Wellington City Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten - 15/11/2018

1 Evaluation of Wellington City Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten

How well placed is Wellington City Rudolf Steiner 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

Wellington City Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten is a not-for-profit, community-based, early learning service, located in Thorndon, Wellington. It is licensed to provide education and care for 22 children aged over two years. The centre caters for a diverse ethnic community.

A trust board made up of parents of enrolled children and members of the community with particular expertise provides governance for the service. The head teacher manages day-to-day operation and reports to the board. All teachers are registered. Two are long term employees, qualified in Steiner Education.

The kindergarten programme integrates Rudolf Steiner educational philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Values underpinning teaching and learning highlight the importance of bicultural partnership, play as a vehicle for learning, care of the natural environment and the development of reciprocal relationships with families. Daily and seasonal rhythms support implementation of the programme.

The October 2015 ERO report identified priorities for improvement that included: developing the bicultural programme; strengthening assessment, planning and evaluation; and improving self review. Trustees and teachers have worked collaboratively to address these aspects of practice.

The Review Findings

Organisation of the learning environment has been carefully considered to support the Steiner approach. A suitable range of natural and open-ended play materials support children’s play and creativity. The outdoor space provides opportunities for them to learn about the natural environment and be involved in physically challenging experiences. Regular excursions into the local community extend learning opportunities for children.

Teachers are caring and respectful in their interactions with children, working together to implement the daily programme. While sustained play was evident, teachers should consider further developing their strategies to support children's perseverance in purposeful play.

Children’s transitions into, through and out of the kindergarten and to school are well supported. A playgroup at the centre provides an introduction for parents to the Steiner philosophy and encourages children’s familiarity with the environment. A well-developed relationship with the local Steiner school is in place. Staff document summaries of children’s learning and encourage parents to share these with new entrant teachers.

A comprehensive approach to planning the programme is in place that is strongly driven by the valued learning outcomes identified in the philosophy. Individual children’s success in meeting these outcomes is regularly discussed by teachers, and documented and shared with families. The development of strong partnerships with parents is prioritised to support decisions about children’s learning. Their aspirations are valued and form the basis of long term goals. Teachers are continuing to develop their approach, including the authentic integration of te ao Māori. The head teacher agrees, next development steps are to:

  • use the team’s recent learning about the revised Te Whāriki curriculum to redefine success indicators and valued outcomes

  • evaluate the curriculum and assessment process against these indicators and outcomes

  • increase the emphasis on each child's progress in relation to their goals, emerging interests and learning needs.

These steps should sharpen the focus of teachers' approach to assessment, planning and evaluation, and improve its manageability.

Appropriate provision is in place for children with additional learning needs. Teachers allocate time for one-to-one interactions with individuals requiring specific interventions. External agency support is sought as required.

Teachers are highly committed to their roles in the service and the Steiner philosophy. They are well supported by a useful appraisal process, generous provision for non-contact time and a range of professional learning opportunities. A more distributed approach to division of day-to-day roles and responsibilities in the centre should better support sustainability of practices and operation.

The head teacher provides strong leadership for the implementation of review to support improvement. This is a continuous process that incorporates regular reflection on outcomes for children. To strengthen the approach, further consideration should be given to:

  • the implementation of a more evaluative process, supported by defined indicators of success

  • developing shared understanding and leadership of the process.

Strong governance supports service operation. A group of highly committed parents and others work cohesively with the head teacher to ensure accountabilities are met and plans put in place to address future requirements. Trustees receive comprehensive information about teaching, learning and daily happenings to inform their decision making. A good range of guidelines is in place to support consistent understanding of centre and legislative requirements.

Key Next Steps

ERO and kindergarten teachers agree that their priority next steps are to:

  • continue to develop teachers' authentic integration of te ao Māori

  • sharpen the focus when planning for learning

  • continue to strengthen strategies to support children's growth in social capability and perseverance in purposeful play

  • develop a shared understanding and use of internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wellington City Rudolf Steiner 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to Health and Safety. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • hazards to the safety of children are eliminated, isolated or minimised

  • the design and layout of the premises support effective adult supervision so that the children’s access to the licensed space is not unnecessarily limited.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS 12, PF2 ]

Since the onsite phase of the review the head teacher has provided a plan that outlines how the issues in relation to health and safety have been responded to.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Wellington City Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten will be within two years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

15 November 2018

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

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

60357

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

22 children aged over two years

Service roll

19

Gender composition

Girls 12, Boys 7

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

1
11
7

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

15 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

February 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.