Active Explorers Ellerslie

Education institution number:
25423
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
94
Telephone:
Address:

75 Ballarat Street, Ellerslie, Auckland

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1 Evaluation of Active Explorers Ellerslie

How well placed is Active Explorers Ellerslie to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Active Explorers Ellerslie is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Active Explorers Ellerslie provides full day care and education for 100 children, including up to 35 aged under two years. Children are cared for in two separate learning areas. Within these two areas children are grouped according to age into five rooms with shared outdoor play spaces. Children are from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and include families of Māori and Pacific heritage.

The centre was previously known as Natural Steps Early Childhood Centre Ellerslie. Since the 2015 ERO review the centre has had a change of ownership and is now part of the Evolve Education Group (EEG). Visiting personnel from EEG support the centre in its day-to-day operations and long-term planning and development projects.

Leaders are the centre manager and head teachers in each of the learning spaces. Eleven other qualified teachers and eight unqualified, some of whom are teachers in training, complete the teaching team. Their philosophy focuses on the uniqueness of each child and growing inquiring minds. Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are acknowledged as guiding documents.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO. Key next steps from the 2015 report included strengthening the use of children's voices in planning the programme, bicultural practices, and embedding the centre's guiding values to enhance curriculum implementation. There has been progress in some of these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of ten reviews in the Evolve Education Group.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy positive interactions with their teachers. They are confident and articulate and engage in play with their peers and teachers. Children have a sense of ownership and belonging in the centre environment.

Infants and toddlers benefit from high adult-to-child ratios. They are relaxed in their environment and receive quality care and attention. Teachers respect children's preferences and understand their individual communication styles well. They have a strong focus on using effective strategies to develop children's oral language skills.

Children experience karakia and waiata throughout daily routines. Te reo Māori is very visible in the centre environment. Teachers could now use te reo more widely in their interactions with children. Excursions outside the centre to the local library have provided good opportunities for children to engage with myths and legends from Māori and Pacific cultures. Visitors from Orakei Marae have shared te ao Māori knowledge.

Teachers provide well-considered learning environments, which are attractive, uncluttered and allow easy access to resources. Consideration could now be given to how well outdoor environments offer physical challenges for all children, and how well the range of learning resources available promote children's more complex thinking.

A wide range of experiences are provided for children. Teachers incorporate mathematics and literacy learning into the programme. Science features well in explorations into a nearby natural area and in different activities provided. There are good opportunities for children to explore their community, and visitors come in to the centre to share expertise in a range of different topics.

Teachers plan programmes based on their observations of children. Links to Te Whāriki are added to learning stories through an on-line resource. The early childhood curriculum could be used more effectively by teachers to plan meaningful programmes for individual children based on their interests, strengths and dispositions. Routines and transition to school programmes could be reviewed using Te Whāriki to ensure they align with current theory.

Teachers and leaders use a range of strategies to gather parent contributions to surveys and internal evaluation projects. They could now strengthen learning partnerships with parents and whānau by gathering and responding to parents' aspirations for their child's learning.

EEG leaders have established an effective process for centres to implement internal evaluation. Leaders in this service could strengthen how they use this process by beginning with an evaluative question. Strategic and annual plans continue to be developed. EEG provides a framework of policies and procedures to guide centre practices. This framework continues to be reviewed. An effective process for staff appraisal is in place. EEG needs to ensure managers are implementing this process effectively.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps include:

A deeper engagement with Te Whāriki 2017, to support:

  • more meaningful programme planning for individuals and groups of children

  • building partnerships with parents and whānau based on children's learning

  • the cultures of all children being more visible in their portfolios of learning

  • the review of routines and transition to school programmes in the preschool rooms.

Evolve Education Group senior managers have agreed that key next steps include:

  • ensuring the company's vision and values, goals and principles reflect the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi

  • addressing staffing issues in some centres to ensure quality teaching practices are evident, promoting positive outcomes for all children and ensuring sustainability of quality practice

  • reviewing how effectively the levels and quality of learning resources in centres promote collaboration amongst children and promote more complex thinking

  • providing professional learning and development for leaders and teachers to ensure a deeper engagement with Te Whāriki.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Active Explorers Ellerslie 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 practice, Evolve Education Group senior managers must take steps to ensure that health and safety policies and procedures are implemented rigorously across all services.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

19 December 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

Ellerslie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

25423

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll

105

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Chinese
European
Samoan
other Asian

7%
51%
20%
9%
4%
9%

Percentage of qualified teachers

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

19 December 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

November 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

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 Natural Steps Early Childhood Centre Ellerslie

How well placed is Natural Steps Early Childhood Centre Ellerslie 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

Natural Steps Early Childhood Centre Ellerslie is a privately owned centre that was established in 2009. Originally operating under three separate licences, the service has now been relicensed under a single licence. It offers all day education and care for up to 100 children, including up to 35 under two years of age. The centre operates from a purpose built facility in the commercial area of Ellerslie.

Children and teachers are from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. The centre’s curriculum is underpinned by its guiding values and is influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy and byTe Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The centre is governed by owners who meet regularly with the centre management team and monitor the strategic direction of the centre. The centre is capably led by a centre director and five head teachers. There is a high level of collaboration between teachers, parents and children to help ensure that centre priorities lead to high quality outcomes for children and their families.

The positive features of Natural Steps Early Childhood Centre Ellerslie that were acknowledged in ERO’s 2011 report continue to be evident. Ongoing improvements have enhanced children’s learning experiences and contribute to a centre that is focused on providing a valuable service to families.

The Review Findings

Children are confident and enjoy learning. They settle quickly into the centre environment and make good choices about their learning and play. Children show respect for each other and for their environment. They are encouraged to develop good levels of independence, social competence and the confidence to be self-reliant. Children express their ideas well, and their views are sought and celebrated at the centre.

Children play collaboratively in groups and enjoy periods of extended play. They show a strong sense of belonging and participate in lively and meaningful conversations with adults and each other. Teachers know children and their families well, and mutually respectful interactions are evident. Children are treated as capable learners and teachers provide many opportunities for children to revisit their learning.

The programme and environment allow many opportunities for children to explore and experiment. Natural resources are provided in uncluttered indoor and outdoor spaces where children are free to be creative. Children are encouraged to be self motivated, make decisions, and to take on challenges.

Children up to two years old benefit from a peaceful environment and the nurturing care that teachers provide. They are encouraged to explore and have good opportunities for physical play. They are curious and adventurous when playing in mixed age groups in the centre’s shared outdoor environment.

Children transition within the centre as they are developmentally ready. Care is taken to make children's transition to new rooms a smooth and enjoyable experience. There is particular emphasis in the pre-school rooms for children to be school ready in their thinking, skill and independence levels.

The curriculum is skilfully developed to promote Te Whāriki, Reggio Emilia principles and the centre’s guiding values and philosophy. There are good systems in place to help teachers plan for children’s interests and to progress their learning. Children’s interests and inquiries are an essential part of the learning experience. Children’s individual learning journeys are recorded in portfolios, in both electronic and paper forms. Plans are underway to strengthen online communication with parents to further support partnerships for learning between home and centre.

The centre promotes success for Māori children as Māori. The place of Māori as tangata whenua is acknowledged. Teachers have worked to gain a more in-depth knowledge of tikanga and te reo Māori and to progress the centre’s bicultural curriculum. They are working on a variety of ways for parents and whānau to contribute to the programme.

Teachers work very well in a collaborative team to provide good quality outcomes for children. Their ongoing development is very well supported by management. They use their learning well to promote good quality practice and to build stronger relationships with children and their families and whānau. They continue to take on leadership roles in areas of interest and have opportunity to develop their strengths, upskilling and supporting professional learning in their teams.

High levels of self review and professional dialogue contribute to a culture of ongoing improvement. A new performance management system is being used with head teachers before being adopted more widely across the teaching staff. Specific feedback from centre leaders could help teachers to develop relevant performance goals.

Key Next Steps

ERO, the owner and centre director agree that key next steps for improvement include:

  • extending the use of children’s voice in planning and assessment and centre development
  • continuing to embed the centre’s guiding values to enhance curriculum implementation
  • using resources such as Tataiako to further strengthen teacher’s cultural competence and bicultural practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Natural Steps Early Childhood Centre Ellerslie 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 Natural Steps Early Childhood Centre Ellerslie will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

11 February 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

Ellerslie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

25423

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll

113

Gender composition

Boys 60

Girls 53

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Samoan

Tongan

other Asian

other European

3

92

7

4

3

1

1

2

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 2014

Date of this report

11 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 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.