The Kids' Domain Early Learning Centres are situated in a purpose-designed complex within the Auckland Hospital grounds, adjacent to the Auckland Domain. The service operates under the auspices of the Auckland Hospital Preschool Society. The society's executive committee undertakes a governance role and employs a centre manager for day-to-day operations.
The Kids' Domain building is divided into three centres, one for infants and toddlers who attend part time, one for infants and toddlers who attend on a more fulltime basis, and this centre for children over the age of two-and-a-half years. Children attending the service all have parents who work in the hospital area and Kids' Domain personnel actively foster strong, inclusive community relationships.
This review focuses on Centre 3, which provides two separate spaces, the Magic Room for children over two years of age who attend part time, and the Rainbow Room for those who attend on a full time basis. Both rooms have ready access to a shared outdoor play area. This review evaluates the quality of education provided in Centre 3. It includes consideration of teachers' focus on using information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance programmes for children and communication with parents. The report also comments on progress that the service has made with implementing effective self-review processes. ERO notes many aspects of very good practice and makes some suggestions for improvement.
Children in Centre 3 enjoy a largely child-initiated programme and high levels of social interaction with their peers in attractively presented environments. They are becoming very familiar with ICT as a tool for communication and documentation. This is particularly evident in their frequent, independent use of digital cameras and the computer. Children also have many opportunities to experiment with drawing and writing. A good foundation has been established for literacy learning. The teaching team should now focus on increasing the consistency of their engagement with children in purposeful teaching and learning during the course of the day. They could also reflect on ways to increase children's independent access to a wider selection of creative and construction resources.
Assessment practices are well established in Centre 3 and teachers continue to consider ways to enrich individual children's records. They should establish planning documentation that shows what teachers will do in response to information shared by parents and what they notice about children through their observations and interactions with them.
The recent introduction of an 'education manager' role should enable managers to have a better overview of good practices and requirements for development in all three centres. It should also assist team leaders and teachers to work together towards ongoing improvement of teaching practice.
A special feature of Kids' Domain teachers' practice is their commitment to research and professional development. Their current research project focuses on exploring their own childhood experiences, in order to bring a fresh view to teaching and learning. Centre 3 teachers' focus within this research is on the use of ICT in the centre and the strengthening of communication and consultation with parents.
Effective management practices continue to be evident in the Kids' Domain service. Self review is a well-established aspect of managers' and teachers' practice and includes some innovative practices. ERO and managers discussed several possibilities for enhancing the service's self-review systems. A clearer focus on reviewing the quality of programmes and identifying outcomes for children would assist managers and teachers to better realize their objective of contiuous improvement.
ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interests of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again as part of the regular review cycle.
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 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
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS
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.
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.
Areas of National Interest - information about how Government policies are working in early childhood centres.
Compliance with Legal Requirements - assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.
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.
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.
Individual ERO school and early childhood centre reports are public information and may be copied or sent electronically. However, the Education Review Office can guarantee only 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.
This report has been prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.