Westport Playcentre - 01/06/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Westport Playcentre functions as a cooperative where all parents take responsibility and share leadership for the day-to-day operation of the centre. The playcentre association supports parents in training towards a diploma in early childhood and adult education.

The centre has experienced significant roll growth recently.

Children learn in a warm, welcoming and caring environment in which their individual abilities, needs and interests are valued. ERO observed children well engaged in their play for long periods of time.

Other positive features of the centre include:

  • readily available resources and flexible routines that support children’s engagement in their play
  • shared leadership and decision making
  • parents fully involved in the programme
  • effective support provided by playcentre association professionals.

The centre has made progress in addressing the recommendations of the previous ERO review. They have developed good systems for planning and assessing the programme. Meetings before and after sessions provide useful information to support programme planning. ERO observed some good examples of adults extending children’s thinking and learning.

Areas for review and development include:

  • a clearer understanding of factors that contribute to a successful bicultural programme
  • more consistent identification of children’s learning as part of the assessment process
  • the development of a strategic plan that outlines a clear, long-term direction for the centre’s operation and programmes.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the playcentre again in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Westport 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 atWestport 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.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

The playcentre’s philosophy is strongly reflected in the caring relationships that enhance children’s confidence and participation in learning. Parents work cooperatively as teams and are actively involved in the programme. They continue to take part in professional development focused on improving the quality of education they provide for children.

Areas of strength

Relationships

Children learn in a supportive environment that enhances their well-being and sense of belonging. Teams of adults respond positively to children’s needs and respect children’s decisions and choices. They model friendly, cooperative attitudes that children can learn from. Team members value the companionship and support of other adults.

Child-centred learning

Session team members have developed well-managed, flexible routines that children are familiar with. Children confidently select their own play and remain at the activity for as long as they wish. They have easy access to resources and learn about the world around them through planned excursions into the community. ERO observed some good examples of adults extending children’s learning and thinking.

Collaborative decision making

Teams collaboratively plan a programme that has a sense of purpose and results in children’s effective participation in play. The programme is clearly linked to Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum. Teams discuss each child’s interests, next step in learning and activity that would support further learning. This approach builds a shared understanding of how to meet children’s learning needs and sustain effective practice.

Annual planning

The centre has a well structured annual plan that provides clear direction for improving children’s learning and care. Feedback sought from parents has contributed to the plan’s development. Progress in achieving the annual plan goals is monitored through discussion at monthly management meetings. The next step for team leaders is to focus more on the expected outcomes and how they will be measured so that progress against goals can be effectively monitored.

Self review

The centre is involved in some useful self review. The centre has guidelines that are easy for team leaders to follow. Links are apparent between review and annual planning. Timelines have been established for the review of equipment, policies and the physical environment. A next step is to develop a similar timeline for reviews that cover the programme, assessment, learning and teaching.

Areas for development and review

Bicultural programme

Children respond to learning more effectively when their culture is acknowledged and supported. They develop confidence to participate when they experience a sense of belonging. Team leaders need to continue to develop an overall understanding of ways the centre practices can help Māori children, and children from other cultures, to feel included.

Assessment

Parents contribute to the assessment process. Centre team leaders should continue to extend assessment practices that lead to identifying the specific learning that children achieve.

Strategic planning

A strategic plan should be developed that clearly defines the centre’s long term objectives and provides guidance for all aspects of its planning, programmes and operation.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Westport Playcentre completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have 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.

4 Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under two

Roll number

78

Gender composition

Girls 43; Boys 35

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European Pākehā 61; Māori 7; Asian 2; Other 8

Review team on site

March 2012

Date of this report

1 June 2012

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Report March 2008

Education Review May 2005

Accountability Review January 2000

To the Parents and Community of Westport Playcentre

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

Westport Playcentre functions as a cooperative where all parents take responsibility and share leadership for the day-to-day operation of the centre. The playcentre association supports parents in training towards a diploma in early childhood and adult education.

The centre has experienced significant roll growth recently.

Children learn in a warm, welcoming and caring environment in which their individual abilities, needs and interests are valued. ERO observed children well engaged in their play for long periods of time.

Other positive features of the centre include:

  • readily available resources and flexible routines that support children’s engagement in their play
  • shared leadership and decision making
  • parents fully involved in the programme
  • effective support provided by playcentre association professionals.

The centre has made progress in addressing the recommendations of the previous ERO review. They have developed good systems for planning and assessing the programme. Meetings before and after sessions provide useful information to support programme planning. ERO observed some good examples of adults extending children’s thinking and learning.

Areas for review and development include:

  • a clearer understanding of factors that contribute to a successful bicultural programme
  • more consistent identification of children’s learning as part of the assessment process
  • the development of a strategic plan that outlines a clear, long-term direction for the centre’s operation and programmes.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the playcentre 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.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

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.

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.