Kidsfirst Kindergartens Cromwell

Education institution number:
5487
Service type:
Free Kindergarten
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
29
Telephone:
Address:

25 Gilling Place, Cromwell

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1 Evaluation of Cromwell Kindergarten

How well placed is Cromwell 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

Cromwell Kindergarten is located alongside Goldfields Primary School. It provides education and care for children from two to five years of age. The licence allows for up to 30 children at any one time. The kindergarten continues to build and sustain the strong relationships with the community. Teachers appreciate the support they get.

The 2014 ERO report identified several areas for review and development. These areas included:

  • developing robust systems for assessment, planning and evaluation
  • aligning the philosophy to daily practice
  • developing rigorous self review
  • ensuring the learning and care of toddlers was well provided for
  • developing and implementing a rich curriculum
  • strengthening bicultural practices.

This review evaluates how effectively the kindergarten has addressed these areas. The kindergarten has made significant progress and improvement in addressing all the areas. Staff continue to receive effective support from Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association (trading as Kidsfirst Kindergartens). This support includes targeted and well-planned professional learning and development and regular support from the education service manager (ESM). Areas of governance and management within the Association have also been well supported by personnel from Kidsfirst. This has led to positive outcomes for children, their families and teachers.

The Review Findings

Teachers have designed and implemented a rich curriculum that is responsive to children’s interests and needs. The curriculum provides a natural ‘flow’ to ensure that learning is unhurried and at the children’s pace. Children enjoy authentic learning experiences that connect strongly to their lives outside the kindergarten. Older children benefit from a planned nature programme that builds on children’s exploration of the living world. Other key features of the curriculum include:

  • a focus on early literacy and numeracy
  • children being encouraged and supported to take increasing responsibility for kindergarten routines
  • the way older children are encouraged to support and include younger children in their play
  • group times where teachers share with children what is happening and the intended learning for the day.

Teachers have reviewed the kindergarten’s philosophy to ensure that their beliefs and practices for teaching and learning are evident in the kindergarten and the daily interactions they have with children and their parents. Teachers are skilled at following children’s cues, knowing when to help them and when to stand back and allowing them to solve problems independently.

Professional learning and development for teachers has had a significant impact on what happens for children. This has led to improved outcomes for children, particularly for the children who are under three years old. Teachers acknowledge that they are far more aware of the learning needs of younger children and have adapted their programmes and teaching practices to reflect this. Children benefit from caring, nurturing and learning conversations with their teachers.

The teachers, with support from the Kidsfirst Education Support Manager, have developed and implemented robust systems for assessment, planning and evaluation. Individuals and groups of children are planned for. Records of learning show children’s progress and next steps for learning, and what strategies teachers will use. Teachers gather parents' wishes for their children’s learning and include these in the planning. Teachers regularly discuss and evaluate what impact their teaching is having on children’s learning.

Teachers have developed a shared understanding of the purpose of self review. There is a strong focus on enhancing children’s learning and improving teaching.

Teachers have worked hard to strengthen bicultural practices in the kindergarten. Children regularly hear te reo Māori and participate and lead waiata during group times.

The head teacher is managing the kindergarten well. She, with the support of the ESM, is building leadership across the team. She values the strengths and interests of teachers. Teachers who spoke to ERO said that they felt well supported and valued. Teachers are receptive to constructive feedback that leads to improvements in teaching.

Key Next Steps

The head teacher and teachers agree that the following next steps for the kindergarten are to continue to embed processes and practices for assessment, planning and evaluation and continue to carry out robust self review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Cromwell 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 Cromwell Kindergarten will be in three years. 

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

28 July 2015 

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

Cromwell

Ministry of Education profile number

5487

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children from age 2 to 5 years old

Service roll

37

Gender composition

Girls:  19

Boys:  18

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other

  7
29
  1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

N/A

 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

28 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

July 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

March 2008

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. 

1 Evaluation of Cromwell Kindergarten

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Programmes and practices at Cromwell Kindergarten require further development to be effective.

The kindergarten needs significant ongoing support from the Central Otago Kindergarten Association (COKA) in order to be considered well placed.

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

Background

Cromwell Kindergarten is one of five early childhood centres in Cromwell. It is located alongside Goldfields Primary School. It provides education and care for children from two-to-five years of age. The licence allows for up to 30 children at any one time.

There have been a number of changes at the kindergarten. These include:

  • Changes in session times which allows children to be enrolled from 8:45am through until 2:25pm Monday to Friday
  • major extensions and alterations to the building
  • extending the age range of children attending from three-to-five years to two-to-five years of age.

Children enjoy the large outside area that provides them with physical challenges.

A small and committed group of parents provides substantial financial support to make improvements to the physical environment.

ERO has found that the recommendations from the previous two ERO reports are still key areas for improvement. These are to improve planning and assessment for children’s learning, develop a rich curriculum and implement robust self review.

This review was part of a cluster of seven kindergarten reviews in the Central Otago Kindergarten Association (COKA).

The Review Findings

Children and their families are warmly welcomed by teachers. Parents’ contributions and participation in the programme are encouraged.

Children have well-established friendships with each other and some older children support the nurturing of younger children. Teachers are positive and caring in the way they work with children. They have a strong focus on supporting children to develop social skills.

On the day of the review ERO observed teachers:

  • supporting and encouraging children in their problem solving and play
  • joining in dramatic play
  • providing small-group experiences through music and stories
  • incorporating early literacy and numeracy
  • including aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori within the programme.

These practices were not consistent and were not well aligned to any group programme goals.

The kindergarten has recently changed sessions to include under-three-year-old children. The teachers have taken part in some professional learning to help them better understand the needs of toddlers. The teachers have made some changes to the inside and outside areas to accommodate toddlers.

Older children take part in the Wild Things discovery programme which offers a wide variety of learning opportunities beyond the kindergarten. Teachers have developed a close link with Goldfields Primary School. Students from the school are “big buddies” and visit weekly to develop relationships that will support children as they move on to school.

Planning and assessment is not specific enough to guide teachers’ work with children. Records of learning show activities children have been involved in. However, they do not focus strongly enough on what children are learning and what teachers might do to support their next learning steps.

Kindergarten systems and guidelines are in the process of being redeveloped. These need to be aligned with the association’s expectations in order to be more helpful.

Governance

Over the past three years the Central Otago Kindergarten Association has gone through an unsettled period. There has been a break down in governance, management and systems which has adversely affected the effectiveness and level of leadership provided to each kindergarten. This has led to the board contracting Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association (trading as Kidsfirst Kindergartens) in 2012 to undertake an independent review of the management structure. Then in September 2013, Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association was contacted again to provide management support and guidance in an effort to establish robust systems, competent leadership and management. The process for redevelopment is still underway. New systems are being established and at the time of this review, ERO found it was too early to tell how well they would be implemented. Overall, there has been a substantial turnover of teachers within the association. ERO also found that the appraisal process was not robust and needs further development.

Key Next Steps

The head teacher and teachers would benefit from implementing the COKA Quality Indicators to guide and support the operations, programmes and teachers’ practice.

The leaders and teachers identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps are to improve planning and assessment. This includes documenting what the intended learning is, the strategies and experiences they provide and the difference they have made to children’s learning. They need to develop and implement a rich curriculum that shows how they respond to group and individual children’s interests, needs and strengths and parents’ wishes for their children’s learning. Teachers also need to evaluate how well the programmes and teaching strategies are supporting children’s learning.

The head teacher and teacher need to further develop their understanding of effective self review. Robust self review should be used to improve:

  • their practices to ensure that they match what is intended in the kindergarten philosophy
  • consistency of teaching practices
  • the way Māori perspectives are incorporated into the programme
  • how well they are providing for the learning and care of toddlers.

They could seek further professional development to ensure toddlers’ care and learning needs are well met.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Cromwell 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.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Cromwell Kindergarten will be within two years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

4 July 2014

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

Cromwell

Ministry of Education profile number

5487

Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children

Service roll

35

Gender composition

Girls: 19 Boys: 16

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

5

30

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not Applicable

 
 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

4 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2011

 

Education Review

March 2008

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.