UNITEC Early Learning Centre

Education institution number:
20032
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
68
Telephone:
Address:

Building 57 Carrington Road, Mount Albert, Auckland

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1 Evaluation of UNITEC Early Learning Centre

How well placed is UNITEC Early Learning Centre 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

UNITEC Early Learning Centre is a community based centre located on the UNITEC Mt Albert campus. The two separate licences for Whare Pukeko and Whare Tui, were merged into one licence in January 2014. The centre is now licensed for 103 children, including 24 children up to 2 years of age.

An executive committee has a governance role for the centre. A centre manager, appointed in 2017, has oversight of day-to-day operations and the curriculum. Leaders in Whare Pukeko, Tui Iti and Tui Nui rooms each work with teams of six to nine qualified teachers.

The centre's philosophy values 'playfulness, courage and resilience, nurturing a love of nature, relationships with families and community'. The majority of children attending are Chinese or Pākehā, with smaller numbers of Māori and Pacific, and children of other ethnicities. The staff come from diverse backgrounds, reflecting the centre's community.

ERO's 2014 and 2015 reviews of the centres suggested improvements in the areas of internal evaluation, child-led learning, planning and assessment, te reo me ōna tikanga Māori, and the appraisal process. The centre has progressed significantly in developing bicultural practices and appraisals, and also continues to make progress in other areas.

The Review Findings

Children are supported to be happy and settled in the centre. Teachers know children well and interact with them in attentive and responsive ways. They encourage children to be self-managing and independent. Warm, nurturing and caring relationships with children are evident.

Children access well-resourced environments with clearly defined areas of play. They are able to make choices and some decisions about their play and learning. Transitions within the centre and on to school have been reviewed by the teaching team. Thoughtful practices are helping to ensure continuity of learning for children as they transition to school.

Teachers' professional learning and a recent review of bicultural practices, have led to a shared understanding of te ao Māori, and the importance of promoting te reo and tikanga Māori. The centre has worked with the local marae and consulted with local kaumātua. Continuing support for teachers to integrate te reo Māori into the programme will help support Māori children in their language and identity as Māori in the centre. Leaders express their commitment to weaving manaakitanga into centre practices and assessments of children's learning.

Teachers foster children's friendships, and create an atmosphere that invites children to work in small groups. Children demonstrate a good sense of belonging. They participate in tuakana/teina interactions, which are valued. In Tui Iti, teachers are skilful at ensuring that children have time and space to play and learn with and alongside each other.

Portfolios are an attractive record of children's participation in the programme. Assessments demonstrate teachers' knowledge of individual children and their progress over time. Some of these assessments identify children's preferred ways of learning (schemas and dispositions). The team should consider ways to achieve greater consistency in implementing this good practice.

Teachers skilfully recognise the learning happening for individuals and groups of children. They could include their intentional responses to this learning in programme planning and evaluation. It would be worthwhile for teachers to increase the extent to which they evaluate the effectiveness of their own teaching strategies and their impact on learning outcomes for children.

The centre has a well-developed sense of community. The team liaises with the wider UNITEC community. Parents participate in, and occasionally lead centre events and celebrations. This involvement is indicative of the robust partnerships that the centre has formed with its community.

The centre manager aims to develop staff leadership capacity. The team has embarked on a journey to investigate the implications for their practice and documentation, of the revised early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. It is timely for the new manager and teaching teams to review the service's philosophy statement and the extent to which it guides teachers' practice. It would also be appropriate to include explicit reference to Te Whāriki and also to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Strategic planning and philosophy review are areas of ongoing focus for the team. The executive committee has helped draft the current strategic plan, which includes clearly planned outcomes. Centre managers have identified the need for professional learning to help differentiate annual and strategic planning. Regular policy reviews and good systems at the centre contribute towards sustaining day to day operations and the stability of the teaching team. Regular internal evaluation includes teacher reflections and the use of evidence. The recently improved appraisal process aligns with the Education Council teaching standards. 'Teaching as inquiry' is an integral aspect of these appraisals.

Key Next Steps

Developing a collaborative culture for Whare Pukeko and Whare Tui is a strategic emphasis for centre leaders. Key next steps to support ongoing centre development include:

  • continuing to strengthen team understanding and use of Te Whāriki 2017 to enhance assessment and planning
  • continuing to develop teaching practices that challenge children's thinking, and support them to lead their learning
  • evaluating the impact of strategic plans and developments on outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of UNITEC Early Learning Centre 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 UNITEC Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

12 June 2018

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

Mt Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20032

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

103 children, including up to 24 aged under 2

Service roll

96

Gender composition

Boys 49 Girls 47

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Middle Eastern
Pasifika
other European
other

8
25
28
8
4
8
15

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

12 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2014

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

May 2011

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 UNITEC Early Learning Centre

How well placed is UNITEC Early Learning Centre 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

UNITEC Early Learning Centre is a community based centre located on the UNITEC campus in Mt Albert, Auckland. In January 2014 the centre managers merged its two centres, Whare Tui and Whare Pukeko, into one licence. As Whare Pukeko was reviewed in 2013, this review focuses on the education and care of the children under two years old in Whare Tui Iti, and those over two years old in Whare Tui Nui. There are five teaching staff in Whare Tui Iti and seven teaching staff in Whare Tui Nui. Ten of the twelve staff are qualified teachers. Most staff have been at the centre for over three years. They are supported by a centre manager, administrator, cook and support worker.

The centre’s philosophy acknowledges children as powerful learners from birth, embracingTe Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and the Reggio Emilio and RIE philosophies. Centre leaders and teachers are focused on positive outcomes for children. They work well together as a cohesive and supportive team. Staff demonstrate a commitment to continual learning and to offering a bicultural curriculum.

The centre works in close partnership with UNITEC particularly through the Faculty of Education and is involved in supporting student practicum. Many of the centre families are UNITEC employees or students. Several staff make good use of their strengths in speaking children’s home languages to help children to settle into the centre and to strengthen relationships with families.

The centre manager and lead teachers are working towards their strategic goals through a focus on inter-relationships, partnerships and whanaungatanga. This cohesive approach is leading to a better shared understanding amongst centre managers and teachers of progress and the future direction of the centre.

The Review Findings

Children have a strong sense of belonging in the centre and are settled and happy in their play. Their independence and self management are promoted through constant interaction with adults in a calm, homely environment. Children’s opinions are valued and respected, and they enjoy many opportunities to contribute and share their ideas. They are supported to make choices in their play and to explore a broad range of learning areas including early literacy, numeracy and the bicultural curriculum.

Whare Tui is an attractive and comfortable space that invites children’s creativity, exploration and communication. The infant and toddler room strongly reflects the Reggio Emilio philosophy with an emphasis on natural resources. Teachers have carefully considered how children interact with the environment and provide age appropriate spaces. Each Whare is richly resourced to cater for the particular developmental stages of the children.

Teachers have caring and nurturing relationships with the children. Teachers collaboratively support children’s wellbeing and work closely with parents to ensure that children are well supported through transition between rooms. The Whare Tui Iti staff have reviewed their caregiving systems and routines to respectfully meet the specific needs of the infants and toddlers.

Teachers use a range of approaches for different assessment purposes. They have recently undertaken a team review of the curriculum to ensure that it is more child-centred, and are continuing to develop a shared understanding of what this means for their teaching practice. Teachers have also undertaken professional learning and development to help them promote communication and exploration for infants and toddlers. Parents report that they feel confident that they are kept well informed of their children’s learning and development.

Centre managers are strengthening the centre’s self-review framework. They have a collaborative leadership style that is contributing to a shared understanding of self review amongst staff. Teachers engage in opportunities to share their strengths, develop leadership skills and to contribute to decision making. They have accessed professional learning and development to build staff understanding of self review that focuses on positive outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree that the next key steps are to:

  • increase opportunities for children to take the lead in their learning
  • continue to develop a shared understanding of self review that is linked to the philosophy, vision and strategic direction of the centre, and inclusive of the Ministry of Education documents, including the Pasifika Education Plan and Ka Hikitia
  • continue to develop teachers’ confidence and knowledge in the use of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori
  • continue to strengthen the teacher appraisal process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of UNITEC Early Learning Centre 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 UNITEC Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

24 June 2014

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

Mt Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20032

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

103 children, including up to 24 aged under 2

Service roll

111

Gender composition

Girls 59 Boys 52

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Middle Eastern

Samoan

South East Asian

Tongan

18

47

32

2

3

5

3

1

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

May 2014

Date of this report

24 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2011

 

Education Review

May 2008

 

Education Review

May 2005

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.