Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru)

Education institution number:
45694
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
84
Telephone:
Address:

210 Otipua Road, West End, Timaru

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1 Evaluation of Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru)

How well placed is Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru) to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru) is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru) provides full-day education and care. It is licenced for 75 children, with up to 25 infants and toddlers. Children learn in four separate rooms according to their age. Transitions between rooms are adapted to individual children's development.

The centre's philosophy is to provide intentional teaching that responds to individual children's strengths and interests, to nurture and celebrate cultures of all children and promote bicultural practice and learning. This centre prioritises trusting relationships and collaborations with children and families (mahi tahi). It intends to provide child-led and play-based learning (takaro).

The learning priorities that guide teaching and learning are: whakawhānui pukenga tinana (extending physical skills), whaka whanaki korero (developing communication), hononga hanga (building relationships), te tuhura i ngā mahi (exploring working theories) and he tipu tikanga o te whaiaro (developing sense of self).

Since the February 2017 ERO review, the service has been sold and is now owned by the Evolve Education Group. There have been significant changes at all levels of the organisation, the most relevant to this centre are the appointment of:

  • a new area manager, who provides the mentoring and coaching for the centre manager and ensures the quality of education and care outcomes for children and families

  • a new centre manager, responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre, including ensuring the quality of learning and teaching

  • two head teachers responsible for the day-to-day learning and care of children in their rooms.

The impact of these changes has resulted in limited progress against the recommendations of the 2017 ERO report and progress not being sustained over time.

Most of the staff are qualified and registered teachers.

Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru) is a member of the North Timaru Kāhui Ako I Community of Learning.

The Review Findings

Children experience a range of interesting opportunities to learn and develop, according to the centre's learning priorities. An example of this is evidenced in learning goals for children that are informed by parents' aspirations, responsive to children's interests and needs and focused on the centre's learning priority of 'whaka whanaki korero (developing communication).

Children's independence and ability to take the initiative in their learning and communication with their peers and adults is fostered and supported through teachers' planning and their encouraging interactions with children. Relationships with children throughout the centre and with teachers and staff are positive and responsive. Teachers' capability to meet the needs of diverse learners is well supported. They use positive guidance approaches to meet the needs of children with complex needs.

Teachers and leaders are growing an understanding of bicultural practice and strengthening this across the centre. They have an increased awareness of children's language and culture. However, they are yet to respond consistently to children's culture and language or show a planned approach to providing a bicultural curriculum. These aspects could be developed further by including children's culture, language and identity in all aspects of the centre, including in assessment records. Centre leaders acknowledge that this could be further developed and strengthened.

Infants and toddlers experience well-planned opportunities to develop at their own pace. They are well supported in a caring learning environment. Teachers' interactions with older children are responsive and increase their confidence in language and learning. Centre leaders acknowledge they need to further enrich the environment for older children.

Leaders and teachers have developed a cohesive assessment and planning system for groups of children. Assessment and planning records show children's developing capabilities and the continuity of their learning as they transition between rooms but there is a need to further extend planning for individual children. To ensure consistency in practice across the centre, leaders and teachers should develop specific and intentional teaching strategies that reflect the centre's learning priorities.

The appraisal process for teachers should be consistently implemented across the centre in order continue to improve and strengthen teachers' practice and to support for children's learning.

Systems and expectations are made clear through a comprehensive and sound policy framework provided by the Evolve Education Group. This ensures that practices and systems are compliant and meet licencing requirements. These systems have been well reviewed by an area manager. The area and centre manager have worked together to address any identified areas for improvement. The internal evaluation process is in the early stages of implementation.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers urgently need to address the previous ERO recommendations. They should:

  • continue to develop a shared understanding and effective use of internal evaluation at all levels, to determine what is working, what is not, and why it has or has not worked, to improve outcomes for children

  • improve assessment, planning and evaluation practices to make this practice consistent for individuals and groups

  • continue to strengthen bicultural practices across the centre, to formalise and embed what has already been developed

  • ensure the appraisal process is implemented consistently across the centre to strengthen teaching practice.

The next key step for Evolve Education Group is to ensure ongoing support for new centre leadership team in achieving positive education and care outcomes for all children. This needs to be monitored over time, through robust internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru) 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

29 April 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

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

45694

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

88

Gender composition

Male 50, Female 38

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Chinese
South African
Other ethnicities

19
47
4
4
14

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2020

Date of this report

29 April 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

February 2017

Education Review

October 2013

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 Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru)

How well placed is Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru) 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

Children at Little Wonders Timaru play and learn in four separate rooms in a purpose-built centre. The centre is privately owned and one of a number of centres under the Little Wonders group. It is licensed for 75 children with up to 25 infants and toddlers. Children attending this centre come from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

This is the second ERO review. Since the 2013 review there has been a new centre manager, head teacher and some new staff appointed. The centre has made good progress against the recommendations identified in the 2013 report. Some areas continue to be work in progress.

The centre has recently joined the newly formed South Timaru Community of Learning.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from respectful interactions with each other and their teachers. They are settled and confident in the centre's environment and with their teachers. They are encouraged to make choices and to be independent and self managing. Children enjoy friendships with each other and play well for sustained periods of time.

Infants and toddlers are well supported in their learning and development. Their learning environment is spacious and thoughtfully arranged to ensure low stress and safety for those not yet mobile. They benefit from caring relationships and unhurried time with their teachers. Teachers' responses to children show a good understanding of how children develop and learn. Routines such as kai time are used well to support children's oral language and self-help skills.

Teachers and leaders, in consultation with parents, have redeveloped their centre philosophy to better describe their shared values and beliefs. They have identified what is most important for children to learn, and use this as a basis for daily programmes. Teachers purposefully design and resource the environment to provide children with interesting and challenging experiences.

Leaders and teachers have developed a useful centre-wide system of planning for individual and groups of children. Teachers are supported to take greater responsibility for this. Assessment, planning and evaluation could be strengthened by:

  • exploring ways to gather parents' aspirations for their children's learning and showing in planning and assessment how these are responded to
  • showing how Māori children's language, culture and identity are valued and supporting their development
  • ensuring learning stories reflect all children's cultures
  • showing continuity of learning as children move from room to room
  • developing guidelines for what effective assessment, planning and evaluation looks like.

Children hear te reo Māori, sing waiata and have recently participated in a mihi whakatau. The leaders and teachers acknowledge that integrating Māori perspectives is in the early stages of development and needs to be further developed and strengthened.

Other positive aspects of the programme that support children's learning include:

  • meaningful integration of numeracy and literacy
  • the strong emphasis on creativity and dramatic play
  • a deliberate focus on supporting children's physical development.

The new leaders have worked on building a culture of collaboration, consultation and inclusion. They have identified key priorities for development over the next three years. These include:

  • building teacher capability and professionalism
  • developing systems and practices to support positive outcomes for children
  • building relationships with the local iwi and marae.

Leaders and teachers are beginning to implement a new appraisal process. This could be more robust by ensuring regular purposeful observations, gathering evidence to show how teachers meet the Education Council requirements and showing how teachers are developing cultural competencies.

The centre's internal evaluation framework helps guide the leaders and teachers to investigate aspects of their programmes and practices. Leaders and teachers need to grow in their understanding of robust evaluation processes. This includes refining and using relevant indicators (criteria showing what good practice looks like) at all stages of the evaluation.

The Little Wonders director is focused on improving systems and processes to support the leadership and operation of the centre. He has developed a useful strategic plan to guide the future direction of the organisation and centre. This contains a strong focus on:

  • lifting pedagogical practice
  • putting in place professional advice and support
  • building leadership capabilities
  • the use of ICT to improve communication, appraisal, and health and safety. 

The next steps are to:

  • ensure that obligations to the Treaty of Waitangi partnership are evident in the strategic plan
  • make clear expectations for reporting on progress towards strategic goals.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for leaders and teachers are to:

  • further develop internal evaluation
  • improve assessment, planning and evaluation practices
  • continue to strengthen bicultural practices through deliberate planning, implementation and evaluation
  • further develop the appraisal process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru) 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 Little Wonders Childcare (Timaru) will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

23 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

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

45694

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

97

Gender composition

Girls: 54

Boys: 43

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Afrikaner
Chinese
Other

23
61
  3
  3
  3
  4

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

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

23 February 2017

Most recent ERO report 

Education Review

October 2013

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.