West Melton Playcentre - 30/03/2012

 

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

West Melton Playcentre is one of 49 centres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association (CPA). The association’s education and centre support teams provide support for the centre. The parent cooperative is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the playcentre. This playcentre runs five morning sessions for children aged from birth to school age. The centre has recently started a “Babies Can Play” session once a week which caters for infants and toddlers.

Children at this playcentre are benefiting from:

  • meaningful relationships with familiar adults who know them and their families well
  • good opportunities to learn social skills and play successfully with other children
  • high-quality interactions with adults that effectively support their learning
  • an interesting range of activities and spacious outdoor area to explore and enhance their learning
  • the supportive and affirming relationships between parents which provide a positive and relaxed environment for them to learn in.

The parent group has recently made useful changes to the way they plan the programme and recognise children’s learning. They are now more focused on getting to know the interests of the children better and sharing that information among all adults. They have also developed better ways to plan the programme and evaluate the success of daily sessions. They have used self review to make improvements to the programme.

Parents acknowledge that their next steps are to:

  • build on planning and assessment practices to include more of a focus on recognising and recording individual children’s learning
  • develop a team approach to understanding and using self review
  • extend the opportunities for children to hear and use te reo Māori.

The playcentre is currently planning to improve the indoor environment through extending and renovating the building.

This review occurred following the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. The playcentre facilities were not significantly affected by the earthquakes. The parents have supported each other during this challenging time.

The playcentre has well-established health and safety practices.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of West Melton Playcentre was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atWest Melton Playcentre.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults.

The Quality of Education

Background

The playcentre’s philosophy promotes children and parents learning together through play. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the day-to-day sessions based on the belief that parents understand their child’s development better by participating in their learning process. There is an expectation that children will be confident to direct their own learning with adult support. The centre provides, and supports parents to undertake, playcentre training. The parents aim to provide a safe, relaxed and stimulating place that meets the needs and interests of the children.

Areas of strength

Children benefit from meaningful relationships with familiar adults who know them and their families well. Children are confident to approach all adults during the session and play with them in a range of ways. Children show a strong sense of belonging in the playcentre programme.

Children have good opportunities to learn social skills and play successfully with other children. ERO observed adults using effective ways to support children to respond positively to other children, invite others into their play and use language to express their ideas. Adults praise children and use positive ways to help them think about the affect of their decisions on others.

Parents have supportive and affirming relationships with each other which provide a positive and relaxed environment for children to learn in. Many adults choose to stay on session and make good use of their time at the playcentre to be fully involved in the programme alongside the children. Adults value the contact with each other and the strong community links that the playcentre provides.

Children benefit from high quality interactions with adults. This includes adults:

  • supporting the child to be the leader in their play and providing resources to help extend children’s interests and play choices
  • helping children to wonder and be curious about things
  • encouraging sustained conversations during play
  • modelling rich and interesting language
  • asking effective questions to help children think further about their ideas.

Children have an interesting range of activities and a spacious outdoor area that supports their learning.

Adults plan a wide and varied range of activities to encourage children’s exploration and involvement. Science and sensory play are particularly evident in the programme.

The parent group has recently made useful changes to the way adults plan the programme and recognise children’s learning. They are now more focused on getting to know the interests of the children better and sharing that information among all adults. They have also developed better ways to plan and evaluate the success of daily sessions.

A review in 2010 focused on the quality of children’s learning experiences led to some purposeful improvements to the programme. The parent group undertook a self review about improving the quality of experiences for the children at playcentre. This self review was well used to help parents make changes to their planning and assessment systems and the ways they interact with children.

Areas for development and review

The parents and coordinator now need to focus more on recording their discussions about what individual children are learning. This should enable them to better plan and evaluate how well the programme is supporting individual children’s learning.

ERO has identified, and the parent group agrees, that more of a team approach to self review would make the process more sustainable. The next step is to get more parents understanding and contributing to self review.

In addition, the centre parents have identified, and ERO agrees, that further next steps are to:

  • extend the opportunities for children to hear and use te reo Māori
  • continue with future plans to enhance the indoor environment through extending and renovating the building.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Inclusion of Children with Moderate to Severe Special Needs

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions ensure the continuing wellbeing, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

Although there are no children with moderate to severe special needs currently enrolled in this service, the positive attitude of the parent group and family-centred approach supports inclusion. The playcentre philosophy strongly encourages parents to be fully involved in the daily programme and decisions about how the centre responds to their child’s interests and needs. Through the playcentre programme children are benefiting from a range of adults interacting with them in effective ways. The parent group is aware of the additional support they can get from the Canterbury Playcentre Association and specialist services.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of West Melton Playcentre completed an ERO 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 documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

During the onsite stage of the review, ERO observed an inconsistency in adults’ expectations on whether children should wear sunhats. The parent group acknowledges that the playcentre’s policy and procedures for ensuring sun safety should be followed more consistently.

5. Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

30 March 2012

About the Centre

Type

Early Childhood Centre (Full/Sessional)

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 13 aged under two

Roll number

28

Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 8

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 18; Māori 5; Asian 3; Other European 2

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

30 March 2012

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review May 2008 Education Review June 2004 Accountability Review March 1998

 

To the Parents and Community of West Melton Playcentre

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on West Melton Playcentre.

West Melton Playcentre is one of 49 centres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association (CPA). The association’s education and centre support teams provide support for the centre. The parent cooperative is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the playcentre. This playcentre runs five morning sessions for children aged from birth to school age. The centre has recently started a “Babies Can Play” session once a week which caters for infants and toddlers.

Children at this playcentre are benefiting from:

  • meaningful relationships with familiar adults who know them and their families well
  • good opportunities to learn social skills and play successfully with other children
  • high-quality interactions with adults that effectively support their learning
  • an interesting range of activities and spacious outdoor area to explore and enhance their learning
  • the supportive and affirming relationships between parents which provide a positive and relaxed environment for them to learn in.

The parent group has recently made useful changes to the way they plan the programme and recognise children’s learning. They are now more focused on getting to know the interests of the children better and sharing that information among all adults. They have also developed better ways to plan the programme and evaluate the success of daily sessions. They have used self review to make improvements to the programme.

Parents acknowledge that their next steps are to:

  • build on planning and assessment practices to include more of a focus on recognising and recording individual children’s learning
  • develop a team approach to understanding and using self review
  • extend the opportunities for children to hear and use te reo Māori.

The playcentre is currently planning to improve the indoor environment through extending and renovating the building.

This review occurred following the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. The playcentre facilities were not significantly affected by the earthquakes. The parents have supported each other during this challenging time.

The playcentre has well-established health and safety practices.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.

Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.

National Evaluation Topics – This strand contributes to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.

Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre 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 this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.