Seedlings Preschool

Education institution number:
40075
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
68
Telephone:
Address:

37 Putiki Road, Edgecumbe

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Seedlings Preschool - 25/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Seedlings Preschool

How well placed is Seedlings Preschool 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

Seedlings Preschool is a privately owned, purpose-built, full-day education and care centre, which is licensed for 58 children including 12 under two years old. The centre is located in a rural, farm-based setting between Edgecumbe and Awakeri. It caters for children from birth to school age in three age-based play rooms. Children of all ages share a large outdoor playground, which includes a designated space for infants. The roll of 80 children includes 14 who identify as Māori.

Since the 2014 ERO report, centre ownership has changed, the centre leader has remained in her position and two team leaders have been appointed. There have been staff changes and a significant proportion of teachers have extended their qualifications in early childhood education. Teachers have engaged in a range of professional development opportunities and there has been extensive review and revision of centre policies and procedures.

The centre’s philosophy is to promote play-based learning with a connection to the natural world. Teachers respect the uniqueness of each child and promote their holistic growth and development. Their mission is to 'nourish our seeds to grow as life-long learners with positive mind and grit'.

The Review Findings

Children of all ages benefit from respectful, inclusive teaching practices. Interactions between teachers and children are warm and caring. Children are encouraged to have fun and enjoy their learning and play. Regularly reviewed routines provide structure for daily activities, fostering a strong sense of belonging and providing opportunities for children to contribute to the programme. Teachers develop children's oral language through continual discussion about their learning experiences. An intentional emphasis on developing children’s social skills has enhanced their friendships and positive relationships. Collaborative play is strongly evident.

The curriculum reflects the centre’s philosophy. The child-led programme is based on recognition of children’s strengths, interests and preferences and is strongly influenced by the expansive natural environment. The programme incorporates parents' suggestions, reflects current events and uses teachers’ personal strengths, interests and cultural backgrounds. Te reo and tikanga Māori, waiata, karakia and Māori stories are integrated into the programme along with the development of early literacy, numeracy, science and music skills. Recent focuses on incorporating 'next steps' within learning stories and building bicultural perspectives are adding complexity and meaning to children's individual assessments and planning. Teachers promote children's holistic development, build on their strengths and capabilities, and encourage them to become life-long learners.

Stimulating learning environments encourage children's learning, wondering and creativity. The high quality outdoor area provides children with a wide range of rich learning experiences. Established, spacious, naturally landscaped outdoor spaces include physical challenges, natural resources, a wharenui, a swimming pool, and access to farm animals, orchards and forest trees. Outdoor play areas also promote literacy, numeracy, construction and social play. Indoor play areas make learning visible in wall displays and provide children with ready access to interesting creative resources. Children readily sustain engagement in learning and play throughout the day.

Infants and toddlers receive consistent and responsive care. A high teacher-to-child ratio and the employment of full-time teachers contribute to a consistent and respectful approach to young children’s individual needs, rhythms and routines. Teachers maintain calm, uncluttered learning environments and respond respectfully to children’s verbal and non-verbal cues. Songs, including waiata, and rhymes contribute to oral language development. The environment includes opportunities for sensory stimulation and is well resourced for children to select equipment and activities of their choice. There is an easy flow between playrooms for siblings and friends. Parents have daily opportunities to communicate and discuss matters relating to their children's learning and development. Infants and toddlers are becoming capable and confident communicators and explorers.

Children with diverse and additional needs are very well integrated into the programme. Their individual requirements are addressed naturally. Centre staff work well with parents and external agencies to minimise barriers to learning. Successes are shared and celebrated. It is evident that these children enjoy their daily learning experiences.

The centre leader demonstrates strong professional leadership and works collaboratively with owners/directors and team leaders. Together they have revised the centre’s core values, philosophy and strategic direction, which include a strong emphasis on working with parents and the local community. Centre leaders model effective teaching practices and promote a shared leadership approach. Internal evaluation processes have been strengthened to align with strategic, annual and appraisal goals. Centre leaders have established smooth transition processes into and within the centre. Teachers are continually reviewing and refining practices that assist children's transition to school. Effective leadership practices facilitate positive outcomes for children and families.

Key Next Steps

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

  • further develop centre-wide appraisal systems and processes, and consider providing an external appraiser for the centre leader

  • continue to develop the centre's bicultural practices including regular consultation with Māori whānau

  • ensure that parents and children have intentional opportunities to contribute to individual assessment and planning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Seedlings Preschool 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 Seedlings Preschool will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

25 May 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

Edgecumbe

Ministry of Education profile number

40075

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

58 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll

80

Gender composition

Boys 47

Girls 33

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

14
62
4

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

25 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

June 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.

Seedlings Preschool - 01/12/2014

1 Evaluation of Little Orchard Pre-School

How well placed is Little Orchard Pre-School 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

Little Orchard Preschool in Putiki Road is a privately owned, purpose built, full education and care centre situated in Edgecumbe and is one of four licences under the same ownership located in Whakatane and Edgecumbe. The centre caters for children from birth to school age in four age-based rooms. It is licensed for 58 children including up to 12 who are under 2. The current roll of 73 children has 16 who identify as Māori.

Since the previous ERO review in 2011, the premises have been refurbished. There is now a covered veranda and new play area for babies, new floor coverings, and improvements to the outdoor environment. In addition, the programme for four year olds has been reviewed and enhanced.

Following an extensive self review of overall centre operations by the owners, a business manager was appointed in 2012. This was part of a re-structuring of centre leaders’ roles and responsibilities in order to establish a more collaborative and consultative approach to leadership. A new team leader was appointed at this centre in 2012.

The owners reviewed the centre philosophy and identified the core values of respect, adventure, passion and whānau/family. These values now underpin all aspects of centre culture and development. Children learn and play in an attractive rural setting where they engage in rich and varied learning experiences.

The Review Findings

There is a high level of coordination across all four licences in terms of governance and management. The newly appointed business manager has facilitated a number of improvements including:

  • the alignment of centre systems into a common framework that links to the overall strategic plan
  • a review of human resource processes such as staff appraisal
  • review of all policies and practices, and the establishment of an ongoing cycle of self-review
  • improved communication and consultation between the individual centres, including growth of centre leadership capability
  • stronger financial and reporting structures to ensure funding accountability.

Centre leaders are engaging in professional development to strengthen their leadership of teaching and learning. They are using teacher appraisal goals to plan centre-wide teacher professional development. The owners, manager and leaders support the training and ongoing development of teachers who are working towards their qualifications. Leaders are aware of the importance of emergent self review, and have identified the need to strengthen self-review processes.

In response to identified teaching and learning needs, an external advisor is currently working with leaders and teachers to improve children’s engagement in the areas of play in Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. This provides teachers with a planning framework to guide their observations of children’s learning and development. Teachers use this and other assessment information to enhance their response to individuals and groups of children. Learning stories and monthly observations identify and document children’s ongoing interests, strengths, and learning. Capturing the child’s voice and contribution to their learning stories is a next step for teachers.

Warm, caring and respectful relationships, aligned to the centre's core values, support children’s education and care. Teachers know children and their families well and provide them with a safe, well-presented environment that is appropriately resourced. Babies and toddlers are cared for in a calm and loving atmosphere that respects their physical and emotional safety. Children’s independence is developing through an appropriate range of learning activities such as exploration, sensory play and physical challenge. Other strengths of the centre curriculum are:

  • a strong emphasis placed on imaginative and creative play
  • enrichment and extension of learning
  • literacy, mathematics and science naturally integrated into the programme
  • a priority placed on sustainable practices, gardening and caring for animals.

In addition, the centre provides swimming and biking programmes to enhance children’s skills and safety.

Teachers are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and creative. Under the leadership of the centre leader, they now operate as a supportive and collegial team. Teachers model oral language well, and listen carefully to children’s responses and ideas. Children are confident communicators who effectively engage in learning activities with their teachers and each other.

The use of te reo Māori, waiata, pepeha and karakia are strongly evident throughout the centre environment and programme. The centre has developed positive and supportive relationships with local primary schools. Use of external agencies such as speech therapists and Group Special Education, support children with identified learning needs.

Aspirations of parents are sought on entry into the centre and at transition between the rooms. A parent support group provides centre staff with constructive feedback and input into decision making and programme planning.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre personnel agree that, in order to further raise educational outcomes for children, the areas for further improvement and development are to:

  • strengthen self-review processes and the usefulness of findings to improve outcomes for children
  • continue to implement and embed the appraisal process and provide appropriate professional learning and development opportunities for all staff
  • ensure that all teachers are supported to fully engage in assessment and planning processes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Orchard Pre-School 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.

ERO identified an area of non- compliance.

  • The centre owners need to ensure that all furniture and fixtures that could topple and cause injury or damage are secured in the event of an earthquake. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood and Care Centres 2008, HS6]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Little Orchard Pre-School will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

1 December 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

Edgecumbe

Ministry of Education profile number

40075

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

58 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll

73

Gender composition

Boys 42

Girls 31

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other

16

56

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

1:6

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

1 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 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.