Aro Arataki Children's Centre

Education institution number:
20062
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Hospital Play/Recreation Programme
Total roll:
53
Telephone:
Address:

212 Greenlane West, Epsom, Auckland

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1 Evaluation of Aro Arataki Children's Centre

How well placed is Aro Arataki Children's 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

Aro Arataki Children's Centre is situated on the Greenlane Hospital site and provides a service between 6:30am and 6pm for the children of staff of the Auckland District Health Board. The centre is licensed for 75 children, including 40 up to two years. The community and staff team are culturally diverse. Children of Asian ethnicities make up 26 percent of the roll, there are significant numbers from Pacific and Indian backgrounds, and eight percent are Māori.

Previously, children were divided into three separate groups in different rooms. Since ERO's 2013 review, these rooms and the outdoor play areas have been opened up so that children can move freely throughout the centre and children of different ages can play together. A central 'art studio' has been developed, and the shared kitchen and dining areas have been moved.

The centre is governed by a parent committee. The staff team is led by the longstanding centre director and an educational leader, who was appointed after the 2013 ERO review. The team includes 18 registered teachers, many of whom have been at the centre for some time. There are two 'pedagogical leaders' who oversee programmes in the Kiwi area of the centre where infants and toddlers spend the majority of their time, and in the Tui area for older children.

The centre's philosophy emphasises the importance of respectful and responsive relationships, recognition of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the celebration of diversity. The philosophy links well to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and promotes children's development as self-directed, independent learners.

ERO's 2013 report noted that since the 2012 review there had been improvements in learning environments and assessment practices. In 2013 ERO recommended that centre leaders develop long-term and annual goals to improve the quality of teaching, improve teachers' understanding about good quality assessment, and establish effective evaluation systems and practices.

The Review Findings

The strength of the Aro Arataki Children's Centre remains its strong philosophical and practical commitment to family and community, and a sense of inclusion and belonging. The centre director supports and encourages families and staff. As many family members work on the surrounding Greenlane site, some are able to visit their children during the day and spend time at the centre.

Children relate well together and are part of an extended community with a sense of family and connectedness. They play imaginatively in small groups and explore the environment independently. Tuakana/teina relationships are apparent when older children include and support the younger children in their play.

Some teachers are particularly enthusiastic about promoting bicultural practices. They are working to increase the integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori across the centre. A positive feature of programmes is the celebration of cultural festivals and events. Children's learning experiences are also extended through a 'city outlook' programme that enables them to spend time in neighbouring Cornwall Park and to visit other facilities in Auckland city, often using public transport.

Teachers in the Tui area have begun to consider ways to improve their support for children's learning as they approach the time when they will transition to school. To help achieve this aim, they should ensure that older children have ready access to a selection of books, educational resources and equipment that are challenging and stimulating. This better access would enable children to freely investigate ideas or projects that interest them, over extended periods of time. Opportunities and tools for children to experiment with literacy, science and mathematical concepts should be easily available throughout the centre for children to include in their play. Provision for infants and toddlers in the Kiwi rooms would also be enhanced by ready access to more attractively presented, inviting and well-resourced play areas.

Each teacher has a group of children for whom they are the 'key teacher', responsible for assessment, planning and partnerships with parents. Children's individual assessment records contain some good quality information that shows their developing dispositions and learning progress. These records and other programme documentation could be enhanced by more frequently including parents' contributions. They could also show how teachers plan responses to what they have identified about children's interests and learning progress. Teachers should ensure that this planning is readily available to guide all teachers who may work with those children during the course of a day.

Teachers appreciate the support that they receive from centre leaders and the opportunities that they have for professional learning and development. They continue to explore ways to manage the new one-centre approach without separate age groups, and how to best respond to and support each child in this context. The educational leader continues to promote, and is confident that teachers are becoming more aware of, an intentional approach to facilitating learning. She has a considered approach to improving teaching practices and enhancing learning experiences and outcomes for children.

Members of the parent committee have a variety of skills. They are currently reviewing their governance roles and identifying ways to improve communications within the centre and with whānau. The centre director manages a wide range of systems in this complex setting. She and the educational leader report regularly to the committee. These reports could now be more clearly linked to strategic and annual plans and the Licensing Criteria for early childhood services. They could provide more specific assurance for the committee about the quality of programmes for children and that legal requirements are being met.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that a key next step is to strengthen their internal evaluation systems and practices, using research and indicators of best practice to help make decisions about centre developments. They could now work with teachers to:

  • evaluate the extent to which professional learning and discussions are resulting in improvements in the quality of environments, programmes and outcomes for children

  • prioritise improvements in the learning environments and teaching practices, to foster children's sustained engagement in learning through complex, self-directed play

increase understanding about in-depth, improvement focused evaluation and reflect critically on the quality and impact of teaching practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Aro Arataki Children's 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.

To improve current practices, the committee needs to ensure that the performance of all staff is regularly appraised. Appraisal, staff appointment and other policies need to be reviewed, aligned and updated to reflect the requirements of the Education Council of New Zealand and the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Aro Arataki Children's Centre will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 June 2016

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

Greenlane, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20062

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 40 aged under 2

Service roll

76

Gender composition

Boys 38 Girls 38

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Chinese

Indian

Tongan

Cook Island Māori

Fijian

Samoan

other European

6

23

11

9

8

4

2

2

2

7

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

1:9

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

29 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

June 2013

Education Review

April 2012

Education Review

March 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.

1 Background

Introduction

A Supplementary Review is undertaken at the discretion of a National Manager, Review Services in the Education Review Office (ERO).

A supplementary review evaluates the extent and effectiveness of actions a centre has taken towards addressing issues specified in a previous education review and/or any additional areas identified since that review.

Terms of Reference

This supplementary review is based on an evaluation of the performance of the Aro Arataki Children's Centre governing body and management in relation to areas identified in the April 2012 ERO report or issues identified since that review. The terms of reference for this review are to investigate:

  • the quality of teaching and learning
  • the effectiveness of programme planning, assessment and evaluation
  • the extent to which self review is resulting in improved outcomes for children
  • any other issues relevant to management and operation of the centre that arise during the course of this review.

2 Evaluation Findings

Background

Aro Arataki Children’s Centre provides education and care services for children between six months and five years of age. It caters primarily for the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) staff at Greenlane Hospital in Auckland. The centre is divided into three indoor and two outdoor areas to provide for the different ages of children attending.

The centre is governed effectively by an elected parent committee. They have recently employed an education leader. This new position has a particular focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning practices. Daily management of the centre is delegated to an experienced centre director. Three area leaders guide programme management and teaching practices in each of the three areas.

The 2012 ERO report identified that the programme planning, assessment and evaluation and self-review practices should be improved. Centre managers needed to establish effective leadership systems and support teachers to improve their professional understandings and practices.

In 2012, the quality and variety of resources required significant improvement to promote children’s purposeful play and learning. Managers and teachers recognised that they needed to review the quality of resources and the learning environment in order to support positive outcomes for children.

Good progress has been made since the 2012 ERO review. Managers and teachers have responded positively to the report and have taken a number of steps to improve centre-wide practices.

Areas of progress

The parent committee has prioritised improving the quality of teaching and learning by appointing an education leader. This position has the potential to significantly improve the quality of teaching practices. The three area leaders are developing a good understanding of their role in supporting and guiding teaching. A current review of the centre philosophy is likely to provide clear direction and expectations for teachers.

Teachers plan programmes in response to children’s individual and group interests. Records of learning show children’s participation in the programme and increasingly identify the learning that happens in play. Examples of effective assessment documentation could be used as tools to promote consistent good quality assessment practices.

Teaching teams have improved the quality of the learning environments. All areas have attractive and inviting indoor and outdoor settings. Infants have access to a good range of resources that are displayed at their height. Older children participate in a range of literacy experiences. The careful presentation of equipment prompts children to make choices about their play. Displays provide opportunities for children to revisit learning at the centre. Children are actively engaged in the programme.

Teachers are continuing to build their understanding of self review. The use of a variety of self review formats provides a basis for recording teachers’ ideas. Self review has focussed on improving the centre environment. Teachers are now beginning to review centre policies and routines.

Areas for further improvement

ERO and centre leaders agree that next steps for further improvement include:

  • developing clear annual and long-term goals that focus on improving the quality of teaching practice
  • seeking and responding to parents’ aspirations for their child’s learning
  • utilising teacher strengths to improve centre-wide understandings of good quality assessment practices
  • evaluating programme provision, self review and strategic goals to identify improved outcomes for children.

3 Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again as part of the regular review cycle.

Dale Bailey National

Manager Review Services Northern Region

24 June 2013

Information about the Service

Location

Greenlane, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20062

Licence type

All Day Education and Care Services

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 40 aged under 2

Service roll

79

Gender composition

Boys 48 Girls 31

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Indian

South East Asian

Tongan

Middle Eastern

Other

42

5

11

7

4

4

2

4

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

24 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2012

March 2009

June 2006