BestStart Queenstown

Education institution number:
65156
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
76
Telephone:
Address:

18 B Hamilton Road, Queenstown

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1 Evaluation of BestStart Queenstown

How well placed is BestStart Queenstown to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

BestStart Queenstown is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

BestStart Queenstown, formerly known as ABC Queenstown, was recently relicensed under its new name. The centre is owned and governed by the BestStart group. BestStart managers regularly visit and support the centre.

The centre is licensed for 75 children, including 25 children under two years of age. Children come from many different countries and some are English language learners.

The frequent movement of families in and out of Queenstown results in ongoing changes in staff and children. Recently there have been significant changes in centre leaders, teachers and caregivers. All caregivers hold an overseas qualification in education. Multilingual staff use their language skills to support children and their families from other cultures.

The centre is purpose-built, with four classrooms and a large kitchen. Children move through each room, depending on their age and readiness. Children under two share one outdoor area and older children share another. The centre provides healthy food choices, including cooked meals.

The centre philosophy states that teachers believe in: growing respectful, trusting relationships with children and their whānau; the importance of bicultural inclusion; and providing a natural and sustainable environment where children can fulfil their potential.

ERO found that centre leaders and teachers had made good progress against most of the recommendations in the 2016 ERO report.

This review was part of a cluster of early childhood education reviews in the BestStart organisation.

The Review Findings

Children and their families experience positive and caring relationships with centre staff who are welcoming and inclusive of children and families from other countries. Some children have developed strong friendships with each other.

Children benefit from a very well-resourced environment with many natural materials. Resources and equipment are well presented and easily accessible, enabling children to make choices independently. Teachers have given careful consideration to setting out appropriate resources to challenge children of different ages.

Children take part in a broad variety of learning experiences, and teachers plan activities in response to their interests and needs. Children's diverse cultures are celebrated within the programme. Early literacy and numeracy concepts are promoted and integrated throughout daily activities. Children have good opportunities to explore the outdoor environment and develop their physical skills.

Children under two years of age and those with additional needs are sensitively supported. The infant and toddler classrooms are specifically set up for that age group. A wide range of sensory resources provide interest and enjoyable learning.

Effective group and individual assessment and planning helps children to grow their social, emotional and physical skills, as well as their understanding of the world around them. Teachers regularly review and set new goals for children's learning and plan the particular strategies they will use to support this. Learning stories record increasing complexity in children's development and understanding over time. Ensuring children experience smooth transitions into, within and out of the centre is an important aspect of the centre programme.

The centre is very well supported by the BestStart organisation. Sound governance systems provide a comprehensive policy and procedure framework and internal quality assurance. BestStart provides strong support for building leader and teacher capacity through targeted professional development and robust appraisal, including teachers inquiring into the effectiveness of their own practice.

The strategic and annual plans clearly show the direction of the centre and the areas for future focus. The BestStart priorities and the centre's identified needs inform the centre's strategic goals. There is clear alignment from these plans to the goals in teachers' appraisals, professional development provided, and the internal evaluation topics. The evaluations lead to well-considered changes and better outcomes for children.

New teachers go through a planned induction process. They are ably supported by the BestStart area manager and other centre staff throughout the day. Some useful guidelines provide teachers with a consistent understanding of expectations for practice.

Key Next Steps

The centre leaders and BestStart managers have identified, and ERO's evaluation confirms, that leaders and teachers need to develop the centre's localised curriculum and philosophy to better show 'what learning matters' to this community and this team of teachers. Leaders and teachers need to extend internal evaluation to review how well interactions support children's:

  • learning, engagement and wellbeing

  • oral language acquisition (particularly for English language learners)

  • independence and self-management skills.

Aspects of individual assessment, planning and evaluation could be strengthened by teachers explicitly gathering parents' wishes for their child's learning and development, and creating goals that reflect this.

Leaders and teachers need to continue to increase their confidence and competence around te ao and te reo Māori (particularly as there is a high number of new teachers and teachers from overseas at this centre).

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of BestStart Queenstown 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

21 November 2019

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

Queenstown

Ministry of Education profile number

65156

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

77

Gender composition

Male 44

Female 33

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other Ethnicities

6
48
23

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

21 November 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

September 2012

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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 ABC Queenstown

How well placed is ABC Queenstown 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

ABC Queenstown is owned and operated by the Best Start group. Children play and learn in a purpose-built building in central Queenstown.

Since the 2012 ERO review, there have been ongoing staff changes. A new centre manager, two head teachers and other staff have recently been appointed. About half of the teachers have early childhood qualifications and the others have a mix of primary teaching backgrounds, are in training or are untrained. The Best Start managers are seeking ways to reduce staff turnover and increase the number of qualified early childhood teachers.

The centre philosophy states the teachers’ commitment to helping children and their families develop a sense of belonging to the centre. It also emphasises valuing everyone’s diverse cultural backgrounds. The centre is an important point of social contact for many families.

The children are cared for in three distinct areas according to age and readiness. The centre has introduced a mixed-age programme for two-to-five year olds and changed the structure of the day. Infants and toddlers have separate care and play spaces. These have been purposefully planned to best meet the needs of these age groups.

There have been many recent and positive changes since the appointment of the new centre manager. These changes are in the early stages of being embedded.

The Review Findings

Children and their families enjoy caring and positive relationships with their teachers.

Children settle quickly on arrival and confidently approach their teachers. They have developed good friendships with each other. For infants and toddlers there is a particularly strong focus on nurturing relationships and knowing the children well.

Teachers work closely with families. They increasingly use ICT as a tool for sharing information and communicating with parents. They are beginning to develop partnerships for learning by gathering parents’ wishes for their children. The next step is to better document the ways they respond to these.

Children often make choices about what they want to do. Teachers are attuned to the needs and gestures of infant and toddlers and follow their prompts. Older children have increasing opportunities to choose where and when they play. They are encouraged to take increasing responsibility. For example, they choose when to eat, and help with food preparation.

The teachers are aware of the diverse cultures represented in the centre and are investigating ways to better acknowledge these. They are growing in their confidence in the use of te reo Māori and exploring Māori concepts. The centre has plans to strengthen the Māori dimension and ERO agrees this is a priority.

Teachers’ interactions with children could have a stronger focus on learning. For example, these could have a more deliberate focus on oral language development for children with English as a second language. Teachers should also explore ways to extend older children’s thinking and problem solving.

The daily programme is based on teachers noticing, recognising and responding to children’s strengths and interests. Children have access to a variety of indoor and outdoor experiences. The next step for leaders and teachers is to investigate the place of a rich early literacy, mathematics and bicultural curriculum. In the philosophy they should better identify the centre’s priorities for children’s learning.

Best Start managers and ERO have identified that records of group and individual planning, assessment and evaluation need a stronger focus on learning. These need to better detail the intended learning and the strategies teachers will use to support this.

Best Start managers visit the centre regularly and provide effective support for the centre manager, leaders and teachers. The new centre manager is building a positive team culture. She is setting clear expectations for teachers about how they will work and implementing systems for the smooth running of the centre. This includes the new appraisal system and some other improvements. The managers and leaders agree that internal review is an area to strengthen.

Useful priorities for development are included in the centre’s strategic plan. This could be extended to include other priorities such as the retention and recruitment of staff.

Key Next Steps

Best Start managers, leaders and ERO agree that the next steps are to:

  • extend and embed the centre’s philosophy across assessment planning and curriculum
  • strengthen teachers’ knowledge and implementation of effective planning, assessment and evaluation, including intended learning outcomes and teacher strategies
  • better document responses to parents' wishes about their involvement in their child's learning journey
  • deepen teachers’ understanding and implementation of the early childhood curriculum and interactions for learning
  • strengthen internal review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ABC Queenstown 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 practice, centre leaders should strengthen documentation of risk management for outings.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of ABC Queenstown will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

4 March 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

Queenstown

Ministry of Education profile number

65156

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

71 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

81

Gender composition

Boys: 51

Girls: 30

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Latin American

Other

5

59

6

11

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

4 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

September 2012

 

Education Review

June 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.