Stepping Stones Learning Environment

Education institution number:
45015
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
33
Telephone:
Address:

26 Dickens Street, Owhata, Rotorua

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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 (PDF 3.01MB) are the basis for making judgements about the effectiveness of the service in achieving equity and excellence for all learners. The Akarangi Quality Evaluation Judgement Rubric (PDF 91.30KB) derived from the indicators, is used to inform the ERO’s judgements about this service’s performance in promoting equity and excellence.

ERO’s judgements for Stepping Stones Learning Environment are as follows:

Outcome Indicators

ERO’s judgement

What the service knows about outcomes for learners

Whāngai Establishing

Ngā Akatoro Domains

ERO’s judgement

He Whāriki Motuhake

The learner and their learning

Whakaū Embedding

Whakangungu Ngaio

Collaborative professional learning builds knowledge and capability

Whāngai Establishing

Ngā Aronga Whai Hua

Evaluation for improvement

Whāngai Establishing

Kaihautū

Leaders foster collaboration and improvement

Whāngai Establishing

Te Whakaruruhau

Stewardship through effective governance and management

Whāngai Establishing

2 Context of the Service

Stepping Stones Learning Environment is a privately owned centre catering for children from infants to school-age in mixed age setting. A leadership team supports teachers, the majority of whom are fully qualified in early childhood education. This is the centre’s first Quality Evaluation since the change of ownership. The centre was previously known as ABC Rotorua East.

3 Summary of findings

Children experience a calm, slow paced environment. Teachers demonstrate that care is an integral part of the curriculum. They work collaboratively to provide a responsive and inclusive environment intended to support children to lead their own learning. Tuakana-teina relationships, established through play, encourage infant and toddler involvement in the programme. The philosophy in practice enhances children’s identity as successful learners.

Children experience a well-resourced learning environment. Resources for older children are extensive and support emerging literacy and mathematical concepts. Children with additional needs are planned for and supported by teachers and leaders, providing equitable learning opportunities. Children are empowered to be confident and competent learners.

Teachers have begun to explore children’s learning and progress in relation to the intended outcomes of Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood curriculum. Parents have some informal opportunities to participate in and contribute to curriculum design and planning. The service is becoming more consistent in documenting and intentionally responding to whānau aspirations.

Māori children experience some aspects of a bicultural curriculum. The centre has identified that this is an area to strengthen through sharing some of the teachers’ stronger knowledge of te aō Maori. Elements of te reo and tikanga Māori are visible in the environment, and supported by resources that contribute to children’s learning. Strong relationships with families and whānau support children’s sense of belonging.

Leaders have established relational trust. Operational conditions have been established. Internal evaluation has been implemented and requires strengthening. Policies and procedures guide centre operations promoting positive learning outcomes for children and their families.

4 Improvement actions

Stepping Stones Learning Environment will include the following actions in its Quality Improvement Planning:

  • strengthen documented assessment by prioritising the analysis of learning and intentionally design the curriculum to respond to children’s individual learning needs
  • strengthen internal evaluation practices to better understand how children are progressing in terms of the valued outcomes in Te Whāriki and the philosophy
  • continue to strengthen leaders and teachers’ capability to deliver a rich curriculum responsive to children’s identity, language, and culture.

5 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Stepping Stones Learning Environment 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.

Shelley Booysen
Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)
Central Region | Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

3 August 2021 

6 About the Early Childhood Service

Early Childhood Service Name

Stepping Stones Learning Environment

Profile Number

45015

Location

Rotorua

Service type

Education and care service

Number licensed for

36 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Percentage of qualified teachers

80-99%

Service roll

35

Ethnic composition

Māori 16, NZ European/Pākehā 16, Other ethnic groups 3

Review team on site

June 2021

Date of this report

3 August 2021

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, October 2017 as ABC Rotorua East,

Education Review, May 2014 as ABC Rotorua East.

 

1 Evaluation of ABC Rotorua East

How well placed is ABC Rotorua East 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

ABC Rotorua East operates under the umbrella of Best Start Educare Ltd, which provides overall strategic direction and systems to manage centre operations. The centre is an all-day, mixed-age education and care service that is licensed for 36 children, including up to 10 under the age of two years. Currently 28 of the 42 children attending identify as Māori.

The centre is located in a converted house. The indoor and outdoor environments promote exploration and opportunities for collaborative play for infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers.

Since the 2014 ERO review the centre has experienced staffing changes including the appointment of a new centre leader, and several changes to the teaching team. Some previous teachers have been promoted to other centres through the growing leadership programme offered by BestStart Educare Ltd. The centre has strengthened the links between assessment and planning as recommended in the 2014 ERO review.

The Review Findings

Children are confident and display a strong sense of belonging. A calm and unhurried pace in which children can lead their learning is highly evident. Language and communication used by teachers' highlights their understanding of each child and their context. Kaiako value children's identity, language and culture.

The centre's philosophy was reviewed and refined in June 2017. It better reflects the centre and their community values and beliefs. The new philosophy identifies tākarokaro, whanaungatanga, tuakana-teina, mana reo and hapori whānui as the foundations for high-quality teaching and learning. These are highly evident in practice and celebrated in the life of the centre.

A wide range of learning experiences support a rich, varied and responsive curriculum. Teachers work alongside and effectively respond to children's interests. Children are encouraged to choose and engage in learning experiences. Curiosity is fostered and challenge provided to add depth and complexity to learning opportunities. Exploration and success in learning is celebrated throughout the centre.

A comprehensive review in 2016 of the infants and toddlers area has enhanced the teaching and learning practice for these children. Secure, responsive and respectful relationships with each family and whānau supports and nurtures children's sense of belonging.

A well-considered approach supports children's successful transition into, through and beyond the centre. The needs of the children and aspirations of parents inform the process. A strong focus on kanohi ki kanohi relationships supports a high level of trust.

Clear procedures guide how learners with additional needs are nurtured and supported. A highly-inclusive approach with parents and whānau is evident. Strong connections with external agencies provide wrap-around support, and informs teaching and learning priorities and opportunities.

Portfolios celebrate children's emerging interests and working theories. The continuity of learning throughout the learning stories is well documented. Teachers work collaboratively to ensure children's interests, strengths and needs inform individual and group planning. Centre wide goals are highly evident and support children's development of skills and enhance learning.

Leaders have established a highly-evident culture in which children are first and foremost valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are. Emergent leadership is encouraged and actively promoted among teachers. Kaiako are very reflective of their teaching practice. To further enhance this the centre has identified the need, and have begun to, implement deeper inquiry into their leadership and teaching practises.

The service priorities and goals are strongly linked to positive learning outcomes for children. Leaders and teachers are well supported to further develop understanding of highly-effective education and care through professional learning and development opportunities. Helpful advice and guidance supports the strong focus on centre wide continual improvement.

Key Next Steps

The centre has identified, and ERO agrees, the key next steps as continuing to:

  • encourage and strengthen teaching opportunities for children to learn in a bicultural curriculum, including Te Arawatanga

  • foster rich learning experiences and opportunities for Māori children to be confident in their individual culture, language and identity

  • explore how well parent and whānau voice and aspirations are captured and purposefully used to inform assessment, planning and evaluation

  • strengthen understanding of high-quality internal evaluation to effectively inform ongoing improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ABC Rotorua East 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 ABC Rotorua East will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

5 October 2017

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

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

45015

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

36 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

42

Gender composition

Boys 24 Girls 18

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

28
12
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

August 2017

Date of this report

5 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

June 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.