Akaiti Mangarongaro Punanga Reo provides education and care within a Cook Island Māori context. It operates alongside four other Pacific centres that share the same site. The property is leased from the Southern Cross School and the property is maintained by an umbrella Trust, the Mangere Pasefika Early Childhood Educational Trust (MPECET). A good working relationship between the Akaiti Mangarongaro Punanga Reo management board and the MPCET has now been established.
ERO's review of the centre in September 2006 noted that teachers were cheerful and positive in their interactions with children and some staff engaged children in conversation that supported their language development. The centre had recently come through a turbulent period, which had a negative impact on management systems and on teaching and learning. The report identified the need for teachers to encourage more sustained conversations and develop children's play. It also identified aspects of management that required improvement.
Children continue to have their knowledge of Cook Island Māori language and traditions nurtured and enriched. They show great pleasure and enthusiasm when participating in pure time. Children are relaxed and familiar with the routines and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in the centre.
Children are generally happy, settled and eager to join in play with peers. They confidently engage in conversation with children and adults. They enjoy exploring the range of equipment in the outside area and selecting from the resources available to them inside. Children's learning opportunities could now be improved by centre managers and staff reviewing the current interior layout and creating clearly defined areas of play that stimulate and support children's play and learning.
Staff are caring and friendly with children and respond quickly when their assistance is needed. They provide a planned programme, with a combination of teacher-directed activities and some periods of free play. Some teachers support children's play in appropriate ways. These teachers along with centre managers should continue to support staff to develop a collective understanding of ways to facilitate and extend child-initiated play and capitalise on opportunities to foster children's problem solving, investigation and conflict resolution skills.
Teachers are working with professional support to continue developing assessment, planning and evaluations that are responsive to children's strengths and interests. They have developed useful assessment portfolios for children, display their observations and link their planning to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Continued professional development should make the extension of children's emerging interests a more significant aspect of the programme.
The management board is active in ensuring that the operation of the punanga reo is efficient. The licensee is aware of the need to continue to build on the current strategic plan to include clear long-term goals for all areas of centre operation and links to policy and programme review.
The centre manager and the licensee are committed to and actively working towards improving the quality of education and care service. They are very aware of the benefits and positive impact of having qualified teachers. Centre managers have employed a qualified supervisor and a soon-to-be qualified teacher, who are also part of the management board and provide professional leadership for staff. This provides a good basis for ongoing curriculum development and improvement.
Good systems are in place for the organisation of centre documentation and the management have comprehensive policies in place and developed a strategic plan. Their next step is to build on this to formulate a more comprehensive strategic plan with clear, short and long-term goals for centre development and improvement. This should include a documented cycle of self-review of centre programmes, operation and the requirements of the Statement of Desirable Objectives and Practices (1996). It should focus on progressive improvements to the quality of education for children.
Health and safety issues identified in the 2006 report have been addressed. However, the perimeter fence can be climbed and this safety concern needs to be addressed.
This report finds that the centre is performing well in some areas. However, there are a considerable number of areas that require further improvement. The report recommends that managers access external advisory support to formulate strategic planning that focuses on improving the quality of education for children. Teachers should continue with professional development to strengthen assessment and planning systems and improve their strategies to support and develop children's play.
The licensee has accepted ERO's offer of post-review assistance to develop an action plan to address the recommendations, actions for compliance, and areas for improvement identified in this report.
ERO intends to return to the service/centre within 12 months to evaluate the progress made in response to the recommendations in this report.
When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow-up action they plan to do. You should talk to the management or licensee 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.
for Chief Review Officer
Individual ERO school and early childhood centre reports are public information and may be copied or sent electronically. However, the Education Review Office can only guarantee the authenticity of original documents which have been obtained in hard copy directly from either the local ERO office or ERO Corporate Office in Wellington. Please consult your telephone book, or see the ERO web page, http://www.ero.govt.nz, for ERO office addresses.