Victoria Early Learning Centre - 16/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Victoria Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Victoria Early Learning 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

Victoria Early Learning Centre is a community based early childhood centre located in central Gisborne. It is governed by an elected group of parents and has recently changed its name to better reflect its focus on learning.

The centre caters for children aged from birth up to school age and is licensed for 50 children, including 10 up to two years of age. Currently there are 63 children on the roll, including 22 who identify as Māori.

A number of developments have taken place since ERO’s February 2013 review. Improving the physical environment and an extension of the infants and toddlers room to better provide for very young children has been a key focus. The outdoor environment has undergone significant development to enable all children to share a stimulating, challenging and carefully planned area.

A staffing restructure, 10 hours free childcare over and above the 20 Hours ECE, electronic portfolios and the provision of kai on Fridays have been introduced to improve provision of early childhood education. Three teaching teams provide specific care for infants and toddlers (the kea room), toddlers (pukeko room) and young children preparing for school (the kiwi room).

The Review Findings

Teaching practice and curriculum provision is closely aligned to the centre philosophy which recognises the importance of parent and whānau involvement and child initiated play. It emphasises the value of fostering children’s sense of belonging in an environment where their contributions are valued and acknowledged. As a result:

  • respectful, collaborative practices promote a calm, nurturing atmosphere where children, parents and whānau feel welcome and valued and have a sense of belonging
  • the centre curriculum provides a wide range of opportunities for positive learning outcomes for young children
  • children’s learning is effectively extended through discussions, activities and problem-solving tasks.

The spacious, well planned and resourced physical environment enables children to learn through independent or group play. They interact positively and enjoy the many social interactions and conversations with teachers. They appear confident, happy and articulate.

Literacy and numeracy are integrated into the curriculum through play. Children in the kiwi room have some focused time as part of a suitably developed transition to school programme. Transition between rooms is well managed.

Children’s individual learning programmes successfully build on their interests and day-to-day experiences. Parents are encouraged to provide information about children’s preferences at home and in family activities. Teachers use this material, including the child voice, by incorporating it in planning for each child. They know children well and are responsive to children’s interests and needs.

Teachers record children’s progress and learning in well-presented portfolios and displays. Children revisit their portfolios that contain interesting photographs and stories of their participation in the programme. Recently introduced e-portfolios, and centre newsletters provide parents with good information about their children’s engagement in the curriculum.

The centre effectively provides for Māori learners and promotes their culture. Regular practices, including waiata, kapa haka, pepeha, karakia and the use of te reo Māori, acknowledge the dual cultural heritage of Aotearoa. Children access a range of resources which promote Māori language and contexts. Teachers continue to participate in professional learning and development to support and build their practice.

The extension of the kea room better provides for the safety, physical and emotional wellbeing, intellectual stimulation and social support of very young children. There is a calm atmosphere and the infants show high levels of engagement in their selected activities. There are many opportunities for mixed age play.

The committee and the senior teacher are in the process of reviewing policies and procedures to strengthen governance and management. The current documented procedures do not provide adequate guidance and expectations for high quality practice. Many are outdated, not consistent with current legislation and do not match the good quality practices occurring in the centre. As a result, there is a risk that good centre practices will not be sustained should there be changes to staff.

A priority for improvement is the teacher appraisal process. The current process is not robust and does not meet the Education Council’s expectations.

Self review practices are in the early stages of development. Teachers regularly reflect on their practice and this has resulted in positive changes or affirmation of approaches. Once the good practice procedures and expectations have been documented, these will provide information for teachers to more formally measure and evaluate how well their practices improve outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

During the review, ERO and centre personnel agreed that the priorities for review and development in the centre are to:

  • update policies and procedures to provide clear and explicit practice guidelines, including confirming and implementing the draft procedures that provide clearer guidelines covering the expectations documented in the Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014
  • improve the teachers' appraisal process
  • further develop self-review processes so that managers and staff can systematically and rigorously evaluate programmes, practices and operations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Victoria Early Learning 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 Victoria Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

16 March 2016

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

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

55008

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

63

Gender composition

34 Boys, 29 Girls

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

22

38

3

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:6

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

16 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

 

Supplementary Review

December 2009

 

Education Review

June 2008

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.