Mairtown Free Kindergarten

Education institution number:
5013
Service type:
Free Kindergarten
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
51
Telephone:
Address:

21 Princes Street, Mairtown, Whangarei

View on map

Mairtown Free Kindergarten - 10/09/2015

1. Evaluation of Mairtown Free Kindergarten

How well placed is Mairtown Free Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Mairtown Free Kindergarten provides high quality early childhood education that successfully promotes the wellbeing and learning of all children attending.

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

Background

Mairtown Free Kindergarten is situated close to the town centre in Whangarei. The kindergarten draws enrolments from a wide geographical area that includes children from a variety of cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. A significant number of children identify as Māori. Some children have English as an additional language.

Parents are able to choose the days or times that their children attend. The kindergarten provides four and six hour sessions for 40 children over two years of age. Parents appreciate teachers' encouragement for them to be part of the programme and many stay for long periods to play with their children. Teachers provide provocations, activities and experiences that support children’s play. Children transition into a variety of primary schools in the wider Whangarei area.

The centre’s philosophy outlines teachers' aspirations for the learning programme. It reflects teachers' commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the importance of strong relationships with families. It also provides information for parents about the curriculum including a focus on Papatūānuku (nature and sustainability).The centre operates with four registered teachers.

Mairtown Free Kindergarten has a positive ERO reporting history. Both the 2009 and 2012 ERO reports identified high quality practices aligned with philosophy goals. Teachers were committed to supporting Māori learners to succeed as Māori and self review was focused on improvement. The 2012 report encouraged teachers to embed the practice of individual teacher reflections and continue to strengthen bicultural practice. Teachers have responded well to all of these actions.

The kindergarten operates as part of the Northland Kindergarten Association. The Association provides governance, leadership and policy frameworks to meet operational and management expectations. Association personnel assist teachers to maintain good standards of health and safety and to improve the quality of educational programmes. The Association’s Pūmanawatanga Plan reflects a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and support for the development of bicultural practices across the organisation.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 kindergarten reviews in the Northland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

Teachers at Mairtown Free Kindergarten continue to provide high quality programmes and promote strong community links. They are an effective team, led by a highly able leader, and share strongly held philosophical knowledge and understandings about early childhood education. This good foundation results in highly positive outcomes for children as confident and capable learners. Teachers' focus on manaaki is very evident in caring relationships and responsive programmes. Children have a sense of belonging, responsibility and wellbeing.

Teachers provide an inclusive, calm environment for children and whānau. They welcome and establish warm relationships that value whānau and children. Teachers support children effectively in their social relationships with others, based on knowledge gained through professional development. Teachers’ support of and consultation with whānau is evident in kindergarten documentation.

Teachers have a special focus on establishing practices that support success for Māori learners. Their knowledge about whānau and their connections, and shared information contributes to teachers’ support for Māori children. Māori children demonstrate their confidence as learners and leaders. Teachers are well supported by Association personnel to guide children’s learning about te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

Children's learning programmes respond to their ideas and foster their engagement in creativity, thinking and expressive language. Teachers work closely with children, inviting conversations that are rich in descriptive language and that support children's theories about how the world works. Children and teachers share responsibility for the evolving programme. This co-constructed learning engages children's enthusiasm and confidence, particularly in group investigations. Children engage in sustained complex play.

Teachers work together to implement high quality assessment and inquiry learning practices. Whānau partnerships contribute to the value of assessment. Portfolios include child and parent voice to show children’s development and successful learning over time.

The Northland Kindergarten Association provides effective governance for kindergartens. Its long-term direction focuses on making decisions to improve learning outcomes for children. Positive strategies include:

  • good support and guidance from Association personnel to improve the quality of kindergarten programmes and teaching practice, particularly the development of bicultural practices and integration of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) into programmes in meaningful ways for children
  • effective teacher appraisal and professional learning and development that contributes to improved teacher skills, knowledge and practice, especially in supporting children’s social competence and strengthening the quality of assessment documentation
  • significant investment in property and environment upgrades to promote children’s exploration and investigation
  • a focus on distributed leadership practices amongst kindergarten teaching teams to utilise teachers’ individual and collective strengths.

Association leaders are considering ways to enhance teacher appraisal processes and systems for self review. ERO recommends that the Association strengthens systems to ensure that all health and safety requirements are being implemented.

Key Next Steps

Teachers and ERO agree that to enhance current high quality practices they should continue:

  • embedding team understanding of evaluative questioning and thinking to enhance self-review practice
  • increasing children’s access to records of the group inquiry projects.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mairtown 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 Mairtown Free Kindergarten will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

10 September 2015

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Mairtown, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

5013

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

52

Gender composition

Girls 27

Boys 25

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Cook Island Māori

other

16

25

7

1

3

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 2015

Date of this report

10 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

June 2012

 

Education Review

March 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.

Mairtown Free Kindergarten - 19/06/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Mairtown Free Kindergarten in Whangarei provides high quality early childhood education and care for children. Teachers have a shared philosophy and vision that is reflected in their clear curriculum priorities for children’s learning. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum guidelines, underpins a programme that features children learning through play and nature-based experiences and environments. Teachers and children work together to plan for learning.

Children learn to regard themselves as competent and capable. The programme fosters children’s creativity and early literacy, mathematics and science learning are integrated across the curriculum. Children care for each other and confidently use social skills to maintain positive friendships.

Teachers support children well, encouraging them to initiate their own learning. They maximise conversations with children to extend their thoughts and ideas. Teachers provide real resources and equipment that children treat with care. Teachers’ careful preparation of play areas reflects curriculum priorities and the value placed on aesthetics and uncluttered play spaces.

Respectful, reciprocal relationships with families and whānau, and the community promote a sense of belonging and inclusion. A wide variety of processes are in place to share information with the kindergarten community about learning and the programme. Teachers’ commitment to bicultural practices is very evident.

Teachers are skilled professionals who work collaboratively and are highly reflective. They have established self-review practices that focus on ongoing improvement. The kindergarten operates under the auspices of the Northland Kindergarten Association that provides good systems and support for the kindergarten.

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 Mairtown 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 at Mairtown 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

There have been significant changes at Mairtown Free Kindergarten since ERO’s review in 2009. New members have joined the teaching team, the physical environment has been extensively upgraded and operational hours changed in 2011 to a kindergarten day model.

Although the head teacher was new to the kindergarten in 2009, ERO reported that good leadership was resulting in the development of a highly functioning and collaborative teaching team. The kindergarten continues to be very well led, with teachers using purposeful self review to enhance the curriculum.

With the support of an Association scholarship in 2011, teachers have established a weekly Friday programme where a group of older children, a teacher and parent helpers spend the session in a local park with native bush. The aim of this programme is to promote children’s understanding, care and respect for New Zealand’s natural environment. Teachers’ ongoing review and parent feedback is identifying many positive outcomes for children from this session.

Areas of strength

Curriculum design and enactment. Teachers provide a high quality programme where their curriculum priorities, practice and the kindergarten philosophy are clearly aligned. Input and feedback from families informs teachers’ ongoing review about curriculum design and direction.

Children’s learning. Children engage for long periods in collaborative play and exploration. They are well supported by teachers to take responsibility for themselves and make decisions about their learning. Teachers’ high quality assessment clearly describes children’s learning over time. Their assessment of Maori children’s learning sensitively describes a growing sense of self and pride in being Māori. Assessment portfolios are valued by children and whānau and their ongoing contribution to these records is evident.

High quality teaching practice. Teachers promote play-based learning based on children’s new and ongoing interests. Children’s ideas and choices determine the direction of the daily programme. Teachers’ skilfully use conversations with children to help them successfully initiate and accomplish their plans.

Commitment to bicultural practice. Teachers continue to develop practices and procedures that reflect their commitment to providing a bicultural curriculum. They make good use of te reo Māori in kindergarten documents and in their conversations. Resources and the programme reflect both traditional and contemporary Māori themes. With the support of the Association and whānau Māori, teachers, children and families are growing in understanding of tikanga Māori and the significance of the local area for Māori.

Kindergarten environment. The physical environment is well planned to support children’s learning. Teachers’ careful preparation of play areas reflects curriculum priorities and the value placed on aesthetics and uncluttered play spaces. Natural and open-ended resources throughout the kindergarten are used in imaginative and creative ways by children.

Self review. Successful self review focuses on positive improvement to the quality of children’s care and education. Teachers work collaboratively on review planning and implementation and ensure that reviews are well informed by current research and theory of best early childhood practice.

Areas for development and review

ERO agrees with teachers that focus areas for kindergarten development could include:

  • ongoing curriculum development that includes a documented description of all the elements of the kindergarten curriculum to use for staff induction and for the transition of children and families into the service
  • embedding a process of individual teacher reflection
  • continuing to deepen teachers’ knowledge to support development of the bicultural curriculum.

3. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Mairtown Free Kindergarten completed an ERO Centre Management 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 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.

4. 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

44

Gender composition

Boys 22

Girls 22

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 25,

Māori 9,

Chinese 2,

Filipino 2,

Samoan 2,

African 1,

Indian 1,

Sri Lankan 1,

other European 1

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

19 June 2012

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review, March 2009

Education Review, February 2006

Education Review, December 2002

To the Parents and Community of Mairtown Free Kindergarten

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

Mairtown Free Kindergarten in Whangarei provides high quality early childhood education and care for children. Teachers have a shared philosophy and vision that is reflected in their clear curriculum priorities for children’s learning. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum guidelines, underpins a programme that features children learning through play and nature-based experiences and environments. Teachers and children work together to plan for learning.

Children learn to regard themselves as competent and capable. The programme fosters children’s creativity and early literacy, mathematics and science learning are integrated across the curriculum. Children care for each other and confidently use social skills to maintain positive friendships.

Teachers support children well, encouraging them to initiate their own learning. They maximise conversations with children to extend their thoughts and ideas. Teachers provide real resources and equipment that children treat with care. Teachers’ careful preparation of play areas reflects curriculum priorities and the value placed on aesthetics and uncluttered play spaces.

Respectful, reciprocal relationships with families and whānau, and the community promote a sense of belonging and inclusion. A wide variety of processes are in place to share information with the kindergarten community about learning and the programme. Teachers’ commitment to bicultural practices is very evident.

Teachers are skilled professionals who work collaboratively and are highly reflective. They have established self-review practices that focus on ongoing improvement. The kindergarten operates under the auspices of the Northland Kindergarten Association that provides good systems and support for the kindergarten.

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)