Happy Little Learners

Education institution number:
34108
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
26
Telephone:
Address:

12 Fenwick Crescent, Hamilton Central, Hamilton

View on map

Happy Little Learners

1 ERO’s Judgements

Akarangi | Quality Evaluation evaluates the extent to which this early childhood service has the learning and organisational conditions to support equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners. Te Ara Poutama Indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most are the basis for making judgements about the effectiveness of the service in achieving equity and excellence for all learners. Judgements are made in relation to the Outcomes Indicators, Learning and Organisational Conditions. The Evaluation Judgement Rubric derived from the indicators, is used to inform ERO’s judgements about this service’s performance in promoting equity and excellence.

ERO’s judgements for Happy Little Learners are as follows:

Outcome Indicators

(What the service knows about outcomes for learners)


Whakaū Embedding

Ngā Akatoro Domains

 

Learning Conditions

Organisational Conditions

Whakaū Embedding

Whakaū Embedding

2 Context of the Service

Happy Little Learners is a mixed-age service proving education and care within a multicultural community. A quarter of the enrolled children are Māori and a small number are of Pacific heritage. The centre manager and owner are responsible for governance. A curriculum leader has oversight of teaching and learning.

3 Summary of findings

Children are immersed in a play-based curriculum that is predominantly deliberate in fostering their learning and development. Leaders and teachers facilitate this by:

  • Valuing and promoting tuakana teina relationships, where older children guide younger children’s learning in a whānau like setting.

  • Providing a rich environment where oral language, foundational literacy and numeracy skills are gained, and connection to home languages are maintained. Teachers have identified the need to increase visibility of individual children’s cultures, languages and identities in documentation.

  • Positively nurturing the ways in which children learn, and social and emotional competencies. Children are developing independence, confidence, friendships, and a strong sense of identity.

  • Honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi through the integration of aspects of te ao Māori. All children experience elements of a bicultural curriculum. Whakapapa connections of tamariki Māori are explored and valued within the programme.

  • Maintaining strong reciprocal relationships with whānau, where wide-ranging information about home and centre lives is shared in different ways.

Teachers are not yet consistently incorporating parents’ aspirations into planning systems to influence children’s learning.

The service has sound organisational conditions where the learning and wellbeing of children are primary considerations in decision making. These conditions contribute to the provision of intentional teaching that positively impact on children and their whānau:

  • Equitable access to learning is well understood at governance and leadership levels, promoting participation, inclusion and support for families.

  • Relational trust supports staff to work collaboratively.

Internal evaluation is yet to provide a clear picture of how equitable children’s learning outcomes are.

4 Improvement actions

Happy Little Learners will include the following actions in its Quality Improvement Planning:

  • Consistently incorporate parent aspirations through planning, assessment, and evaluation processes to impact children’s learning over time and strengthen learning focused partnerships.

  • Increase the reflection of all children’s individual culture, languages, and identities through assessment practices, particularly for children of Pacific heritage.

  • Strengthen internal evaluation to better understand how individual children and groups of children are progressing in terms of the valued outcomes in Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

5 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Happy Little Learners completed an ERO 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; safety checking; teacher registration; ratios)

  • relevant evacuation procedures and practices.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Phil Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)
Central Region | Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

10 November 2022

6 About the Early Childhood Service

Early Childhood Service Name

Happy Little Learners

Profile Number

34108

Location

Hamilton

Service type

Education and care service

Number licensed for

23 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Percentage of qualified teachers

80-99%

Service roll

21

Review team on site

October 2022

Date of this report

10 November 2022

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, June 2018; Education Review, September 2015

Happy Little Learners - 20/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Happy Little Learners

How well placed is Happy Little Learners 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

Happy Little Learners is a privately owned, mixed-age, full-day education and care centre located in the Hamilton suburb of Hillcrest. It is licensed for 23 children including up to 13 aged under two. The current roll of 19 includes four Māori and children from a range of diverse cultural backgrounds.

The teaching team comprises of three qualified teachers, including the centre supervisor. The owner and supervisor have remained in their roles since the previous ERO review in 2015.

The owner and centre staff responded positively to areas for further development noted in the 2015 ERO report. Relevant professional development has been provided to improve assessment, teaching and self-review practices. The centre supervisor has also attended training in the revised early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki.

The centre's philosophy is underpinned by an emphasis on the belief that “happy kids learn best”. Teachers aim to support children to grow as competent, confident learners and communicators. The philosophy also prioritises learning through play, recognition of children’s unique strengths and interests, developing enthusiasm for learning and implementing the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Review Findings

The daily programme effectively reflects the centre’s philosophy. Teachers demonstrate respectful, responsive relationships with children along with nurture, care and inclusion. They communicate effectively with children of diverse cultures and ages, recognising the non-verbal cues of infants and children who are English language learners. Children's oral language is developed through stories, rhymes, songs and conversations. Te reo and tikanga Māori are increasingly integrated within routines and interactions. Positive relationships among staff, parents and children contribute to the centre's welcoming, home-like atmosphere.

Teachers have established a warm, calm, nurturing environment for infants and toddlers. Care routines are flexible, respectful and mindful of the preferences of children and their parents. Teachers communicate frequently with parents through notebooks, profile books and informal discussions. Children's social competence and self-management skills are encouraged and have reinforced positive tuakana teina relationships in this mixed-age setting.

Children benefit from participating in a responsive programme. A variety of suitable, easily accessed resources provide children with opportunities to engage in learning experiences of their choice. Learning is made visible in wall displays and profile books. Flexible participation in the "Big Kids" programme provides opportunities for the development of individual literacy, numeracy, science and social skills and facilitates transition to school. The centre's spacious backyard offers a wide range of possibilities for exploration, physical activity and dramatic play.

Teachers make good use of individual children's assessment information to support their planning and extend learning opportunities. They are beginning to include parent and children's comments as part of assessment and planning processes. Attractive profile books include regular updates about children's learning, with monthly summaries for each child. Teachers are beginning to make use of parents' and children's comments to enhance planning and assessment.

The centre supervisor provides strong, collaborative leadership and models positive early childhood teaching practice. She is promoting an active response to the revised Te Whāriki document by sharpening the focus on local contexts and the cultural heritage of children and whānau. Teachers are empowered to use their personal strengths to extend children’s learning. Spontaneous self reviews result in improved outcomes for children.

Centre operations are systematically managed and well resourced. The philosophy has been reviewed by the current teaching team and parents. The annual plan gives clear management direction and is shared with staff each month. Policies and procedures are regularly reviewed. The owner continues to provide suitable resourcing for equipment and staff professional development.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that the key next steps are to:

  • continue to collaboratively develop strategic planning processes and align to self review, teaching as inquiry and professional development

  • implement robust teacher appraisal processes

  • further develop assessment procedures to reflect children's culture and show complexity of learning over time.

Recommendation

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provide centre-wide professional development to support the implementation of appraisal and teacher registration processes that meet Education Council requirements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Happy Little Learners 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 meet the requirements of the Education Council, centre leaders must implement:

  • a compliant centre-wide staff appraisal process
  • a formal process for supporting teachers towards being issued with their practising teacher certificates.

[Licensing Criteria for Early childhood Education and Care Centres 2008 GMA7]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Happy Little Learners will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

20 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

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

34108

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

23 children, including up to 13 aged under 2

Service roll

19

Gender composition

Boys 11 Girls 8

Ethnic composition

Māori
Indian
African
Asian
Other

4
6
4
3
2

Percentage of qualified teachers

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

June 2018

Date of this report

20 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

September 2015

Supplementary Review

March 2012

Education Review

December 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.

Happy Little Learners - 10/09/2015

1 Evaluation of Happy Little Learners

How well placed is Happy Little Learners 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

Happy Little Learners, previously known as Kids Time Hillcrest, is a privately owned centre that provides a full-day education and care service for children from approximately six months to school age. It is located in Hamilton in a converted home that has a spacious garden area at the rear. The centre is licensed for a maximum of 23 children including up to 10 aged under two. The current roll is 19 children, of whom 5 are identified as Māori. Children of all ages play and socialise together in a family-like environment.

The ownership of the centre has changed twice since the 2012 ERO review. The current owner is based in Auckland and retains responsibility for employment, property and financial management, strategic planning, and compliance with legislative requirements. Permanently employed teachers have been retained, and a high proportion are fully registered teachers. Day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the on-site supervisor who held the same position with the previous owners.

The current philosophy was developed under the previous owners, and the new owners are currently reviewing overall purpose statements, values and strategic direction. The centre responded very positively to recommendations in the 2012 Supplementary ERO report. Staff were involved in professional development related to self review and assessment.

The Review Findings

Children experience caring, affirming and respectful relationships with adults who know them and their families well. Older children are encouraged and expected to be supportive and considerate towards younger children in this mixed-age centre. Routines such as mat and meal times are shared opportunities, which reinforce social skills and build children’s sense of belonging and wellbeing. Some permanent staff make a particular effort to use te reo Māori for greetings, instructions, waiata and karakia. Leaders recognise that strengthening the centre’s bicultural perspective in the programme and operations continues to be an area for improvement and consolidation.

Babies and toddlers have safe and calm areas to explore their environment. They are able to participate in the overall programme offered by the centre. Teachers maintain close communication with the parents of the youngest children to promote continuity and support between home and the centre.

The inside play areas provide opportunities for early literacy and numeracy skills to develop. Creative and imaginative play is encouraged. Teachers, particularly the permanent staff, successfully engage children in learning conversations, which build oral language skills and help children to build their understanding of the world round them. Children and their families are supported as they transition to school.

Children have the opportunity for some appropriate physical challenge and exploration in an outside environment that is extensive and includes mature trees. Currently, children are largely reliant on teachers to access equipment to develop or extend their play. Increasing children’s ongoing access to high quality equipment and resources, in both the indoor and outside environments, is likely to encourage sustained child-initiated learning through play.

Teachers have a focussed responsibility for a group of about 6 or 7 children. Each month teachers prepare a planning chart that summarises the developing interests and strengths that have been observed in their group of children. Teacher planning recognises the learning that is occurring, and considers how they can respond to extend children’s understanding and engagement. In addition, teachers complete a summary to evaluate the previous month’s programme for their children.

Teachers prepare well-presented, illustrated portfolios to show learning and development for children. These portfolios are shared with parents and whānau each month, and their input and contribution is actively encouraged. It is important that teachers continue to strengthen the reflection of each child’s identity, language and heritage in their portfolio.

The previous owners were present on-site for part of each week until they sold the service in early July 2015. They supported the supervisor to work closely with staff to build several aspects of good professional practice. The supervisor has responsibility for performance management of staff and provides feedback from observations of practice. She encourages staff to reflect on their practice through on-line journals.

Externally facilitated professional learning has resulted in effective planning, assessment and evaluation processes being put in place. Self review is robust and has a sustained focus on centre improvement. Recent areas of self review have included social competence of children, and the inside play spaces. Self review should now be extended to identify the areas of the curriculum and programme that are in need of further development.

Despite the changes of ownership, staff have made a conscious effort to maintain close relationships and effective communication with parents and whānau. It is timely for parents and whānau to be consulted on the overall direction of the centre, as new owners establish their presence.

Key Next Steps

ERO, the current owner and supervisor agree that the important next step is to consult with staff, parents and whānau in the review of the centre’s philosophy, mission and values. This process is likely to lead to shared and agreed understandings on:

  • how effective learning is embedded in meaningful play
  • the most appropriate balance between child-initiated and teacher-led aspects of the programme
  • how to realise the potential of the environment to build confident and competent learners.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Happy Little Learners 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 Happy Little Learners will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

10 September 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

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

34108

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

23 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

19

Gender composition

Boys 10 Girls 9

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Cook Island

Chinese

Indian

Latin America

5

10

1

1

1

1

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

July 2015

Date of this report

10 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Supplementary Review

March 2012

 

Education Review

December 2010

 

Education Review

March 2008

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.