Songbird Early Childhood Centre

Education institution number:
40286
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
25
Telephone:
Address:

2257 State Highway 2, Aongatete

View on map

1 Evaluation of Songbird Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Songbird Early Childhood 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

Songbird Early Childhood Centre is privately owned and located in the rural Bay of Plenty district of Aongatete, near Katikati. The centre, previously named First Steps Aongatete, was purchased by new owners in September 2017. It is licensed for 25 children from two years to school age. At the time of this review 25 children were enrolled and most identify as Pākehā.

Staff are long standing and have remained the same since the change of ownership. The new owner and two other staff members are qualified early childhood teachers. ERO’s previous review of First Steps in December 2014 identified key next steps about building teachers’ knowledge in literacy and mathematics, bicultural practices, self review for continual improvement, and acknowledgement of each child’s culture and identity in documented assessment. Teachers have made good progress in all areas identified.

Through its philosophy the centre aims to create a home-away-from-home, in an inviting learning environment that is nurturing, creative, fun and secure. In addition, the philosophy promotes positive relationships with children and their families and fostering a genuine community spirit in a mixed-age setting.

The Review Findings

Self review is developing well. Leaders and teachers have made good progress in their understanding and implementation of self review for improvement. Self review is well planned and documented. It includes multiple views gained from staff, children and families. Focused self review in relation to bicultural practice in 2017 has resulted in the stronger presence of Māori language, culture and concepts in the programme.

Teachers confidently incorporate te reo Māori, waiata, karakia and aspects of tikanga Māori into daily practice. Individual family pepeha affirm individual’s culture and identity. Regular self review supports teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of practices that contribute to children’s identity, wellbeing and learning.

Positive and responsive relationships and interactions between teachers and children are highly evident. Teachers have created a calm, settled and unhurried learning environment. They skilfully identify and minimise barriers to participation through inclusive attitudes and practices. Teachers have in-depth knowledge of children and families and take account of their strengths and needs and respond appropriately. Children benefit from relationships and practices that foster their wellbeing, participation and contribution.

Curriculum design is responsive to children's and families strengths, interests and life styles. The centre philosophy is highly evident in practice. Learning opportunities and experiences are enriched through family and community involvement and contributions. Children’s play is valued as meaningful learning. They are trusted and supported to be self managing and confident to lead their own learning. Children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and confidence as decision makers and learners.

Effective assessment practices are well embedded. Individual portfolios are readily accessible to children and their families. Teachers' observations are regular, documented and build a picture of what children know and are interested in. These documents reflect the complexity of children’s learning and engagement in a wide range of contexts.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies to involve children in learning. They listen carefully, and participate in sustained and meaningful conversations that support children's rich oral language development. There are also many authentic opportunities for children to experience literacy and mathematics in the context of self-initiated play and exploration.

Learning environments encourage children's critical thinking, wonder and creativity. The centre is thoughtfully resourced, carefully maintained and responsive to children’s preferences and ideas. There are high levels of engagement in sustained play and exploration. Children confidently make choices, experience challenge and revisit and build on previous learning.

The centre’s governance and management is effective in promoting positive outcomes for all children. The new owners have prioritised re-visioning of the centre. They have developed policies, procedures, a philosophy and strategic goals specific to Songbird. The experience and knowledge of long-standing staff is valued. Teachers have provided strong continuity for children and families through the change of ownership. The new owners have established strong, sustainable governance to support the ongoing development of the service.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps are to continue to review and develop assessment, planning and evaluation. Areas for consideration include:

  • more consistent documentation of learning linked to individual children’s goals and parent aspirations

  • strengthening parents understanding and recognition of learning through a play-based curriculum

  • further development of individual learning summaries to support children’s learning pathways and positive transition to school.

ERO, the centre owner and administration manager agree that they now need to create and implement a professional learning and development plan. This plan needs to align to individual teacher and centre strategic goals. This development should also include appraisal and professional learning and development specific to the roles of the centre owners.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Songbird Early Childhood 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 practice the centre owner needs to continue to develop the centre’s policy and procedure framework to include the appointment and induction of new staff.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Songbird Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

14 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

Aongatete, near Katikati

Ministry of Education profile number

40286

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

25

Gender composition

Boys 14 Girls 11

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other European

3
21
1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

14 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

August 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 First Steps Aongatete

How well placed is First Steps Aongatete 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

First Steps Aongatete is located in the rural Bay of Plenty district of Aongatete near Katikati. It provides the options of all day and sessional education and care. The centre is licensed for 25 children over the age of two years in a mixed-age setting. At the time of this ERO review there were 28 children on the roll, including 5 who identify as Māori.

The centre operates under the governance umbrella of Kidicorp Ltd. The Hamilton regional office of Kidicorp Ltd was established in 2012 and provides strong and effective governance, leadership and management support underpinned by Kidicorp’s clear vision and values. There are well-developed and rigorous self-review and quality assurance processes as well as professional, administrative and business support by well qualified and experienced personnel.

The centre is staffed by three registered teachers and one student teacher in her third year of training. A new centre manager took up her position in July 2014.

The ERO report of August 2011 identified areas for development about strengthening literacy practices and including aspects of planning in children’s learning portfolios. The centre has made good progress with these areas. Upgrades to the environment have enhanced children’s learning and increased opportunities for them to experience physical challenge in the outdoor environment.

The centre philosophy documents the aim is to provide an environment where:

  • children can develop belonging, well being and a lifelong love of learning
  • partnerships with families and whānau achieve positive outcomes for children
  • children know they are valued and accepted
  • the teaching team shares leadership responsibilities and is committed and motivated.

The Review Findings

The recently appointed centre manager is providing effective leadership for centre operations and development. Particular strengths of her leadership are:

  • skills in managing change positively
  • building a teaching team with a shared vision and philosophy
  • fostering emergent leadership amongst children and teachers
  • a good understanding of the purpose of self review
  • strengthening partnerships with parents, whānau and the local community.

This leadership has contributed to the strong and positive culture of the centre which is benefitting children, teachers, families and whānau. The centre manager and teachers are well supported through the ongoing mentoring and guidance of the dedicated Kidicorp professional service manager and business manager. This professional partnership is likely to ensure the ongoing development of a collegial team, realisation of the centre’s philosophy, and a sustainable good quality service to the community.

Teachers are benefitting from the knowledge of a kuia from Te Rereatukahia Marae. She is guiding a teacher and together they share their knowledge of the Māori world and bicultural practices. They are building the increased understanding of the teaching team. The value placed on Māori culture is evident in the environment, centre displays and equipment.

Children learn and play in an attractive, rural, home-like setting that enables them to participate in real life experiences such as baking, gardening, caring for pets and learning about the natural world. They are surrounded by farmland and orchards, and enjoy views of the mountains and the lake which are included in the curriculum through stories of local significance to Māori. Older children are building their social skills, enjoy sharing their knowledge with others, and support and include younger children in their learning and play. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging, well being and capability as they direct their own learning. They enjoy arranging their environment to reflect their ideas and enhance their play.

Mathematics and literacy experiences are evident in the daily programme, during mat times and in the environment. Children have access to a good variety of materials and equipment to explore which promotes the development of their early concepts in these important areas. Routines are flexible and respond to the care needs of children who are at different levels of independence. These routines promote children’s ability to make choices, follow their interests and sustain their play.

The ‘Be School Ready’ approach sets clear expectations for parent and community partnerships, teaching practices, and promoting literacy and numeracy learning in readiness for school. This approach is in the early stages of being documented and has yet to be reviewed to establish its effectiveness.

The learning and development of children is documented and attractively displayed. ERO observed children interacting with these displays and sharing and revisiting learning experiences with their friends and other adults. Individual portfolios are well-presented, highly valued and often used by children. Children’s learning is regularly shared with families through e-portfolios and informal conversations. Next steps for learning are identified for individual children in partnership with families. Parents spoken to during the review shared their appreciation for the ways they could be included in the life of the centre. Their diverse cultures were evident in centre displays, equipment and the programme.

Teachers demonstrate genuine attitudes of acceptance, respect and willingness to listen to each other, children and their families. They are inclusive and work in effective partnership with specialist agencies to promote positive outcomes for children and families.

ERO observed the following sound teaching practices:

  • positive, sensitive and responsive relationships
  • good use of questioning and learning conversations that build children’s knowledge and thinking skills
  • teachers leading learning and knowing when to allow children to be independent
  • children and teachers sharing their humour and demonstrating their enjoyment of learning together
  • recognising and promoting children’s leadership and strengths.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that there is a need for teachers to continue with ongoing professional development to build their knowledge of:

  • literacy and mathematics
  • bicultural practices
  • self-review processes that lead to continuous development and improvement of centre operations.

In addition, it is important to more clearly acknowledge the culture and identity of each child in individual portfolios.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of First Steps Aongatete 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 First Steps Aongatete will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

5 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

Aongatete, Bay of Plenty

Ministry of Education profile number

40286

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

28

Gender composition

Boys 16

Girls 12

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

5

23

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

5 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2011

 

Education Review

May 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.