Wellsford Kindergarten - 10/04/2017

1 Evaluation of Wellsford Kindergarten

How well placed is Wellsford 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

Wellsford Kindergarten is licensed to provide education and care for up to 30 children aged over two years. Families have the option of enrolling their children for morning or afternoon sessions, or for a full kindergarten day that is similar to school hours. At the time of the review, kindergarten children are largely of Pākehā or Māori descent.

Three qualified teachers make up the permanent teaching team. They are supported by one other qualified teacher and two unqualified teaching assistants who provide extra cover at times during each week. Staffing is now stable following the return of two teachers from extended periods of leave.

The kindergarten's teaching philosophy strongly emphasises the importance of building relationships with children and their whānau. Teachers aim to empower children and foster a sense of curiosity through the provision of an interactive environment that encourages exploration. They are committed to promoting the bicultural uniqueness of Aotearoa through the kindergarten programme and operations.

The 2014 ERO report acknowledged the children's sense of wellbeing and the respectful, friendly relationships between teachers, children and families. The environment was seen to be inclusive, attractive and providing appropriate challenge for children. Teachers' reflective practice was driving ongoing improvements. These areas of good performance have been sustained.

The 2014 ERO report suggested teachers continue to refine programme planning, self-review processes and bicultural practices. There have been good developments in these areas.

The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework and support personnel, in a range of different roles.

This review was part of a cluster of nine kindergarten reviews in the Auckland Kindergarten Association.

Wellsford Kindergarten is part of the Twin Coast Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL).

The Review Findings

Children have a sense of ownership and belonging in the kindergarten environment. They are well supported to develop the skills necessary to successfully initiate and maintain positive relationships with each other and with adults. Friendships amongst children are evident.

Children confidently engage in conversations with teachers and each other. Their language development is promoted by teachers who provide good opportunities for children to chat, and to ask and respond to questions that extend their thinking.

Te reo Māori is well used and understood by teachers. It is an integral part of the life of the kindergarten. Teachers provide good prompts for children to communicate in more than one language, in meaningful situations. Their knowledge of bicultural Aotearoa is shared with children and families through everyday operations and in special celebrations.

Children are encouraged to be independent and to take on leadership roles. There are good opportunities for older children to assist younger children and lead them in their learning. Currently children are able to attend the kindergarten soon after their second birthdays and many have siblings who also attend. Children celebrate their own learning successes and those of others.

Teachers work well with families, some of whom have a long association with the kindergarten. Parents who spoke with ERO shared that they are warmly welcomed into the kindergarten environment and feel valued. Teachers gather and respond to parent aspirations for their children's learning. They are investigating ways to strengthen home-kindergarten partnerships, so that parents and whānau can become more deeply involved in their children's learning.

Teachers plan learning programmes based on children's interests and strengths. They provide an environment that allows plenty of room for children to be physically active, to explore and be creative. Portfolios of learning show a holistic picture of the child in the kindergarten, and in the wider world. Some have numerous entries from families. The cultural backgrounds of families are valued and celebrated.

The head teacher provides strong leadership, which is building and supporting professional practice. Stability in staffing will help the new team to develop shared understandings that will inform the review of their teaching philosophy. Sound processes of internal evaluation are resulting in positive outcomes for children.

Kindergarten operations are guided by a comprehensive strategic plan and a shared vision, linked to the AKA’s strategic goals. A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) also aligns with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. It enables the AKA and teachers to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement. The AKA continues to review its management and leadership structure. It has begun a process of internal evaluation to establish how effectively the four pillars of its strategic plan are resulting in more positive outcomes for children, their families, and the organisation. 

Key Next Steps

Teachers agree that, to enhance their current good quality provision for children, they should:

  • continue to refine and develop internal evaluation by critiquing their own practice and using ongoing and intentional reflective processes

  • reflect on and record the teachers' role in bringing complexity to children's thinking throughout programme planning documentation

  • review the outdoor environment and resourcing to provide opportunities for children to ensure they become fully involved in a wide range of activities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wellsford 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.

In order to eliminate trip hazards, the paving along the outside of the building should be repaired and levelled. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Wellsford Kindergarten will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

10 April 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

Wellsford, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5020

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, over 2 years of age

Service roll

34

Gender composition

Girls 19 Boys 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

other

10

22

2

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

10 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

January 2011

Education Review

January 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.