West End Kindergarten - 15/10/2012

1 Evaluation of the Service

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

West End Kindergarten is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children. The high level of commitment and professionalism shown by teachers in promoting children’s engagement in learning, together with the effective support of the Ruahine Kindergarten Association, positions it well.

Context

The kindergarten runs mixed-age sessions for children from three to five years of age. It is licensed under the 2008 Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations.

Teachers have worked together for a number of years. Since the May 2009 ERO report the head teacher has stepped down and an existing team member has taken over the leadership role.

An association scholarship has enabled teachers to undertake research into children’s resilience as learners. Findings are now being implemented into the programme.

The kindergarten philosophy outlines aims of fostering positive mind sets and learning dispositions and belief in children as competent directors of their own learning. Teachers’ vision is of a community of learners where everyone constructs understandings together.

This review was conducted as part of a cluster approach to reviews in 25 early childhood education services within the Ruahine Kindergarten Association umbrella organisation.

The Review Findings

The learning programme strongly reflects the ideas and values expressed in the centre philosophy and the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers have created a warm and welcoming environment rich in experiences and challenges. Children are encouraged and well supported to lead their learning, explore ideas and build understandings. Cooperative and collaborative play is promoted. Curiosity and creativity are fostered. The diversity of the community is celebrated.

A focus on improving children’s engagement in learning is highly evident. Teachers successfully use strategies that promote interest, perseverance and resilience. Children are encouraged to seek help from, and provide support for their peers. Many are resourceful, self managing and confident learners.

Aspects of literacy and mathematical learning are well integrated into the programme through play and the everyday things children do. Teachers support new learning in meaningful and social contexts.

Good progress has been made in supporting children and their families’ transition to primary school.

Teachers agree their next steps are continuing to refine their understanding of school readiness and transition to better support parents’ understanding and improved planning at kindergarten level.

Teachers genuinely acknowledge and seek to foster children’s bicultural heritage. They have made some useful links with whānau and iwi to support their approach.

Ongoing support for implementation of bicultural curriculum has been sought by the association. The association’s professional services manager (PSM) who supports this kindergarten and teachers agree that this is a priority for development.

Planning for learning is appropriately based on children’s emerging interests and dispositions. Portfolios and wall displays celebrate children’s learning over time and provide opportunities for everyone to reflect on achievements and events.

Teachers are working on strengthening and embedding the focus on resilience in the curriculum. They agree that the identification of quality indicators should support review and further development of their approach.

Teachers are working purposefully to achieve their vision of a community of learners. Parents’ and whānau ideas and input are encouraged and valued. They are supported to articulate the aspirations they have for their children's learning and to contribute to portfolios. Teachers plan to more formally respond to these aspirations as part of the planning and assessment processes. The high level of engagement and collaboration with families supports teachers to better understand children’s needs.

Computer technology is used effectively by teachers to support improved communication and collaboration around children’s learning. Evaluation is comprehensive and records team decisions about strategies for strengthening learning and interests.

Further consideration could also be given to reflecting on a wider range of teaching and learning elements as part of evaluation processes.

Teachers are a strong team. They are highly reflective and committed to using current theory and research to support ongoing improvement to their practice. Involvement in their own research project has enabled them to develop shared understandings and a more strategic teaching approach in the way they communicate and support learners.

Self review is valued as a tool to promote improvement to practice. Teachers have adopted a sound framework to support their developing approach.

PSMs and teachers agree that they need to improve their understanding of self review particularly in relation to its use in sustaining and improving the quality of service provision.

The association provides strong support for teaching, learning and leadership. Support from the PSM is responsive, well defined and suitably focused on positive outcomes for children. Policy guidelines clearly outline association expectations for developing the programme and managing dayto-day operation.

The Ruahine Kindergarten Association is revising the performance appraisal process to strengthen alignment to professional expectations of teachers and to the association’s strategic plan. More meaningful outcomes and a stronger evidence base are additional factors identified for development.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of West End 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.

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.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

15 October 2012

Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

5268

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over two years

Service roll

52

Gender composition

Male 27, Female 25

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnic groups

33

11

8

Review team on site

September 2012

Date of this report

15 October 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

May 2009

April 2005

December 2001

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.