Young & Amazing - 09/10/2015

1 Evaluation of Young & Amazing

How well placed is Young & Amazing 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

Young and Amazing is a privately owned early childhood centre, established in 2013. It is licensed for 95 children, including 35 children up to the age of two years. The centre director is an experienced early childhood teacher and leads a team of teachers who are committed and enthusiastic about children’s education and care. This is the centre’s first ERO review.

The centre is located in an industrial area in Onehunga, Auckland. The building, previously a church, has been renovated and extended to accommodate children in four separate rooms. Infants and toddlers have their own separate indoor and outdoor spaces. The three to four year olds and four to five year olds have a separate indoor learning space and share the large outdoor playground.

Staff comprise qualified and registered teachers. The senior leadership team includes the owner/manager, the assistant supervisor and an early childhood specialist who is contracted to provide support and guidance for teachers. A cook is also employed to provide nutritious meals for children.

The centre philosophy values the bicultural heritages of New Zealand. Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum, is embedded in the programme.

The Review Findings

Children are provided with an environment that is welcoming, caring and accepting of their cultural differences. Effective and inclusive teaching practices affirm and build on the strengths children bring to their play. As a result children are confident and are well supported to be independent. They are keen learners and engage well in the range of activities teachers provide. Children are given the space to initiate their own play and conversations with each other. Teachers are unhurried and calm allowing time for children to explore their environment.

Infants have their own separate indoor and outdoor space. Teachers are welcoming and friendly. They promote a flexible and relaxed tone to the programme. Teachers’ responsive caregiving supports infants’ need for strong and secure attachments. They are committed to always strengthening their practice. Teachers support children’s learning and development by providing a curriculum that engages them in their play. They agree that continued professional learning for teachers of this younger age group would further strengthen their practice and the programme.

Children enjoy imaginative play and explore happily alongside each other. They confidently initiate conversations with their peers and adults. Teachers sometimes use children’s first languages to converse with them. New children settle quickly into the centre. Children experience a programme and routines that reflect their individual preferences and interests. They can sustain their play for long periods with their peers, adults or by themselves.

Children with special education needs have individual programmes and the support provided by teachers maximises their contribution and learning. Children’s portfolios show the progress and continuity of their learning over time. The programme intentionally promotes literacy, maths, science and technology concepts to extend children’s learning experiences. The centre provides an effective programme that supports children and their families to successfully transition to school.

The learning environment is attractive. It is maximised to enrich children’s learning, and to promote play that challenges children’s thinking. Teachers’ review of the learning environment has resulted in more provision of quality resources that provoke children’s thinking to enquire and explore. The well-defined areas of play have benefited children’s engagement in the programme. Children’s work is valued and displayed attractively on the walls. Routines provide a useful, but flexible framework for the day. Teachers could now review and reconsider the rationale for having three mat times a day. This aspect of the centre’s routine reduces opportunities for uninterrupted play for children.

Teachers provide a programme that celebrates children’s identity and New Zealand’s bicultural heritage and shows respect for Māori as tangata whenua. The programme promotes literacy, mathematics, technology and science and children explore these curriculum areas through the activities teachers provide.

Teachers’ respectful relationships with children and their whānau is a strength of the centre. They are developing ways to encourage parent/whānau contributions to the centre’s programme. Leadership is a collaborative process in the centre. Teachers support parents/whānau and children to take on leadership roles and responsibilities in the programme.

The centre manager provides very good governance. She is well supported by the leadership team who provide mentoring and leadership support for teachers. They are active and committed to their role and have developed robust systems to guide practice and centre operations.

Centre leaders value and use self review to build on their own and teachers' knowledge, measure their progress, and make strategic decisions about the centre’s future direction. They could further strengthen this process by aligning their strategic plan to an annual plan that measures their progress against strategic goals.

Key Next Steps

Leaders at Young and Amazing have identified some priority areas to guide further improvements to centre management, operation and administration. ERO agrees with these next steps that include leaders continuing to strengthen:

  • formal documentation of processes for assessment, planning and evaluation
  • the self review process so that it includes oral and written consultation with families
  • the current bicultural dimension of the curriculum
  • teachers’ appraisal goals that reflect the centre’s strategic vision, and to improve on and extend teachers’ professional practice and knowledge.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Young & Amazing 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 Young & Amazing will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 October 2015

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

Onehunga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

46256

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

95 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll

105

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Cook Island Māori

Fijian

Niue

Tongan

other European

other Asian

other

6%

61%

11%

1%

1%

1%

1%

10%

4%

4%

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

9 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

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.