Little Earth Montessori Oteha Valley

Education institution number:
10065
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
23
Telephone:
Address:

3 Ponderosa Drive, Browns Bay, Auckland

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1 Evaluation of Lollipops Oteha Valley

How well placed is Lollipops Oteha Valley to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Lollipops Oteha Valley is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

Lollipops Oteha Valley was previously known as Tuatara Preschool. It is licensed to provide for up to 40 children over two years of age. Children play and learn in mixed-age groups, both indoors and in the outdoor play area.

The centre has had significant changes in leadership and staffing in the last six months. The manager and area manager are new to their roles. Most staff are qualified early childhood teachers.

The centre is part of the Evolve Education Group’s Upper North Island region. Evolve provides the overarching governance and management framework. The intent of a recent re-branding of Evolve services has been to build a greater sense of unity across the organisation. It has allowed each centre to identify a preferred philosophical approach.

Recent Evolve initiatives are intended to improve staff retention, promote effective internal evaluation and lift the quality of teaching practices. A new general manager and area managers provide professional support for centre leaders and teachers. Further recruitment is underway for managers to lead a focus on continuing quality improvement across the organisation. There continues to be a period of transition for staff as they adapt to changes in Evolve operational practices.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews of services in the Evolve Education Group, Upper North Island.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and enjoy long periods of uninterrupted play. They have warm and trusting relationships with adults and interact confidently with their friends. Children know about making choices, are able to lead their own learning and independently select resources. A respectful and inclusive culture is evident throughout the centre.

The programme allows children to follow their own interests and lead their own learning. The pace is unhurried. Effective teaching practices that promote positive learning outcomes for children include teachers:

  • taking a genuine interest in and listening to children's ideas to help foster their language development

  • promoting children's independence and self-management skills through daily routines

  • incidentally promoting early literacy skills and an enjoyment of books throughout the day

  • increasing the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori.

The centre manager provides a good model for other teachers to increase te reo and tikanga Māori within the programme. The mandarin speaking teacher is able to speak to Chinese families in their home language to help them transition into the centre. Leaders and teachers should now consider further ways to support an increasingly diverse community.

A wide range of resources that interest children are available. There are increasing opportunities for children to develop their creativity and to make sense of the natural world. Teachers have begun to focus planning on making the most of learning opportunities, challenging children's thinking and increasing the complexity of children's play. With the appointment of a new team, leaders and teachers are ready to evaluate curriculum practices and build on current strengths.

Parents are encouraged to be partners in their children’s learning. Teachers provide many opportunities for families to participate in the programme, contribute to reviews and be aware of their children’s progress. Teachers have many formal and informal discussions with parents and whānau. Parents also discuss and have input into children's learning stories and portfolios. Parents report that they appreciate the quality of education and care that is provided for their children.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree that key next steps for centre development include:

  • reviewing and extending planning, assessment and evaluation practices to include a focus on intentional teaching strategies and learning outcomes for children

  • further supporting children to increase the complexity of play, and extending provision for boys

  • ensuring that the structure of the programme aligns with a child-centred philosophy.

During ERO’s August 2018 cluster, Evolve Education Group Managers agreed that next steps included:

  • increased integration of the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the alignment of strategic goals and annual plans with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum

  • monitoring the roles and responsibilities of leaders at organisation and centre levels

  • the effective implementation of appraisal practices.

This current cluster review also identified the need for:

  • a coherent change management strategy, and monitoring the effectiveness of the new structure

  • support for centres through changes of key leaders, including area and centre managers

  • the evaluation of teaching and learning across the organisation, to inform the next steps in PLD and the development of the teaching and learning teams

  • high quality PLD for area managers to help them to evaluate and promote quality provision for children, and to identify priorities for supporting centre managers.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lollipops Oteha Valley 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.

In order to improve current practice, managers should:

  • consider ways to reduce noise levels in the centre

  • vary the timing of emergency drills to ensure all children have opportunities to participate.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

3 May 2019

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

Browns Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10065

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children over 2 years of age

Service roll

40

Gender composition

Boys 28 Girls 12

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Chinese
other ethnic groups

26
9
5

Percentage of qualified teachers

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

3 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review as Tuatara Preschool

December 2015

Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

May 2009

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.

1 Evaluation of Tuatara Preschool

How well placed is Tuatara Preschool 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

Tuatara Preschool has served the Browns Bay community in Auckland for over 20 years. Since the 2012 ERO review, the preschool has been relicensed under the 2008 licensing criteria. It now provides education and care for up to 40 children from two years to school age. The roll is over 60 percent Pākehā and nearly 20 percent Asian.

The preschool consists of one large building that is split into distinct areas of play, some separate rooms for quieter individual and group activities, and a kitchen. All children play together but the younger and older ones are sometimes separated for special programmes.

The current staff to child ratio is better than minimum requirements. The staff comprise four qualified teachers, one unqualified teacher, a teachers’ aide and a cook. One of the teachers has full teacher registration.

The preschool’s philosophy reflects the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It notes the importance of creating an environment that helps maximise children’s engagement in their learning. ERO’s 2012 report on the centre noted strengths in the implementation of this philosophy and in the partnership being developed with parents and whānau. These strengths remain, and staff continue to make progress in addressing areas for improvement identified in the 2012 report.

The preschool has undergone significant change over the past year. It has a new manager, who was previously a teacher at the preschool, and it has a new owner/service provider, the Evolve Education Group 3. Evolve provides the centre with business management and professional management support with policy and procedures.

The Review Findings

Children settle well into the preschool. They are all welcomed, valued and included in the programme. They enjoy each other’s company and have well established friendships. Children approach teachers with confidence, and receive good levels of adult interactions and attention. They are well cared for and benefit from the centre’s homely environment. Attractive displays celebrate children’s learning experiences and acknowledge their participation in the programme.

Children show their independence and interest in learning as they play and explore activities that interest them. Much of the equipment is freely accessible, and additional resources are well labelled and displayed to promote further child choice. New weatherproofing screens have extended times when children can play comfortably in the large patio area. The top outdoor playground has been re-turfed and improved, and a “wild” garden developed. All of these positive developments enhance learning opportunities for children.

The programme includes a good amount of time for children to engage in play. During these times children develop their oral language, and their early literacy, numeracy and science skills and understandings. Such play-based learning is the foundation of the early childhood curriculum. In developing the programme, teachers have also focussed on strengthening their bicultural understandings and practices. They are becoming more confident in helping children to develop early appreciation of New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Projects around celebrations and community events help ensure that Auckland’s multicultural makeup is also acknowledged.

Assessment portfolios are well presented records of children’s participation in varied learning experiences. The portfolios are now available digitally, enabling busy parents to participate in a more active partnership in their child’s learning. The portfolios include rich information to help parents understand the purposes of centre activities, and they capture children’s voices and opinions well. Teachers could now use learning stories about individual children more, to identify their interests and consider how these might be extended. They could then use this knowledge as the basis for their programme planning.

The preschool manager has effectively led staff and parents through a period of ongoing change. She has collaborated well with Evolve personnel to adapt management systems to meet new expectations. Evolve’s professional support manager has high expectations for the health and safety provision for children and adults. She also provides a professional development role, especially for provisionally registered teachers. Both the preschool’s management and its service providers demonstrate the capacity to guide ongoing improvement.

Key Next Steps

During the review process preschool leaders and ERO agreed that key next steps include:

  • increasing the quality and challenge of learning opportunities, especially those provided in the outdoors
  • continuing to strengthen the preschool’s bicultural practices
  • improving the way teachers use assessment of children’s learning to plan more individualised programmes
  • focusing programme evaluations more directly on the quality of children’s learning experiences
  • continuing to help parents appreciate the value of play-based early childhood education and how it supports children’s transition to school.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tuatara Preschool 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 Tuatara Preschool will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

18 December 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

Browns Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10065

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

40

Gender composition

Boys 22 Girls 18

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

South African

other

1

25

8

4

2

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2015

Date of this report

18 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012

 

Education Review

May 2009

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.