BestStart Grey Lynn

Education institution number:
10284
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
48
Telephone:
Address:

38 Sackville Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland

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1 Evaluation of First Steps Grey Lynn

How well placed is First Steps Grey Lynn 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

First Steps Grey Lynn is licensed to provide full-day education and care for 42 children, including up to 18 under two years of age. Children enrolled at the centre include those who live locally and those whose parents work in the area.

The centre is part of the national BestStart Education and Care Centres organisation, which provides an overarching governance and management framework as well as personnel to support individual centres.

The centre provides for children in two age-related rooms, each with an outdoor area. Those up to two and a half years of age are in the Whare and the older children are in the Studio. A cook is employed to provide nutritious meals for the children.

The centre manager was appointed approximately a year ago. She provides professional leadership for the staff and attends to the day-to-day management of the centre. She is currently involved in recruiting head teachers for each of the rooms, and is mentoring teachers who are new to the profession. A part-time administrator is employed to assist the manager.

The philosophy that guides teaching and learning is closely aligned with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It acknowledges parents as first teachers, and the importance of working in partnership with whānau. It also recognises the role of teachers in extending children's thinking and language. A recent evaluation of the philosophy has increased the emphasis on health, and on sustaining the physical environment.

The 2013 ERO report acknowledged positive relationships in the centre, and with children's whānau. It recognised the progress being made in programme planning and management systems. Key next steps included strengthening internal evaluation and improving the education programme for older children. The new manager plans to continue work in these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of four early childhood reviews in the BestStart Education and Care Centres organisation.

The Review Findings

Children continue to benefit from positive and supportive relationships with teachers. Teachers take time to get to know the children and their families. They often have sustained conversations with children providing opportunities for developing their oral language. Increased opportunities for parents to contribute their ideas to the programme have helped to strengthen the partnership between parents and teachers.

Children enjoy long periods of uninterrupted play. They are able to access a wide range of resources and move freely between indoor and outdoor areas. The centre environment promotes children's interests and supports their learning. The increased focus on environmental sustainability, initiated by parents' feedback, has led to initiatives that have then led to new interests for children.

Infants and toddlers are well cared for and have many opportunities to learn. Teachers talk with them frequently, allowing them to contribute to their programme. They respect children by explaining what they are doing when carrying out care routines.

Centre staff have identified that they want to strengthen their understanding about and confidence in providing a curriculum that is more reflective of bicultural Aotearoa New Zealand.

The transition of children from the Whare to the Studio is helped by the two areas being adjacent to one another, allowing the two age groups to communicate easily. The younger children have many opportunities to get to know teachers from the Studio.

Teachers support older children and their families to prepare for school. Where appropriate, they work with local schools to clarify expectations and ensure that children have the skills and knowledge to successfully make the transition.

The manager recognises the importance of having a centre culture where there is a shared understanding of purpose and opportunities to engage in professional conversations. Developing this culture will be a focus once the new head teachers have been appointed. The manager is exploring how staff meetings can have a greater focus on teaching and learning.

BestStart supports teachers’ professional growth well. The organisation has reviewed its appraisal system and provides targeted professional learning and development.

BestStart has useful internal evaluation systems for monitoring service operations. These include regular management meetings and an internal audit process (QEC). Centre staff also use internal evaluation to review aspects of centre operations and would benefit from further support to strengthen their evaluation practices.

The centre’s strategic plan is linked to the BestStart vision and strategic plan. Strategic planning would be strengthened by ensuring that goals are clearly stated, action plans are developed to achieve the goals and that progress towards the goals is monitored. 

Key Next Steps

Managers agree that areas for development for the centre include:

  • strengthening internal evaluation and strategic planning

  • building a professional culture with staff

  • strengthening partnerships with parents

  • strengthening the curriculum so that it promotes more complex play for older children, and makes the centre's commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi more visible.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of First Steps Grey Lynn 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 First Steps Grey Lynn will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

3 April 2017

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

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10284

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

42 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll

54

Gender composition

Boys 31 Girls 23

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Samoan

other ethnicities

5

38

3

3

5

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2017

Date of this report

3 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

December 2013

Previously reviewed as: ABC Grey Lynn

Education Review

February 2010

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.

1 Evaluation of First Steps Grey Lynn

How well placed is First Steps Grey Lynn 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

First Steps Grey Lynn was last reviewed by ERO in 2010. The centre was known as ABC Grey Lynn at that time. In late 2012 the Kidicorp organisation became the new service provider and the name of the centre was changed to First Steps Grey Lynn. The centre is licensed for 42 children, including 18 under two years. The services are flexible, allowing children to attend full-time, part-time or for four hour sessions.

The centre is organised into two separate areas to suit children of different age groups. Children transition to the older group at about two and a half years. Both areas are sunny and spacious with large outdoor areas. The off street parking and surrounding trees contribute to the centre’s private and attractive setting. Parents who live and work near the city find the centre’s location very convenient.

The past twelve months have been a period of significant redevelopment for the centre. Priorities were set and self-review audits were carried out at all levels of operation. Health and safety systems have been improved and the indoor and outdoor play areas considerably enhanced. New equipment has been carefully selected to strengthen programme goals.

The improvements have been made with the capable support of Kidicorp business and professional services managers. They have appointed new staff, implemented up to date policies and procedures, and recently selected a new centre manager to sustain and further develop the quality of the services.

The Review Findings

Children’s wellbeing and learning are central to the centre’s new philosophy and programme. Teachers create a home-like environment that encourages social interactions and learning through play. The menu provided for children is nutritious and well planned. Physical activity, imaginative and creative play is supported by high quality equipment that is accessible to both younger and older children.

Children are confident and active participants in the programme. They explore the centre environment and make good use of the attractively organised areas of play. The programme is free flowing and uninterrupted by routines. Children make decisions about their participation in individual and group play. Literacy is strongly promoted throughout the environment, through activities, and in conversations between children and teachers.

Children engage positively with one another and make friends. They are supported to take leadership roles and to act responsibly and kindly. Teachers encourage children’s self-help skills and independence. The environment for infants and toddlers is calm and settled and well suited to their developmental needs. Teachers in the under two area are gentle and reassuring as they invite children to explore learning in physical and sensory ways.

Teachers are developing an emergent curriculum that is focused on noticing and responding to how children play and learn. They are respectful of children’s needs and recognise their different interests. The Kidicorp professional learning programme is helping the teaching teams to develop a shared understanding of good planning and assessment in relation to the centre’s new philosophy.

Teachers are exploring ways to extend bicultural components of the programme. Some teachers are modelling the use of te reo and tikanga Māori for others. The environment could reflect more of these approaches, and children’s cultural backgrounds and home languages could be better documented to support teachers’ cultural responsiveness.

Parents and whānau are very welcome in the centre. Teachers encourage parent involvement and record their comments and feedback. The use of children’s portfolios to show children’s learning progress is developing. Centre managers are also considering ways to personalise the care records of younger children so that parents have more ready access to daily information.

Teachers have contributed to developing a new centre philosophy. Management systems and support for staff have improved considerably. The recent appointment of an office administrator allows the new centre manager to be the centre’s educational leader. Time spent with teachers evaluating practice is valuable in building reflective teaching teams and strengthening self review.

Kidicorp has appropriate long-term plans to continue the positive development of the past year. The well designed appraisal system that is being implemented this year has the potential to strengthen teacher reflection and inquiry. With the continued support of the Kidicorp Professional Services Manager and the Business Manager, the new centre manager is well placed to sustain centre improvements.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree that the next stage of development should focus on:

  • implementing a readiness for school programme that supports children and parents with the process of transitioning from the centre to school
  • continuing to strengthen the use of self review to evaluate programme planning, assessment and evaluation
  • ensuring that the programme for older children encourages complex and sustained play.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of First Steps Grey Lynn 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.

First Steps managers have prioritised the review of all health and safety procedures and provided training for staff relating to the 2008 ECE licensing criteria.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of First Steps Grey Lynn will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

2 December 2013

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

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10284

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

42 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll

46

Gender composition

Boys 26

Girls 20

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Dutch

French

other

4

23

9

2

2

6

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

October 2013

Date of this report

2 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Previous review as ABC Grey Lynn

Education Review

February 2010

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.