled continues to be a challenge for the kindergarten as families come and go. Often children do not complete their kindergarten experience in the Mt Wellington centre, since families do not settle permanently in the area.

Teachers and Association managers plan to consult with parents, whānau, aiga and the local community about possible changes to the kindergarten’s licence from a sessional to a full day licence. Some of the benefits of this change should include a more stable roll and the appointment of another staff member.

The centre’s philosophy clearly outlines the intentions of the kindergarten to provide a safe, culturally sensitive and inclusive environment that is challenging, flexible and meets the needs of individual children. The 2009 ERO report identified these features as strengths of the kindergarten, and this review affirms that they continue to be so.

This review was conducted as part of a cluster approach to reviews in five early childhood education services within the Auckland Kindergarten Association umbrella organisation.

The Review Findings

Children play well together and are engaged in their learning. They spend sustained periods of time with adults and persist in completing projects related to their interests. The programme reflects the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand and the ethnic diversity of the children further enriches the programme. Children, parents and teachers learn about and celebrate others' cultures, as well as their own. The kindergarten has also committed to seeking guidance from a Māori kaumatua/ elder to promote ongoing development of a bicultural curriculum.

Children are independent learners and make choices about their play. They have a good sense of ownership in the kindergarten and of the programme. The environment is designed so that children can develop and extend their imaginative play and create their own learning experiences. The recent upgrade of the outdoor environment has made a positive difference to how this space is used by children. The well defined areas of play support children to explore the indoor and outdoor areas with confidence.

Teachers value and acknowledge their partnerships with families. Parents appreciate the atmosphere in the centre. The positive relationships teachers have with families are evident and support; children’s learning and their sense of belonging, and parents’ contribution to the programme.

The professional services manager (PSM) provides good liaison between the kindergarten and the Association. The PSM’s regular visits and teaching reports raises teachers’ awareness of Association services, documentations, and expectations. The Association leaders agree they should continue to help teachers to use their long-term planning to develop more strategic approaches to self review.

Managers and teachers recognise that self-review is an integral part of their practice. To support better learning outcomes children, they have identified the need to strengthen their documentation, and improve teaching practice and programme implementation. Further considerations to enhance current practices could include:

  • encouraging greater contribution from parents/whānau
  • documenting more specific and deliberate planning that responds to individual children’s emerging interests and ideas
  • strengthening the use of self review to identify priorities for improving the programme and professional practices
  • increasing the use of te reo Māori in the programme
  • continuing to develop assessment, planning and evaluation processes.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Mt Wellington 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Makere Smith,

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting),

27 November 2012

Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Mt Wellington, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5077

Licence type

Sessional Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

44 children, including up to 0 aged under 2 years

Service roll

88

Gender composition

Girls 47

Boys 41

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Tongan

Indian

Samoan

Cook Island

Filipino

Niuean

Cambodian

Fijian Indian

Other

16

11

16

10

7

4

4

2

2

2

14

Review team on site

September 2012

Date of this report

27 November 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2009

December 2006

February 2004

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.