Tokoroa Childcare Centre - 05/06/2015

1 Evaluation of Tokoroa Childcare Centre

How well placed is Tokoroa Childcare Centre 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

Tokoroa Childcare Centre is a community-based centre adjacent to Tokoroa High School. It is owned by a ‘not-for-profit’, incorporated society representing parents, staff and the community. The society has an annual election to appoint a management committee, including the service provider, to govern the centre. Some staff and society members have provided dedicated and longstanding contributions to sustain this service in the community. The centre is attractively presented and well maintained.

At the time of the ERO review there were 47 children on the roll including 11 children under two years of age. There are 19 children identified as Māori and eight children from Pacific nations. The centre exceeds Ministry of Education (MoE) expectations for qualified and registered teachers. Centre staffing has remained largely the same since the 2012 ERO review and reflects the cultural diversity of families and whānau.

The operations manager continues to provide effective administrative and financial management and oversees the day to day operation of the centre. The experienced senior head teacher has oversight of professional practice and centre programmes. Leadership structures have changed since August 2014.

The centre is organised into two separate, age-based rooms. A new facility for older children was opened in early 2014 in response to an identified need for the centre to retain older children and meet parent aspirations for their children to be well prepared for school. Children have many opportunities through the day to interact in mixed-age groups and with their siblings.

Since the 2012 ERO report the centre has made good progress in relation to the identified areas for development about enriching the learning environment and improving the programme for infants and toddlers. However, there continues to be a need to:

  • strengthen the performance management system to ensure consistency of leadership and teaching practices across the centre
  • make effective use of self review for the ongoing development and improvement of the curriculum.

The centre aims to provide a respectful and peaceful learning environment where children can experience success. Teachers value children as taonga of families and whānau.

ERO reviewed the centre during the school holidays when there were small numbers of children present.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy positive, respectful and reciprocal relationships with teachers and their peers. Teachers have established a safe and welcoming environment that is promoting children as confident learners. Infants and toddlers experience nurturing and responsive care from staff. Older children have opportunities to experience learning in a well-equipped, separate area for designated times of the day. Māori and Pacific children have their cultures affirmed and participate in a culturally responsive programme. Several teachers have personal knowledge about the language, culture and identity of many children in the centre. The service has a long-standing commitment to, and knowledge of, the local community and families/whānau.

ERO observed examples of good teaching practice. These included:

  • acknowledging children’s interests and engaging with them in play
  • promoting children’s social skills and fostering tuakana-teina relationships
  • use of positive guidance to support children to understand appropriate and considerate behaviour
  • acknowledging and sharing the languages, music and stories of diverse cultures
  • affirming and celebrating children’s successes.

Centre leaders need to strengthen the performance management system by:

  • clarifying the roles and responsibilities of centre leaders
  • developing agreed, shared and understood indicators of best practice for leadership and teaching
  • including further opportunities for staff to reflect on their practice
  • identifying specific, measureable indicators and goals for leaders and teachers, based on current theory and practice
  • monitoring progress towards these indicators and goals and providing ongoing feedback, both external and internal.

This should enable centre leaders to build teacher capability to improve outcomes for children and bring about consistent and reflective teaching practices amongst all teachers.

Infants, toddlers and older children have benefitted from the considerable improvements to the learning environment. Children have ready access to a wide range of high-quality materials and equipment. Appropriate physical challenge is provided through interactive and open-ended equipment and activities. This is promoting children’s ability to make choices, experiment, and explore alongside their friends and teachers. Vegetable gardens and native plantings give children opportunities to learn about the natural world and to grow, harvest and eat healthy food.

Children are familiar with centre routines and their independence is promoted through a flexible approach. Teachers plan trips and excursions into the local and wider community and enjoy regular celebrations and festivals with families. Transitions into and within the centre are well planned and conducted. There is a good process for supporting children to make successful transitions to school.

Parents are welcomed into the centre and invited to contribute to the learning partnership. They engage in frequent, informal conversations with teachers about the learning and care of their children. Children’s portfolios record aspects of their participation in the programme and identify the dispositions and interests teachers observe. Children are able to revisit and share their learning with teachers and families through attractively presented portfolios and up-to-date displays.

Centre leaders now need to make effective use of MoE guidelines, expectations and reflective questions when undertaking curriculum review. This should support them to set high expectations for teaching and learning and enable them to monitor the quality of programme planning and provision. Areas requiring review are:

  • the development of clear expectations for assessment, planning and evaluation of children’s learning and development, including quality assurance of individual portfolios
  • the provision of formal opportunities for families to share their aspirations for their children’s learning journey with teachers
  • the use of technology as an age-appropriate, high-quality learning experience in the early childhood setting.

The operations manager and senior head teacher work in a collegial, professional partnership as a senior leadership team. They are good role models for the principles and values important to the centre and its community. Centre leaders value staff, parent and community input, and seek to make good use of available strengths and expertise to benefit children. Regular and relevant professional development is provided for staff. Recent professional learning is related to leadership, enhancing programmes for infants and toddlers, and the use of computer technology in early childhood education.

An important next step is to develop a clear purpose statement for each age-based area. This should provide an agreed reference point for teaching practice and self-review processes.

The service provider is the key link between the management committee and centre leaders. She maintains positive and constructive relationships with all stakeholders. The management committee receive regular reports from centre leaders, and use this information to guide governance decisions, including the allocation of resources, appointment of staff, and the approval of strategic planning priorities. The management committee and centre leaders are focused on providing positive outcomes for children and their families.

Management now need to strengthen strategic planning and align it to the centre philosophy, operations, reports to management and MoE requirements. Consideration should be given to including the outcomes of strategic planning and identifying next steps for development.

The centre maintains positive relationships with local schools and other community groups. Professional partnerships with specialist agencies have been established that promote positive outcomes for children and their families. Teachers work collaboratively with families to build on the strengths and capabilities of children with identified special needs. The service provides regular and comprehensive information for parents about centre operations and events. Matters of privacy and confidentiality are well managed and understood.

Key Next Steps

Important next steps for improvement are to review and strengthen:

  • self review
  • strategic planning and align strategic goals with the centre philosophy and centre operations
  • the performance management process
  • programme planning and assessment
  • parent partnership in the learning process.

In addition, there would be benefit in developing clear purpose statements for each age-based area and the use of technology with children up to two years of age.

Recommendations

ERO recommends that:

  • the appraisal system is strengthened by developing shared and agreed expectations for teachers based on best practice in early childhood education, and provide regular and robust feedback to teachers based on these expectations
  • the service seek assistance from the Ministry of Education to provide support for the professional leadership of the senior head teacher and to address the next steps identified in the report.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tokoroa Childcare Centre 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 Tokoroa Childcare Centre will be in three years

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

5 June 2015

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

Tokoroa

Ministry of Education profile number

34068

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

44 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll

47

Gender composition

Boys 24 Girls 23

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Cook Island Māori

African

Fijian

Samoan

South East Asian

Other European

19

14

6

1

1

1

1

4

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:6

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

5 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2012

 

Supplementary Review

December 2008

 

Education Review

November 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.