Waiuku Childcare Centre - 05/11/2012

1 Evaluation of the Service

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

The centre is well placed to promote children’s wellbeing. Building teachers’ shared understandings about effective curriculum practices will increase their capacity to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Context

Waiuku Childcare Centre is a community owned centre located in the grounds of Waiuku College, operated by an incorporated society. The governance committee has oversight of, and ultimate responsibility for, centre operations and comprises parents and grandparents of children attending. The longstanding manager and stable staff of well qualified teachers provide programmes for up to 33 children up to five years of age. Relationships amongst whānau, children and staff, and feedback from parents, indicate a sense of belonging and community in the centre.

Since ERO’s 2009 review, the centre has improved children’s access to the outdoors, upgraded furnishings and resurfaced the bike track. Staff have participated in professional development programmes to support their programme management, self review and strategies for promoting children’s social competence. The manager and staff have also taken steps to address health and safety matters identified by ERO in 2009.

ERO’s 2009 review identified the need to develop effective planning and teaching strategies and to provide resources that would extend children’s learning. ERO recommended that teachers reduce the extent to which they directed children’s play and increase their focus on fostering child-centred learning and the acquisition of positive dispositions to learning. Self review needed to be strengthened and governance practices needed to be refined. These continue to be areas for further development.

The Review Findings

Children are comfortable and relaxed in the centre and familiar with daily routines. They are supported as they play and explore the variety of activities available, both inside and in the interesting outdoor area. Small group snack times in the dining area and conversations that show teachers’ easy relationships with children contribute to a family atmosphere.

Children up to two years of age spend part of the day in a dedicated space, separate from older children. They also have good opportunities to join their older children in the main play area and in the outdoors. Tuakana/teina relationships are evident as older children play with younger children. Teachers are keen to extend this integration to take advantage of the mixed-age setting.

The manager and teachers make commendable efforts to recognise and celebrate the dual cultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. They include te reo Māori briefly but consistently in their interactions with children and could also encourage children to use te reo. Teachers have appreciated opportunities to extend their understanding about te ao Māori through links with a local centre and the college kapa haka.

Whānau have good opportunities to contribute to the centre, through the committee and regular events. They receive useful information through newsletters, their children’s assessment portfolios, and display boards in the centre, and are encouraged to share their ideas.

The centre’s philosophy is clearly articulated and, together with regular in-centre professional development, provides a good basis for teachers to review programmes. Self review is becoming an established part of centre practice. Policies have been reviewed and are now more clearly differentiated from procedures.

Regular committee, management and staff meetings provide opportunities for self review and planning. Strategic and annual plans provide a guide for centre operations and the manager’s reports keep the committee well informed. These reports and ongoing self review could now be more closely linked to a strategic plan developed by the committee and to the 2008 licensing criteria for early childhood centres.

Building teachers’ knowledge about best practice in early childhood education should support them to critique their practice, increase the depth of their self review and help them to enrich programmes for children. Robust self review could help teachers to consider the extent to which the centre’s philosophy is evident in their practice.

To foster more complex child-initiated play and more purposeful engagement in learning, the manager and staff should now:

  • increase opportunities for children to make decisions about their play, access to resources, and programme plans
  • identify and document clear expectations for interactions with children, to promote more consistent good quality practices
  • continue to develop assessment, planning and evaluation practices to show more clearly how individual children’s strengths and interests are used to inform teaching strategies and programme development
  • increase collective staff ownership and evaluation of teaching practices, programme quality and overall provision for children, and
  • review staffing rosters to improve continuity of care and programming practices for the infant and toddler programme.

Recommendation

ERO recommends that, in order to be well prepared for the Ministry of Education relicensing, the committee and staff review all aspects of centre operations against the 2008 early childhood education licensing criteria and regulations.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Waiuku 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:

  • 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.

Violet Tu'uga Stevenson

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

5 November 2012

Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Waiuku

Ministry of Education profile number

25083

Licence type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

33 children, including up to 8 aged under 2 years

Service roll

49

Gender composition

Boys 32

Girls 17

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Fijian

43

5

1

Review team on site

October 2012

Date of this report

5 November 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

September 2006

September 2003

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.