Dargaville Free Kindergarten

Education institution number:
5007
Service type:
Free Kindergarten
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
48
Telephone:
Address:

Portland Street, Dargaville

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Dargaville Free Kindergarten - 13/10/2016

1 Evaluation of Dargaville Free Kindergarten

How well placed is Dargaville Free 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

Dargaville Kindergarten in Northland is licensed to provide education and care for up to 40 children over the age of two years. Most attend a six hour session similar to school hours, five days per week. The Kindergarten is part of the Northland Kindergarten Association (NKA), which provides a governance and management framework to support its operation.

The current team of staff has been together for a period of six months. Four qualified teachers are supported by an additional teacher who provides lunchtime cover.

A new kindergarten philosophy is being developed. Some key aspects include the recognition of children as capable and competent learners, respect and manaaki for all things and each other, positive relationships, and the importance of play as a fundamental tool for learning. Teachers have a strong commitment to the ongoing development of their bicultural practice and professional growth.

The 2012 ERO report highlighted the respectful, learning focused interactions between children, whānau and teachers, the child led programme and the strong commitment of the teaching team to ongoing development of their bicultural practice. All of these continue to be evident.

Areas for review identified in the 2012 ERO report included strengthening the team's multicultural practice, and using children's interests and parent aspirations in programme planning. There has been good progress is these areas.

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

The Review Findings

Children have a sense of ownership of the kindergarten environment. They settle easily into imaginative play with friends, engage in the many interesting experiences set up by teachers, and explore resources of their own choosing. The programme is well paced, allowing children to develop their play, and bring complexity to their work.

Children eagerly share play areas or items of particular interest with their whānau. Parents take time to sit and read stories or go through portfolios with their children. Relationships established between teachers and whānau support children's sense of belonging in the kindergarten environment.

Children's creativity is valued by teachers. Their art work is respectfully and sensitively displayed. Teachers are responsive, respectful and good role models of language. They provide opportunities for children to be leaders.

Careful consideration is being given to a review of the environment. The aim is to ensure it reflects the developing philosophy, links to children's current interests, embraces te ao Māori and provides opportunities for children to take risks and be creative.

There are numerous opportunities for children to revisit their play and learning through photographs and narratives displayed throughout the environment. Children's portfolios of learning are easily accessible.

Teachers celebrate each child's uniqueness and find ways for all children to maintain a connection with their cultural identity. Teachers value and recognise the knowledge and tipuna that come with each child. They are committed to continuing to develop their knowledge and understanding of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa. They also continue to seek ways to make this visible in the kindergarten.

Teachers work in-depth with the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. They provide a curriculum that is responsive to children's deep interests, knowledge, skills and dispositions. Learning stories reflect the complexity of children's relationships with people, places and things, and build each child's identity as a successful learner. Teachers' knowledge of Māori theories and philosophies is assisting in the development of a culturally appropriate curriculum.

Teachers are focused on developing shared understandings of quality teaching practice and want this to be reflected in their philosophy statement. The kindergarten's strategic and operational plans link well with those of the Association.

Self review has already resulted in many changes in the kindergarten. The development of a more robust process of evaluation will be the focus of ongoing support from Association personnel.

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

The teaching team agrees that to enhance their current good quality provision for children, they should continue to:

  • develop and embed their new philosophy statement

  • develop assessments of children's learning, programme planning and evaluation processes to better reflect their deepening knowledge and understandings about te ao Māori.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Dargaville Free 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.

Next ERO Review
When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Dargaville Free Kindergarten will be in three 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

Dargaville

Ministry of Education profile number

5007

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

54

Gender composition

Girls 30 Boys 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

other

11

37

6

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

June 2012

Education Review

May 2009

Education Review

February 2006

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.

Dargaville Free Kindergarten - 26/06/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Dargaville Free Kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Northern Kindergarten Association (NKA). The Association provides the kindergarten with support personnel, teacher professional development, management support and a framework of policies and systems. This is supporting the teaching team to maintain and improve aspects of their professional practice and programme management.

The kindergarten draws families from a wide area and yet it retains a strong sense of history and community. The kindergarten is well resourced and the environment is presented in such an interesting way that it invites children’s learning and investigation.

The head teacher has led a review of the kindergarten’s philosophy and practices. With Association support, she has introduced new teaching approaches that focus on fostering children’s competence as capable, self-managing learners. Teachers could now consider reviewing the value of some of the more teacher-directed activities evident during routine times. Children are confident and capable learners. They are relaxed about approaching adults, play together cooperatively and develop friendships with their peers.

Teachers continue to integrate literacy, numeracy and other curriculum areas within the context of play. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is integrated into programmes with valuable assistance from a Māori advisor in the Association. Teachers provide good support for child-initiated learning experiences. The teaching team are working together to establish a cohesive team with shared understandings and teaching approaches.

Since the previous 2009 ERO review teachers have used self review as a basis for making many improvements to the learning environment. These improvements have enhanced the quality of children’s learning experiences. ERO, managers and teachers agree that the Association can further support the teaching team to establish a positive team culture and create greater alignment between the centre’s strategic and annual plans and the Association’s strategic plan.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Dargaville Free Kindergarten was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atDargaville Free Kindergarten.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

Since ERO’s 2009 review there has been an extensive upgrade of the indoor and outdoor environment which has effectively enhanced children’s learning opportunities. This has included building a very attractive maihi/entrance and incorporating a koru design into the entrance pathway to welcome children, families, and visitors to the kindergarten.

Teachers face the challenge of a falling roll that has resulted in the kindergarten adopting longer hours of operation under the kindergarten day model.

Areas of strength

Socially competent children. Children are settled and independent. They communicate well with peers and adults and are focused and actively engaged in the programme. They appear socially competent and confident. Firm friendships are being formed between children and they are developing useful negotiation skills through their play. Flexible routines provide opportunities for children to enjoy extended periods of social and imaginative play.

Respectful and learning focussed interactions. A whānau atmosphere and respectful, caring relationships are evident amongst children, teachers and parents. Staff listen to children’s interest and respond to them appropriately. Language development is consistently well supported and teachers are expanding children’s vocabularies. Teachers use mat-time to promote complex ideas that children can incorporate into their play.

Bicultural practice. Teachers are committed to bicultural practice and are respectful of Māori whānau aspirations. A Māori education plan has been developed with support from the Association. The Māori advisor works with the teaching team to promote their understanding of te reo me nga tikanga Māori. Parents report that children are sharing waiata with family members at home.

Health and safety. Good health and safety systems are in place. Teachers vigilantly supervise the outdoors and scan the indoor environment regularly. Extensive improvement to the learning environment has enriched children’s play opportunities and promoted more independent and purposeful play. Children’s perspectives are consistently being woven into the programme.

Programme provided for children. Teachers support learning through child-led and child-initiated interests and play. The programme is developed on the basis of children’s interests. Literacy and numeracy are integrated into contexts that are meaningful to children. The learning environment is specifically designed and richly resourced to enhance and support their learning.

Areas for development and review

Enhancing learning programmes for children. ERO agrees with the high priority that teachers have given to increasing the use of ICT to support children’s learning and promoting greater physical challenge for children in the outdoors. In addition, teachers could consider:

  • making families’ diverse cultures and languages more evident in the programme and more visible in the environment
  • specifically planning how they will respond to children’s emerging interests and ideas, extend children’s learning through increased challenge and promote complexity in children’s play
  • having formal discussions with parents about their aspirations as a basis for setting goals for individual children’s learning.

Management support for quality practices. The Association has good processes to support teachers’ practice. To make these most effective, the Association could consider working with teachers to:

  • consult with parents/whānau as part of their processes for review and development
  • create greater alignment between the centre’s strategic and annual plans and the Association’s strategic plan
  • strengthen shared understandings about teaching approaches
  • continue reviewing, refining and documenting processes for planning, evaluation and assessment.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Dargaville Free Kindergarten completed an ERO CentreManagement Assurance andSelf-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 documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

In order to prepare for relicensing the association and teaching team should review kindergarten operations against the requirements and expectations of the 2008 regulations, curriculum framework and licensing criteria for early childhood services.

4 Recommendations

ERO and the kindergarten managers and teachers agree that the priorities for development are to:

  1. improve the teaching team’s planning and assessment of children’s learning and the evaluation of the quality of the programme over time
  2. develop shared understandings about best practice in early childhood education and to work towards enriching teaching and learning.

5 Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

About the Centre

Type

All Day Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

40 children over 2 years of age

Roll number

47

Gender composition

Girls 26 Boys 21

Ethnic composition

Māori 5,

NZ European/Pākehā 36,

Tongan 3,

Samoan 1,

Indian 1,

South African 1

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

26 June 2012

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review, May 2009

Education Review, February 2006

Education Review, January 2003

To the Parents and Community of Dargaville Free Kindergarten

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Dargaville Free Kindergarten.

Dargaville Free Kindergarten operates under the umbrella of the Northern Kindergarten Association (NKA). The Association provides the kindergarten with support personnel, teacher professional development, management support and a framework of policies and systems. This is supporting the teaching team to maintain and improve aspects of their professional practice and programme management.

The kindergarten draws families come from a wide area and yet it retains a strong sense of history and community. The kindergarten is well resourced and the environment is presented in such an interesting way that it invites children’s learning and investigation.

The head teacher has led a review of the kindergarten’s philosophy and practices. With Association support, she has introduced new teaching approaches that focus on fostering children’s competence as capable, self-managing learners. Teachers have also begun a programme of professional development to assist in enhancing children’s social skills. As a result, children are confident and capable learners. They are relaxed about approaching adults, play together cooperatively and develop friendships with their peers.

Teachers continue to integrate literacy, numeracy and other curriculum areas within the context of play. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is integrated into programmes with valuable assistance from a Māori advisor in the association. Teachers provide good support for child-initiated learning experiences. Teacher-directed activities could be better used to support children developing independence. The teaching team are working together to establish a cohesive team with shared understandings and teaching approaches.

Since the previous 2009 ERO review teachers have used self review as a basis for making many improvements to the learning environment. These improvements have enhanced the quality of children’s learning experiences. ERO, managers and teachers agree that the Association can further support the teaching team to establish a positive team culture and more transparent strategic planning that provides clear guidance for future development.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the centre again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

  • Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.
  • Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre 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 this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.