Westmere Kindergarten - 27/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Westmere Kindergarten

How well placed is Westmere 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

Westmere Kindergarten in Auckland is licensed for up to 40 children over two years. It offers sessions that are similar to school hours. The kindergarten is part of the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), which provides a governance and management framework to support kindergarten operations. The kindergarten has changed to a full kindergarten day model operating a six hour day for five days during school term times. A parent committee assists teachers in the smooth operation of the kindergarten.

The kindergarten is staffed by four qualified teachers, a teacher aide and an administrator. The teaching team's philosophy outlines the intentions to provide a welcoming environment and an inclusive programme. It also focuses on environmental sustainability, the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand, and respect for each child's uniqueness.

The 2013 ERO report noted that teachers viewed children as capable and competent learners, and that the programme supported children's independence as learners. These features have been maintained. Since the report, teachers have developed a teaching and learning philosophy, and continued to strengthen self review. There has been some progress in these areas.

The AKA restructure in 2015 has introduced new responsibilities and ways of working for both AKA and kindergarten personnel. A period of transition is continuing for staff as they develop their understanding and competence in relation to new roles and systems.

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

The Review Findings

Children play well together and are actively engaged in their learning. Children are independent learners and make choices for their play. They have a good sense of ownership in the kindergarten and the programme. Children often spend sustained periods of time with other children or adults and persist in completing projects relating to their interests.

The design of the environment allows children to extend and develop imaginative play and create their own learning experiences. The outdoor area provides a variety of physical challenges for children and is used well for promoting science, technology, mathematics, and art. Well defined areas of play support children to confidently explore and use the indoor and outdoor environment.

Children's cultural diversity enriches the programme. Parents, children, and teachers learn about and celebrate other cultures as well as their own. Teachers provide a programme that supports children to celebrate their cultural uniqueness.

Children are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves, their friends and the environment. They are included in decision making about resources and use of space. Teachers agree that children could also help to design and evaluate the daily programme.

Teachers know the community well. Partnerships with parents and their contributions to the programme are valued. The kindergarten continues to have a very active parent committee, which organises and leads fundraising and kindergarten events. Teachers' positive relationships with families are supporting children’s learning and sense of belonging in the kindergarten. Children transitioning in to the kindergarten and on to school are well supported by teachers' relationships with families and local schools.

AKA support and guidance is responsive to each kindergarten's individual context. New AKA positions are providing more targeted support for head teachers in their leadership and management roles. A new Quality Improvement Process is aligned with AKA and kindergarten strategic plans. This process monitors quality, and promotes ongoing improvement in the kindergartens.

Key Next Steps

Teachers agree that their next steps could include:

  • strengthening bicultural practices

  • increasing recognition of and responsiveness to children's cultural identity, and languages

  • more deliberate planning that responds to individual children’s interests and ideas

  • developing consistent processes for evaluating teaching practices, planning and assessment

  • continuing to develop self-review to guide kindergarten improvements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Westmere 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

27 May 2016

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

Westmere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

5112

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

59

Gender composition

Boys 30, Girls 29

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

British

Cook Island Māori

Others

4

48

3

1

3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

NA

 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

27 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

May 2013

Education Review

September 2009

Education Review

September 2006

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.