Westown Kindergarten - 10/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Westown Kindergarten

How well placed is Westown 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

Westown Kindergarten provides education and care for children from two to five years of age. The kindergarten is open for six hours daily, and is licensed for up to 34 children. All-day and sessional care is offered. The outdoor environment has recently been developed, to engage an increasingly mixed-age roll.

Families at the kindergarten come from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. Of the total roll of 41, six children identify as Māori.

The teaching team is fully qualified and the programme is further assisted by support staff. Some teacher and leadership changes have occurred since the August 2013 ERO review.

The kindergarten is one of 24 governed by the newly established Kindergarten Taranaki (the association), formerly North and South Taranaki Kindergarten Associations. A chief executive was appointed to lead the association in 2014.

Two professional leaders (PLs) are employed by the association to provide professional support and guidance to teachers. Since the 2016 ERO reviews a programme manager and a human resource generalist have been appointed.

ERO's August 2013 report identified a need to embed self-review practice. The kindergarten has made good progress in this area. In addition, the association was asked to strengthen appraisal. Progress in this area is ongoing.

This review was part of a cluster of eight in the Kindergarten Taranaki Association.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from a programme that is responsive to their strengths, needs and interests. The teaching team are highly effective. Team members use a range of strategies to foster children’s leadership and social skills. Children are encouraged to help themselves and one another. The highly motivated teaching team regularly engages with useful current research to inform its practice. 

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is valued and visible throughout the curriculum. Elements of te ao Māori are meaningfully integrated into the kindergarten’s planning, teaching interactions and environment. The philosophy emphasises whanaungatanga/family, aroha/love, whakamana/empowerment and whakawhāiti/inclusion. These values are clearly evident in practice.

Teachers understand that the learning of tamariki Māori and tamaiti Pacific is embedded in their language, culture and identity. The wellbeing and education of priority groups are actively promoted through a range of effective strategies.

Parents are valued as partners in curriculum and strategic decisions. An inclusive sense of whānau is actively promoted. A well-considered induction process supports children and whānau to transition into the kindergarten. Regular excursions to a local school support children’s transition to the next stage of their learning journey.

A useful process is in place for assessment, planning and evaluation. Teachers plan collaboratively for the learning of groups and individual children. Planned programmes are highly responsive to parent aspirations, children’s home cultures and languages, and their strengths, needs and interests. Assessment documentation clearly highlights children’s progress against their plans. Currently, the evaluation component of this planning cycle is not explicit. Teachers should clearly document their evaluative reasoning for replacing, adjusting or retaining children’s learning goals.

Internal evaluation is effective. Teachers skilfully analyse data to inform positive shifts in practice. They agree that narrowing their focus, using a small number of clearly defined indicators, will deepen these evaluations.

Learners with diverse needs are welcomed. Teachers liaise closely with whānau and outside agencies to support their ongoing progress.

Leadership effectively guides and supports teacher practice. Regular appraisal occurs. Teachers are highly reflective. A recently revised appraisal procedure includes the use of formal observation of teacher practice. Once fully established this should assist leaders to strengthen the process. PLs should then undertake regular monitoring of how well appraisal is being implemented in each kindergarten.

The board works collaboratively with its community to establish vision, values and strategic priorities. Establishing clearer measures of success should enable the board to measure progress and evaluate how well practices support the realisation of its goals and vision.

The board's ongoing commitment to biculturalism is reflected by initiatives to support teachers to promote te ao Māori in the curriculum and to develop culturally appropriate practices. Senior leaders are focused on developing initiatives to better determine the impact of the curriculum delivery and teaching and learning in each kindergarten. 

The association should establish clear expectations of the purpose and use of assessment, planning and evaluation in kindergartens. Professional leaders in partnership with teaching teams should then monitor the effective implementation of:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation
  • review and internal evaluation.

In addition, the association should establish a system for the ongoing monitoring of legislative requirements, including those related to health and safety.

Key Next Steps

ERO and kindergarten teachers agree that the key next steps are to:

  • strengthen evaluation documentation within individual children’s assessment, planning and evaluation
  • refine the process of internal evaluation.

The association should:

  • strengthen the processes used to evaluate the progress of the strategic plan
  • provide effective guidance and monitoring of association expectations related to assessment, planning and evaluation, review and internal evaluation and health and safety practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Westown 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 Westown Kindergarten will be in four years. 

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

10 May 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

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

5229

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

34 children, aged over 2

Service roll

41

Gender composition

Boys 24, Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

  6
29
  6

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

March 2017

Date of this report

11 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

July 2010

Supplementary Review

December 2005

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.