1 Evaluation of the Service
How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?
The service is in the beginning stages of developing its capacity to promote positive outcomes for children.
ABC Whitby South Preschool is situated in Whitby, Porirua and offers all day education and care for children from two to five years. In November 2011, ownership was transferred to Kidicorp. A newly appointed centre manager oversees the operation of the preschool and the adjacent centre, ABC Whitby South Nursery. The centre community is diverse, with half of the children identifying as Māori or Pacific.
The June 2009 ERO report found several areas for improvement in teaching, behaviour management, partnerships with parents, the centre environment and self review practices. This evaluation finds that changes to personnel and a focus on transition to the new ownership have hindered progress over the past 3 years. There have been changes to the teaching staff since the previous review. A new centre manager was appointed in May 2012. She is making positive changes to a number of areas of operation and practice. These changes are too recent to have made a significant difference to outcomes for children.
Areas of strength
The centre manager has appropriately identified areas for development and review. Spontaneous review has led to improvements to the programme and environment and to the introduction of some new routines and practices.
A new process for planning, assessing and evaluating learning has been introduced. This should support teachers to recognise and respond to children’s interests and strengths.
The centre manager successfully encourages a collaborative culture. She works to build the capacity of the teaching team through regular sharing and modelling of good practice.
A strengthened appraisal system identifies areas for teachers’ professional growth and development. Improvements to practice are being supported by increased participation in training courses.
Self review has included consultation with staff and parents. There is a renewed commitment to child-centred improvement, and openness to involving the wider centre community in the change process.
Areas for development and review
The centre philosophy is being changed. The manager is leading a review to promote a shared understanding of the centre’s vision and goals. The revised statement includes a greater commitment to parents as partners in learning. Further development is required to include the aspirations of diverse parent groups.
Teachers are in the very early stages of responding to children’s interests in a meaningful way and effectively documenting and using assessment for learning. A comprehensive review of this cycle should facilitate development of a robust and responsive planning and assessment process for staff, parents and children.
Leaders recognise the need to support Māori success as Māori and to validate te ao Māori. Teachers are developing their confidence to use language and culture within programmes. Creating opportunities for whānau Māori, staff and children to share their expertise and views is an acknowledged area for development. This should assist the centre to design a curriculum that is more responsive to children as Māori.
Pacific children make up a significant percentage of the roll. More explicitly recognising, valuing and celebrating their diverse cultures is an important next step.
Teaching practices require strengthening. The centre tone is not always positive, calm or conducive to all children's learning. Staff are trialling new routines and ways of interacting with children to better support positive outcomes. Helping children to become self managing and respectful of the environment is an important focus.
Managers are in the early stages of using self review for improvement. Now that the transition to new governance and leadership is complete, it is timely to comprehensively review the quality of centre operations and practices. A thorough evaluation would support more specific strategic and annual planning for improvement.
The centre has declined ERO's offer of a Post Review Assistance Workshop (PRAW). These workshops facilitate the development of an action plan to assist the service to prioritise and plan how they will address the areas identified for development and review.