Smart Start Care and Education Centre

Education institution number:
45310
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
53
Telephone:
Address:

122 Parsons Street, Springvale, Whanganui

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1 Evaluation of Smart Start Care and Education Centre

How well placed is Smart Start Care and Education Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Smart Start Care and Education Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Smart Start Care and Education Centre is a privately owned centre in suburban Whanganui. It caters for 40 children, including 11 aged up to two years. Separate areas are organised for over two-year-olds, and infants and toddlers. Of the 40 children enrolled, four identify as Māori. The centre serves a wide area of the community.

Two owners share responsibility for daily operation of the service. One has responsibility for administration. The other provides professional guidance for teachers and is supported by two head teachers. There is a commitment to employing teachers with an early childhood qualification. Staff in training are mentored through an advice and guidance programme.

The philosophy values are 'built on responsive and respectful relationships with tamariki and whānau'. These beliefs are 'promoted in a stimulating, nurturing and inviting environment'. Owners acknowledge that it is timely to review the service's philosophy with input from teachers and whānau.

The February 2017 ERO report identified areas requiring further consideration. These included embedding new systems to support teaching and learning and extending support to Māori children. Some progress is evident.

The Review Findings

The programme for children is successfully underpinned by respect and empowerment and supports teachers to build positive, trusting relationships with learners and their whānau. Children are confident and active participants in learning, who make choices about play and set challenges for themselves. Learners initiate interactions and conversations with their peers and adults. They develop tuakana teina relationships through regular engagement with others and are enthusiastic learners. Opportunities to participate in learning within the inviting outside areas enriches their early childhood experience.

Infants are encouraged to become active communicators and explorers. Programme provision for these very young learners focuses on nurturing their wellbeing through responsive caregiving. Adults work alongside children supporting them to explore through uninterrupted play.

Strategies to involve parents and whānau in their children's learning continues to develop. Parents regularly communicate verbally and at times share in and respond to their child’s on-line assessment information. Reciprocal relationships with parents and between staff are evident and enable teachers to know children's preferences and needs well.

Teachers capture each child’s engagement in everyday activities in detailed and regular assessment records. Literacy, mathematics, creativity and aspects of science are integrated into activities in meaningful play-based ways. At times, children revisit their previous activities and learning captured in their progress journals. Teachers should continue to strengthen assessment for learning by refining how they notice and record emerging ideas and passions of individual learners.

Teachers' cultural competence is well supported through professional learning and development. This results in an increased inclusion of te ao Māori in the curriculum. Māori, and all children, increasingly experience te reo me ngā tikanga Māori as a meaningful part of their early childhood experience. Teachers should continue to develop culturally responsive practices that include extending their knowledge of all children's culture, language and identity and local contexts to enrich the curriculum.

Children's transition out of the centre is well managed. Teachers use a suitable range of strategies to build and maintain relationships with local schools. Regular visits by new entrant teachers helps to build children’s confidence as they move on to school.

The dual purpose of evaluating for accountability and improvement is increasingly well understood. It informs ongoing decision-making. Priorities align to the centre's vision and goals and clearly focus on improving teaching and learning outcomes for children.

Practices for building teachers' capability, including appraisal, are improvement focused and effectively enhance teachers' professional growth. They are reflective practitioners who work collaboratively to improve outcomes for children and their families and whānau.

Key Next Steps

The owners, head teachers and ERO agree that to sustain the good practice occurring and promote ongoing improvement leaders should:

  • continue to build the team's understanding and use of effective evaluation to further promote decision-making and improve outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Smart Start Care and Education 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.

Since the onsite stage of this evaluation the service has provided evidence of strengthened documentation related to: risk assessment of excursions; safety checking of workers; and regular drills related to Lockdown [HS8, HS17, GMA7A].

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

9 June 2020

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

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

45310

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 11 aged under 2

Service roll

52

Gender composition

Male 27, Female 25

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

4
45
3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

1: 5

Meets minimum requirements

Meets minimum requirements

1: 10

Meets minimum requirements

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2020

Date of this report

9 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2017

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

April 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 Smart Start Care and Education Centre

How well placed is Smart Start Care and Education 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

Smart Start Care and Education Centre is a privately owned service, licensed to provide all-day education and care for 40 children, including 11 up to two years of age. It is located in Springvale, Whanganui and the majority of children attending are from the local neighbourhood. The physical environment is well organised and welcoming. The outside area has been extended since the March 2014 ERO review.

A co-owner manages organisational planning, finances, premises and resourcing. The other owner has overall responsibility for curriculum implementation and building teaching capability. The centre has two distinct spaces: one for children aged up to two (Pōtiki); and another for those aged over two years (Mātāmua). Children move freely between these areas. A head teacher is responsible for programme provision in each area.

Smart Start’s stated mission is to provide high quality early childhood care and education. The centre philosophy indicates this will be achieved through providing a stimulating, nurturing and inviting environment focused on caring for, and teaching children - Hei manaaki, He whakaako, Tamariki. Centre practices emphasise ensuring positive relationships with children, parents and whānau are established and grown.

Since the previous ERO review, there have been significant changes in practices affecting programme planning, assessment, transition and supporting staff improvement. The philosophy has been reviewed and greater opportunity has been provided to enable families to have a meaningful influence on their child's programme.

The Review Findings

The centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for all children. There is an affirming tone that promotes constructive, respectful interactions.

Children have frequent opportunity to engage in uninterrupted play. Teachers carefully listen to, recognise and document children’s knowledge, skills and dispositions and encourage their development through collaborative planning. They provide resources and environments that encourage exploration that is purposeful and enjoyable. Children’s problem-solving and experimentation are well supported.

Children access materials linked to their immediate interests. Their developing independence is promoted. Educators are attentive and respond promptly to children’s requests, play alongside them and extend thinking and language. Regular use is made of nearby, local facilities as part of the programme.

Literacy and numeracy are interwoven in daily experiences. Teachers provide meaningful contexts for children to develop oral and written language skills, print awareness and mathematical learning.

Māori concepts, knowledge, te reo and practices are part of everyday experiences for children. Since the previous ERO review, teachers have strengthened their understanding of what is involved in ensuring successful outcomes for Māori learners. They have explored ways to respect and better support each child to be confident in their own culture and to acknowledge the aspirations held by parents and whānau for their children.

There is a deliberate approach to extending the culture of the centre to embrace te ao Māori. Programme planning has been adapted to focus more on each child as an individual. Centre leaders are supporting building partnerships to further enable Māori children, parents and whānau to participate in place-based learning. This should support increasing recognition and celebration of their unique identity, language and culture.

Children’s sense of belonging is nurtured during and after transitions into and within the service, and when moving to school. An individualised approach is supported by effective partnerships between families, schools and the centre. Well-considered information and support materials aid this process. A recent comprehensive review has contributed to a strengthening of practices that support transition.

Children's progress journals show deepening and increasing complexity of children’s learning. Individual assessments illustrate continuity in skills and knowledge, and demonstrate progress in a range of contexts that are regularly linked to their individual interests. Teachers value and acknowledge parent and whānau aspirations for their children and these are reflected in individual journals.

Responsive caregiving supports infants’ and toddlers’ need for strong and secure attachments. Teachers maintain a calm, unhurried pace that encourages children to lead their own learning. They have time to explore, discover and experiment to grow their skills and understandings. The environment provides for the physical and emotional wellbeing, intellectual stimulation and social support of very young children.

Leaders effectively build the quality of teaching, learning and care for children. There is a strong focus on continual improvement linked to professional learning, reflection, increasing knowledge and self review. Leaders and teachers work collaboratively to further develop practices to ensure better outcomes for children.

Teacher appraisal continues to be strengthened. The process links closely to the Practising Teacher Criteria and supports increasing cultural competency to respond to Māori learners. Teacher capability is being built through individual goal setting, ongoing self-reflection, appraiser feedback and discussions.

Self-review processes investigate the effectiveness of curriculum decision making in improving children’s engagement and learning. Appropriate elements of internal evaluation are evident in review practice. Leaders are in the process of developing guidelines to enhance evaluation. This should ensure internal evaluation makes a greater contribution to improved outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The manager, professional leaders and ERO agree on the following next steps for Smart Start Care and Education Service:

  • embedding a number of recently developed systems to support teaching and learning and carrying out ongoing evaluation of the impact of these improvements

  • extending support of Māori children by further building the inclusion of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in assessment and planning and through increasing engagement with local iwi.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Smart Start Care and Education 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. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Smart Start Care and Education Centre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 February 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

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

45310

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 11 aged under 2

Service roll

64

Gender composition

Boys 33, Girls 31

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

7

54

3

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

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

14 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

April 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.