Te Atatu South Kindergarten - 28/02/2014

1 Evaluation of Te Atatu South Kindergarten

How well placed is Te Atatu South 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

Te Atatu South Kindergarten is a well-established service that provides education and care for children over two years old. The kindergarten has operated the kindergarten day model (KDM) for several years. This enables most children to attend sessions that match school hours while some attend for mornings only. The centre is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) and operates within the policies and management framework of this organisation. A professional services manager (PSM) visits regularly and provides management and curriculum support for teachers.

There have been several changes in the teaching team and the learning environment. Currently the head teacher and one other teacher are in relieving positions and will not remain in the kindergarten in 2014. During 2013 there has been a major refurbishment of the premises and consequently some disruption to play areas and programmes. Teachers worked positively with children and the community during this period to minimise the impact of change, and focused on fostering a culture of care and respect for each other. The teachers, who are all registered, work as a collaborative team and have developed very good relationships with their multicultural community.

In 2010 ERO identified many positive features of the service. Caring relationships and a child-centred curriculum were supporting children to become confident, self-managing learners. Teachers had strong partnerships with families and were developing children's assessment portfolios. At that time teachers identified the need to involve children more in planning ways to extend their interests. Planning, evaluation and assessment practices have continued to evolve with changes in the teaching team. Teachers have used self-review processes well to sustain and improve established good practices.

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

The Review Findings

Children are confident, articulate learners. They competently settle themselves in play areas and make deliberate choices about resources they need. Many persist at activities for prolonged periods, problem solving and experimenting with new ideas as challenges arise. Children are friendly and caring towards their peers, often working cooperatively in culturally mixed groups showing tuakana/teina support for each other. They benefit from planned opportunities for group games and active movement. In this focused, calm setting children use early literacy skills for real purposes, explore information and communication technology and are becoming familiar with New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Teachers skilfully engage children in play that prompts them to collaborate and investigate ideas. They use open questions well to facilitate reciprocal conversations and challenge children's thinking. Teachers encourage children to take learning risks and set their own goals while they reinforce care for the environment and sustainable practices. Teachers are committed to recognising the special interests of Māori and Pacific children. They ensure the environment reflects the languages and values of these and other cultures. Teachers are beginning to establish Māori concepts to underpin learning and are organising a kaumatua to provide guidance for tikanga and te reo in the kindergarten.

Teachers are reflective practitioners who are responsive to children's interests. Their planning is focused on individual children and they frequently discuss strategies for extending learning. Teachers recognise that they could make their plans more dynamic and visible to families by actively using plans in the playroom. They are currently consulting families as part of an in-depth review of their assessment practices. Teachers have established an effective process for evaluating children's learning journey as part of their transition to school procedure. The evaluation enables teachers to follow through on parents’ aspirations and children's goals as well provide schools with a meaningful summary of the child’s capabilities.

Parents are encouraged to be partners in their child’s learning. Teachers provide many opportunities for families to participate in the programme, contribute to reviews and be aware of their child’s progress. Parents appreciate that teachers listen to their aspirations and respond to their child’s strengths. They are pleased with the new indoor environment and look forward to the imminent outdoor improvements.

The kindergarten is well managed. Despite being new to the role, the acting head teacher has led the kindergarten effectively. While she has been supported by Association systems, her skilful distribution of leadership roles, reflective practice and positive attitude has enabled the kindergarten to function efficiently during a disruptive year. The team has used its teaching philosophy, annual goals and appraisal process well to guide their practices and contribute to the association’s strategic goals. Feedback and discussion with their PSM prompts ongoing improvement and encourages teachers’ critically reflective practice.

The Auckland Kindergarten Association continues to provide strong governance for kindergartens. The recent establishment of nine focus groups provides a forum for head teachers to extend their leadership skills and contribute to the ongoing development of the Association. Strengthening self review in kindergartens remains a focus for PSMs with workshops planned to involve whole teaching teams. AKA leaders agree to explore the current appraisal process to make links between teacher reflections and positive outcomes for children more transparent.

Key Next Steps

The teachers, the PSM and ERO agree that key next steps for teachers in 2014 should include:

  • continuing the development of planning processes to more clearly document strategies for learning extension and to provide measurable goals for evaluation
  • using the ongoing review of assessment portfolios to strengthen the focus of learning stories on children's individual learning and their self-chosen goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Te Atatu South 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 Te Atatu South Kindergarten will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

28 February 2014

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 Atatu South, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5109

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

48

Gender composition

Boys 25 Girls 23

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Chinese

African

Indian

Tongan

other

5

18

5

3

2

2

2

11

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

November 2013

Date of this report

28 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2010

 

Education Review

November 2006

 

Education Review

October 2003

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.