Hillcrest Kindergarten

Education institution number:
5004
Service type:
Free Kindergarten
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
36
Telephone:
Address:

Cnr Park & Hillcrest Roads, Kaikohe

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Hillcrest Kindergarten - 13/10/2016

1 Evaluation of Hillcrest Kindergarten

How well placed is Hillcrest Kindergarten 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

Hillcrest Kindergarten has operated in Kaikohe for 61 years and has strong links with the local community. Many of the children have parents and grandparents who also attended the kindergarten. The majority of children attending have Māori heritage.

The kindergarten is part of the Northland Kindergarten Association (NKA), which provides governance and management frameworks to support kindergarten operations. The kindergarten is licensed for 30 children over the age of two years and offers the choice of full or half-day attendance. Some children attend only a few days each week. All teachers are qualified and share the leadership of kindergarten operations.

ERO's 2013 report highlighted positive aspects of the programme that supported children's learning well. These included respectful relationships, high levels of child engagement in the programme and growing teacher understanding of bicultural practices. The report recommended that teachers could strengthen whānau contributions to assessment, implement their research findings in practice and continue to focus on fostering children's social competence.

This review is part of a cluster of eight kindergarten reviews in the Northland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Children receive high quality education and care. The kindergarten is an inclusive environment where teachers strive to ensure that all children, including those with diverse needs, have access to good quality early childhood education.

Teachers establish strong, responsive and reciprocal relationships with children and their whānau. Together with the welcoming and accepting tone in the kindergarten, these relationships help to strengthen children's sense of the value placed on their cultural identity.

Teachers have carefully crafted a philosophy statement that expresses their aspirations for their work with children. It recognises Ti Tiriti o Waitangi and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, as guiding documents, and indicates respect for the uniqueness of children and their whānau. The philosophy also notes teachers' active engagement in research and reflective practice. All of these are evident in teachers' practice.

Bicultural practice has been a focus of teachers' internal review. The results of their investigations have led to the strong inclusion of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori, and the development of a kindergarten kawa. New rituals for welcoming children and whānau into the centre, and farewelling them when they leave for school, have been a successful development. Teachers' systematic and deliberate self review continues to place a strong focus on improving the quality of education and care.

Teachers play with the children, engaging them in conversation to support their ideas. They prompt children's thoughtful problem solving and encourage inclusive games and shared explorations. Most children are highly independent, and physically and cognitively competent. Teachers have ensured that the environment provides children with choices, physical challenge and opportunities for imaginative play. They have used equity funding effectively to equip children with wet weather gear that enables them to play outdoors in all weathers.

Literacy, mathematics and science are actively promoted in the programme. Children are eager to hear stories and to share books, and are creative with text and drawing. Mathematical concepts are included in their conversations with teachers and in a variety of play opportunities. In response to children's interests, the study of nature is incorporated into activities in addition to experiences that foster children's imagination and creativity. Children are highly engaged and busy playing in friendly groups.

Teachers' shared process for assessment is helping them to make sound decisions about planning for individual children. Children's portfolios are records of their personalities, interests and progress over time.

The Association's governance practices are effective. Its long-term direction continues to focus on continually improving learning outcomes for children. Positive strategies include:

very good support and guidance by Association personnel, especially in the development of culturally responsive practices and the integration of te ao Māori in ways that are meaningful for children

  • new teacher appraisal systems, and professional learning that focus more closely on improving team skills, knowledge and practice and more distributed leadership practices

  • regular head teacher meetings that provide opportunities for collegial discussion and support.

Key Next Steps

Managers and teachers agree that their next steps are to continue to:

  • refine their planning cycle with the aim of more clearly illustrating a sense of ako in children's learning journeys with teachers

improving their recording of parents' information about, and aspirations for, their children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Hillcrest Kindergarten 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.

To improve current practices, the Association should ensure that all kindergarten policy folders include updated policies and procedures that reflect all legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Hillcrest Kindergarten will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

13 October 2016

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

Kaikohe

Ministry of Education profile number

5004

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

34

Gender composition

Boys 19 Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

other

25

7

2

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

13 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2013

Education Review

September 2009

Supplementary Review

July 2007

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.

Hillcrest Kindergarten - 29/05/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Hillcrest Kindergarten is well placed to continue to provide positive outcomes for children.

Context

Hillcrest Kindergarten has provided early childhood care and education in Kaikohe for the past 60 years. Many of the children who currently attend have whānau who formerly attended the kindergarten. This continuity of service has generated strong links with the community. The kindergarten operates extended day sessions, with 30 children attending morning sessions and twenty staying on for the afternoon on most days. The majority of children attending have Māori heritage.

The kindergarten comes under the umbrella of the Northland Kindergarten Association. The Association provides sound frameworks for the management and operation of the service. It also provides hands-on professional support. Professional development builds the capacity of teachers to sustain quality and improve outcomes for children and whānau. The kindergarten has three qualified teachers who work varying hours to provide consistent education for children. Issues faced by staff include the transience of some children and the variable attendance patterns of some.

The centre philosophy developed by teachers includes reference to Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a founding document for New Zealand, and their intention to honour this. The principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, are woven through programmes. Relationships with children, whānau and the wider community are viewed as underpinning teachers’ practice. Whānaungatanga and kotahitanga are seen as important to creating an inclusive culture for children’s learning.

Teachers continue to promote positive outcomes for children, as noted in the centre’s 2009 ERO report.

Review Findings

Teachers are highly reflective and use research and self review to investigate and share new learning about what is important for children in this centre. They develop respectful relationships with children and their whānau. Close observation of, and lively conversations with, children enable teachers to recognise their strengths, dispositions and learning needs.

Children are independent and enthusiastic about their play. They take pleasure in the company of other children and collaborate well in complex, imaginative games. Teachers encourage children to respond to conversations and to play in friendly ways. Children are beginning to show respect for the kawa of the kindergarten and whanaungatanga is evident in play. Children are highly engaged when they are interested in activities or daily routines, such as mat times. Teachers could now consider how daily routines can be best managed to ensure they attract and sustain children’s interest.

Teachers have a growing understanding of biculturalism and bicultural practices. A teacher with particular strength in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori supports other teachers in their learning. The community also contributes to teachers’ understanding. Teachers are committed to continuing this aspect of their learning.

The kindergarten is well supported by families and the wider community. Whānau are appreciative of their children’s learning. They are comfortable to be in the centre and to share their ideas with teachers. They are an integral part of the kindergarten and contribute feedback about programmes and reviews undertaken.

The Association has presented Hillcrest Kindergarten with an award and funding grant to help with the upgrading of its outdoor area. This has made a significant improvement to the attractiveness and usability of this area, and has increased learning challenges and skill development opportunities for children. Teachers are currently researching and reviewing the centre environment to explore ways in which it can best contribute to children’s learning.

Assessment and planning processes are regularly reviewed to determine the match between documentation and the differing strengths and needs of children. Self review of all aspects of teachers’ work with children is regular, and often undertaken in collaboration with parents. Teachers should now consider revising their review strategies in order to better streamline these.

Key Next Steps

ERO and teachers agree that the next key steps for the kindergarten are to continue to:

  • strengthen whānau voice in portfolios and reflect children’s part in planning more explicitly
  • ensure that discoveries from research are embedded in centre practices and reviewed regularly for continued effectiveness
  • focus on children’s social competence in all aspects of play and centre routines.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Hillcrest Kindergarten 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

29 May 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Kaikohe, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

5004

Licence type

All Day Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

34

Gender composition

Boys 23 Girls 11

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

24

10

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable

 
 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

29 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

September 2009

July 2007

August 2006

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.