Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education

Education institution number:
45953
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
75
Telephone:
Address:

2502 State Highway 45, RD 37, Okato

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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 are the basis for making judgements about the effectiveness of the service in achieving equity and excellence for all learners. Judgements are made in relation to the Outcomes Indicators, Learning and Organisational Conditions. The Akarangi Quality Evaluation Judgement Rubric derived from the indicators, is used to inform ERO’s judgements about this service’s performance in promoting equity and excellence.

ERO’s judgements for Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education are as follows:

Outcome Indicators
ERO’s judgement
What the service knows about outcomes for learners

Whakaū Embedding

Ngā Akatoro Domains
Learning Conditions
ERO’s judgement
 

Whakaū Embedding

Organisational Conditions
ERO’s judgement
 

Whakaū Embedding

2 Context of the Service

Located in coastal, rural Taranaki, Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education is a privately-owned education and care service. A dedicated space for children under three years of age opened in 2020. The centre has undergone considerable roll growth, led by a head teacher and team of experienced teachers.

3 Summary of findings

Children experience a rich curriculum that recognises and responds to their individual culture, language and identity. Priorities for learning are embedded in the centre’s local curriculum and teachers and leaders effectively weave these through planning and assessment practices. Children benefit from experiences and a setting that reflects the local area and their home lives.

Infants and toddlers are active participants in learning. Children experience a calm and slow pace during their time at the centre, supported by teachers who respond to the learning and development needs of this age group. Positive steps are taken to ensure consistency of care between home life and the centre. Young children have space and time to lead their own learning in surroundings that reflect them as capable and confident learners.

Relationships between children, parents and teachers are respectful and reciprocal. This supports effective transitions into, through and out of the centre. A responsive curriculum enables children to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and that of others.

All children have the opportunity to experience a rich, bicultural environment. Māori culture is authentically woven through daily experiences. Success for tamariki Māori is a responsibility for all in the centre. Leaders and teachers work to strengthen how they integrate whānau Māori voice to impact the curriculum. Children are familiar with, and actively use, te reo me ona tikanga Māori as part of their time in the centre.

4 Improvement actions

Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education will include the following actions in its Quality Improvement Planning:

  • further build capability in completing cycles of evaluation that consider how effective assessment practices and planned improvement actions have been in supporting children’s learning progress

  • incorporate the perspectives and cultural expertise of all parents and whānau in review of the existing service philosophy, vision, goals and to negotiate priorities for learning

  • build on partnership with all whānau, particularly whānau Māori, in curriculum and assessment practices so that their voice materially influences outcomes for their children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education 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.

Phil Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)
Central Region | Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

19 April 2022 

6 About the Early Childhood Service

Early Childhood Service Name

Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education

Profile Number

45953

Location

Okato

Service type

Education and care service

Number licensed for

47 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Percentage of qualified teachers

80-99%

Service roll

75

Ethnic composition

Māori 12, NZ European/Pākehā 57, Other ethnic groups 6

Review team on site

February 2022

Date of this report

19 April 2022

Most recent ERO report(s) Education Review, June 2018; Education Review, July 2014

 

1 Evaluation of Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education

How well placed is Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education 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

Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education is a privately owned and operated rural service located on the coastal community of Okāto, Taranaki. The service is licensed to provide education and care from Monday to Friday for 30 children over two years. Of the 34 children enrolled, eight are Māori.

A board of directors govern and manage the service. They uphold the vision of those that first established the centre to serve its community. Since the July 2014 ERO report, a new centre manager has been appointed to oversee the day-to-day operation. Four of the staff members are registered and qualified.

The philosophy gives priority to empowering children, families and whānau through decision-making opportunities.

The previous ERO report identified areas requiring further development. These included: community consultation; staff consistency in evaluation and teaching practices; growing teacher and leadership capability; and shared responsibility for centre operation across the team. Progress has been made in these areas.

The Review Findings

The centre philosophy is effectively implemented in practice. Children enjoy the breadth of learning opportunities offered in the well-resourced environments as adventurers, risk takers, problem solvers and creators.

Children experience positive, responsive interactions with peers and adults. Their choices for participation in learning are well supported through routines that encourage independence and self-belief. They communicate with confidence and demonstrate belonging and ownership in the centre.

The curriculum is well informed by group planning and the aspirations parents and whānau have for their children. Children’s interests, preferences, dispositions and strengths are highly evident within learning assessment stories. Increased parent participation in informing and guiding their children's learning is evident in the introduced online programme.

Intentional teaching purposefully guides and supports children’s progression and continuity of learning. Links to strategic goals, the philosophy and Te Whāriki are incorporated.

Children positively experience learning in literacy, mathematics, creative arts, construction and physical exploration. They are engaged and sustained learners. Leaders and teachers have identified that a key next step is to deepen their analysis and evaluation of children’s learning to improve decision making. ERO's evaluation confirms this direction.

Te ao Māori is highly evident in the environment. Visual displays include Māori artefacts, kupu Māori, Māori art and design and children's pepeha. Children participate in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori rituals and learning experiences that include karakia, waiata and stories. Leaders identify the need to further strengthen te ao Māori knowledge and understandings of Taranaki landmarks and localised stories.

Children with additional needs are well supported and this includes external agency input. The centre has well-considered transition processes into, within and onto other school services.

Governors demonstrate a strong commitment to the enactment of the philosophy, vision and goals of the centre. Useful systems and processes guide practices. The centre's strategic plan, vision and philosophy provide clear direction for leaders and teachers.

Review for improvement and accountability is well established. The centre manager continues to build understanding of internal evaluation through professional learning support. Leaders acknowledge internal evaluation requires further development. Next steps include: evaluating the impact of teaching practices on learning outcomes for children; using indicators that are measurable; inclusion of multiple voices; and growing teacher's knowledge to monitor and evaluate effectiveness.

Changes to the appraisal process align with recently developed job descriptions. It has the potential to enhance teachers' professional growth and outcomes for children. Leaders acknowledge a next step is to fully implement this process for all staff.

Key Next Steps

Leaders agree with ERO that with teachers they should continue to build:

  • internal evaluation capability

  • confidence and capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori

  • shared understandings of assessment for learning

  • robust staff appraisal practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education 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 Stepping Stones Early Childhood Education will be in three years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

13 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

Okāto

Ministry of Education profile number

45953

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, aged over 2

Service roll

34

Gender composition

Boys 19, Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

8
24
2

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

13 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2014

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.