TopKids Somerset Street - 14/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Topkids Somerset Street

How well placed is Topkids Somerset Street 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

TopKids Somerset Street is located in the Hamilton suburb of Frankton and operates under the umbrella of BestStart Educare Ltd. The centre is licensed for 75 children including 25 who are up to two years old. At the time of this ERO review there were 89 children on the roll, of whom 41 identified as Māori. Children play and learn in four age-based play areas. All areas offer free-flow indoor and outdoor play as well as opportunities for children to visit other areas when they wish to do so.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been a number of staff changes. The centre manager was appointed to her position in 2015. Many positive practices identified in the 2013 ERO report have been maintained and there has been a strong focus on addressing identified development areas. Teachers have engaged in a range of internal and external professional development opportunities to improve teaching, assessment and bicultural practices. They have also increased their knowledge and understanding of teaching children with diverse special needs. Significant building extensions and improvements have resulted in more staff being employed to teach and care for higher numbers of children attending the centre.

Teachers have recently reviewed the centre's philosophy, which focuses on establishing a shared leadership approach, and providing an environment that represents a 'home away from home'. There is an emphasis on continually reflecting the aspirations of parents and whānau in the centre programme and celebrating diversity. The centre's home-like environments, welcoming, family-like culture and whanaungatanga practices reflect these values and beliefs.

TopKids Somerset Street is one of over 200 education and care services operated throughout New Zealand under the umbrella of BestStart Educare Limited (BestStart), formerly known as Kidicorp (NZ) Ltd. BestStart provides strategic direction and support for the centre in establishing leadership, management and teaching practices that respect Te Tiriti o Waitangi and reflect the goals and principles of Te Whāriki, early childhood education curriculum.

BestStart employs business managers and professional service managers to monitor compliance with regulatory requirements and establish and monitor best early childhood education practices at each centre. BestStart has a strong emphasis on employing qualified and professionally capable teachers and providing professional development opportunities to grow their teaching and leadership skills.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from high quality, respectful learning and care interactions in all areas of the centre. Teachers readily tune in to children's play, developing their language skills and sustaining engagement in their activities of choice. Conversations include problem solving and extending children’s interests. Te reo Māori, including waiata, poi and kapa haka, is increasingly integrated into routines and discussions. Teachers have a responsive approach to routines and respect children’s individual preferences. Children play and learn in calm, settled play areas. They are confident and competent learners.

Teachers plan collaboratively to extend children’s recognised interests. They effectively use every-day contexts such as gardening and shopping to ensure that learning is meaningful and enjoyable. Opportunities to develop literacy, mathematics, science, music and creative skills are woven into the programme. Well considered, home-like wall displays celebrate children’s families and achievements and make learning visible to children, parents and teachers. 'Be school ready' displays demonstrate visibly the key competencies of the national school curriculum encouraged for each early childhood age-group. Transitions into the centre, to school, and between age-based play areas, are sensitively managed according to the needs of individual children and families.

High quality learning environments are thoughtfully considered and attractively presented. Similar décor in each room demonstrates a high level of consistency in reflecting the centre’s philosophy to be a 'home away from home'. Well-chosen resources, including natural materials, are readily accessible at child level in all play areas. Each indoor area has carefully selected age-appropriate, home-like furniture. The shared outdoor areas maximise opportunities for physical challenge, social play and exploration of the living world. Indoor and outdoor play areas are educationally stimulating and welcoming for children and parents.

Education and care for infants and toddlers is warm and nurturing. This reflects the centre’s emphasis on calmness, enjoyment and exploration along with its recognition of the importance of attachment between adults and very young children. A high teacher-to-child ratio and a full-time teaching team contribute to consistent care. Children’s individual needs, rhythms and routines are respected and responded to with sensitivity. Teachers understand children's verbal and non-verbal communication cues, and model oral language to encourage early literacy development. Parents have daily opportunities to discuss matters relating to their children. Infants and toddlers have tuakana-teina interactions with siblings and older children according to their preferences. They have many opportunities to become capable, confident communicators and explorers.

Attractive individual profiles record detailed assessments of children’s learning that increasingly demonstrate progress over time. Profile entries are also shared digitally with parents. This enhances the seamlessness of the home-centre partnership by enabling parents and whānau to immediately comment on children’s new learning and development. Teachers and parents regularly evaluate children’s learning and progress. Te reo Māori is integrated in some assessment narratives. Well-monitored, centre-wide expectations for assessment, planning and evaluation ensure equity of attention to children’s learning. Children can revisit their learning because of easy access to their profiles.

The centre manager has established a collaborative leadership culture where teachers are empowered to use their strengths and engage in professional discussions that challenge their thinking and assumptions. This is resulting in consistent practices across the centre. Leaders demonstrate high levels of professional knowledge. They are critically reflective and open to constructive feedback. The centre's shared vision, philosophy and strategic plan are developed and implemented in consultation with parents and staff. Self-review processes follow BestStart guidelines and result in continuous improvement in outcomes for children.

BestStart provides strong direction and guidance for centre leaders and staff. BestStart personnel have undertaken a long-term review of teacher appraisal, which is enabling them to respond to the expectations of the Education Council, and increase the depth of teachers’ reflections about their practice. BestStart emphasises the importance of identifying priority learners, and has made teaching as inquiry a requirement for all staff. It uses regular surveys to receive feedback about systems and professional support. The business manager and professional services manager give helpful advice through formal and informal reviews of this centre. They effectively communicate and model commitment to developing and sustaining high quality practices.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders now need to ensure that assessment records acknowledge and reflect the cultural background and identity of children and families. These records should more consistently show the increasing complexity of children's learning, and record children's comments about their own learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Topkids Somerset Street 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 Topkids Somerset Street will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

14 March 2017 

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

Frankton, Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

30148

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

89

Gender composition

Girls 53 Boys 36

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Indian

Other

41

36

6

4

2

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

14 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Supplementary Review

November 2013

Education Review

November 2012

Education Review

September 2009

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.