Active Explorers Invercargill

Education institution number:
45326
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
111
Telephone:
Address:

70 Arena Ave, Invercargill

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1 Evaluation of Active Explorers Invercargill

How well placed is Active Explorers Invercargill 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

Active Explorers provides all-day education and care for infants and children up to school age. The centre is licensed for 80 children. Children of similar ages learn alongside one another in four classrooms (0-1 year olds, 1-2 year olds, 2 - 3.5 year olds and 3.5 - 5 year olds). Children also have access to two outdoor play areas which are adapted to younger and older children's development needs.

The centre's teaching and learning philosophy is currently under review. Previously it has focused on supporting children to become competent, confident learners. It aimed to achieve this through a focus on positive, respectful relationships, partnerships with parents and the provision of a nurturing and safe environment that provides children with challenge.

The centre is owned by the Evolve Education Group. It has recently been rebranded as an Active Explorers centre. It was previously known as Southern Kids. The centre is led by a centre manager and three head teachers who are supported by an Evolve area manager and a teaching and learning leader.

There have been a number of changes in leadership since the centre's 2015 ERO review. However these have mostly involved staff with long-term experience in the centre stepping into leadership roles. More than 80% of staff are qualified early childhood teachers.

The Review Findings

Teaching practices and programmes are effective in promoting positive outcomes for children. Teachers build positive, responsive and respectful relationships with children. These effectively support children's sense of confidence, wellbeing and belonging in the learning environment. Teachers know children well as learners and individuals, and plan learning that responds well to children's interests and dispositions. They could better document next learning steps and the intentional strategies they plan to use to extend and promote important learning.

Transitions into and through the centre are carefully planned and managed to ensure children's wellbeing and confidence is maintained. Tailored programmes for older children are focused on supporting children to develop the independence, self-management and social skills to successfully transition to school.

Increasing use is being made of community resources to enhance children's learning opportunities and connections to their local community.

All children have regular opportunities to experience and learn about New Zealand's bicultural heritage. Te reo Māori and New Zealand sign language are integrated in learning programmes.

Infants' and toddlers' wellbeing and sense of security is well supported by calm, nurturing and responsive caregiving. These younger children have access to an outdoor environment that provides appropriate opportunities to develop their physical capabilities. Increasing use is being made of natural resources to encourage children to explore and experiment and build their understanding of how the world works.

Children with special and particular needs are very well supported to participate in learning alongside their peers. Leaders and teachers form effective partnerships with external specialists to identify learning needs and goals and to develop individualised plans for promoting children's learning and development.

Parent and whānau involvement in their children's care and education is highly valued and sought after. Teachers work closely with parents and whānau to:

  • learn about children's interests, strengths and dispositions and their preferences and routines
  • gather parents' aspirations for children's learning
  • make links between children's home life and learning in the centre.

The centre has improved systems for communicating with parents about their children's learning outcomes.

The new leadership team is working constructively together to promote effective teacher practice and support positive outcomes for children. They model respectful relationships with each other, families, children and teachers, and are building a collaborative, professional team culture. They are actively building their leadership capability. Key priorities for this team are:

  • leading the review and implementation of the centre's new teaching and learning philosophy
  • ensuring teachers have shared understandings of effective practices for enacting the philosophy
  • leading deep and meaningful evaluation processes to know how well the philosophy is being implemented and how well children are achieving learning outcomes
  • supporting teachers to evaluate more deeply the effectiveness of their teaching practice.

Children's and teachers' health and safety and the smooth operation of the centre are well supported by Evolve systems, procedures and management support functions. Regular quality assurance processes, including for the quality of care and education, are designed to give assurance that the centre is meeting requirements. Aspects of this assurance process could be more consistently followed. The governance/management group provides regular professional learning and networking opportunities to support the capability of leaders and teachers.

Key Next Steps

To improve current practice, Evolve teaching and learning leaders and area managers need to:

  • ensure quality assurance processes are well used to evaluate the quality of care and education and compliance with requirements, and to identify areas for improvement.

Leaders know they need to:

  • ensure the new teaching and learning philosophy clearly identifies desired learning outcomes for children and the associated teaching practices
  • ensure that centre strategic and annual plans are focused on the embedding of the new philosophy throughout centre practices and operations
  • plan and implement over time meaningful evaluation of the implementation of the philosophy and children's achievement of the learning outcomes.

Teachers need to:

  • be more explicit in assessment and planning documents about what teaching strategies they intend to use to promote and extend important learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Active Explorers Invercargill 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 Active Explorers Invercargill will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

25 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

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

45326

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 29 aged under 2

Service roll

123

Gender composition

Girls: 65

Boys: 58

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Other

18 

109

4

8

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

May 2018

Date of this report

25 June 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

June 2015

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 Southern Kids Early Learning Centre 2

How well placed is Southern Kids Early Learning Centre 2 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

Southern Kids Early Learning Centre 2 provides education and care for infants and children up to school age. The purpose-built centre is licensed for 80 children. The teachers work with the different age groups in four classrooms. The centre philosophy guides the service and is centred around positive and respectful relationships, valuing family and ensuring the centre functions in a culturally inclusive manner.

There have been a number of recent changes at the centre. Two Southern Kids services have been combined into one licence. Evolve Education Group took over ownership in 2014. The change in ownership has caused little disruption as the manager has established useful and thorough systems to ensure continuity. Evolve’s professional service manager provides effective support for the centre manager and teachers.

The leaders and teachers have been very responsive to the recommendations of the centre’s first ERO report in March 2012. They have maintained and built on the centre’s areas of strength.

The Review Findings

Children and their families enjoy positive, supportive and respectful relationships with each other and the teachers and staff at the centre. The teachers enjoy their work and are committed and passionate about children’s learning. They know the children well and celebrate their strengths and achievements. The teachers gather useful information from parents to help them provide relevant learning experiences for the children. The teachers value the link they have with families and the wider community and have regular social gatherings to build these relationships.

Children’s interests drive the daily programme in each of the four rooms. The teachers understand how to use children’s interests to promote and extend their learning.

Other significant strengths of the service that promote positive outcomes for children include the way teachers:

  • acknowledge, value and support families’ culture and identity
  • take a planned approach to building children’s knowledge and confidence in te reo Māori
  • integrate mathematics and literacy into the learning programme
  • constantly review and develop their understanding of assessment and programme planning.

The teachers working with infants respond to the familiar routines and interests of the infants in their care. They maintain a calm and relaxed pace with infants and are sensitive to their cues. This creates an atmosphere where infants’ emotional wellbeing is well nurtured.

The centre is well managed. The manager, leaders and teachers constantly evaluate their practice and look for ways to make things work better for the children. They have put a very useful strategic plan in place which drives improvements at the centre. Self review and professional development align with the strategic plan. The newly-developed self-review format is effective in building teaching practice and improving outcomes for children.

The leaders foster a culture of cooperation and improvement among the teams. A new appraisal system encourages teachers to take on extra responsibilities and use their strengths for the benefit of the children. The centre has very thorough systems in place to ensure children’s health and safety.

The manager and leaders are aware of the next steps in the centre’s development. These include:

  • continuing to build good practice and achieve consistency in the quality of assessment, programme planning and evaluation of programme effectiveness
  • developing a schedule for review to ensure that all aspects impacting on children are reviewed over time.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Southern Kids Early Learning Centre 2 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 Southern Kids Early Learning Centre 2 will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

10 June 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

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

45326

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 29 aged under 2

Service roll

116

Gender composition

Boys 60

Girls 56

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Filipino

Chinese

Indian

10

97

2

3

2

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

March 2015

Date of this report

10 June 2015

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

March 2012

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.