Pioneers Russell Street & Nursery

Education institution number:
83008
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
70
Telephone:
Address:

76 Russell Street, Dunedin Central, Dunedin

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1 Evaluation of Pioneers Russell Street

How well placed is Pioneers Russell Street 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

Pioneers Russell Street is one of four centres under the Dunedin Community Childcare Association, trading as Pioneers. Pioneers is a not for profit organisation and has four centres and three home-based care networks. A governance board oversees the work of Pioneers. A director acts as the operational manager and leader of learning. Pioneers aims to ‘provide accessible, affordable and flexible quality education and care for families of Dunedin’.

Pioneers Russell Street (Russell Street) is a full-day service in central Dunedin. Children from around two years to school age attend the centre and learn in a mixed-age setting. This community-based centre has recently had physical improvements to the indoor environment. The centre provides healthy food for the children.

Russell Street has a head and assistant head teacher. The head teacher is responsible for the day-to-day management and shares curriculum leadership with her assistant. Since the 2015 ERO review, there have been some staff changes. Most of the teachers are qualified early childhood educators.

The centre philosophy is to support children to believe in themselves and their capabilities, make their own choices and be resilient. It states that the natural world, sustainability, physical activity and social competency will be promoted through positive relationships, a bicultural curriculum and family-like environment.

This review was part of a cluster of four early learning services reviewed in the Pioneers (DCCA) organisation.

The Review Findings

Russell Street provides a learning environment that is calm and welcoming to all children, their parents and wider whānau. Children settle quickly on arrival and know the well-established but flexible routines. Children show respect for each other and their centre environment. There are caring and nurturing relationships between teachers and children.

Children are empowered to make choices and take on leadership roles. They learn how to be responsible for their learning, and for the wellbeing of themselves and others. The centre’s treaty is demonstrated by children and teachers having respectful, caring and responsive interactions.

Children’s learning is well supported by centre priorities that are evident in practice. The teachers purposefully involve children in making decisions about their learning. This includes what resources are used, and how their environment is set up. They support children’s oral language development, while making links to what the group is focusing on.

Russell Street has a rich and varied curriculum where children learn about the natural world including sustainability, social competence, early literacy and mathematics. Children learn and play in an environment that is thoughtfully presented, and where creative expression, art exploration and dramatic play are supported.

The outside environment is varied to encourage physical activity and exploration. Well-presented visual displays provide useful information for parents and enable children to revisit their learning. Māori concepts and te reo Māori are integrated into the day-to-day programme.

Teachers plan well for group learning practices. These plans have learning outcomes and describe teachers’ strategies, and have a clear link to the centre's learning priorities.

Leaders and teachers are improvement focused and have effective internal-evaluation practices. These have led to well-informed and ongoing improvements to children’s learning and wellbeing across the centre.

Teachers at Russell Street are well supported both with their wellbeing and professionally. Teachers’ strengths are valued and they benefit from relevant professional learning and leadership opportunities.

Key Next Steps

Individual assessment and planning practices need to be strengthened, in particular making visible in learning stories:

  • responses to parents' aspirations
  • how the teacher has or will deepen children's learning
  • children's cultural identity.

Pioneers Association - Governance

Pioneers has sound governance practices. Board members have a good understanding of their governance role, and have relevant skills and work experience. The director, centre leaders and teachers have developed well-considered strategic goals and useful long and short term plans. Initiatives and practices across the centres are intentionally aligned to these. Teachers and leaders feel valued and very well supported by the director and board.

The director has implemented useful systems and practices that contribute to the smooth operation of the centres through a period of significant change. Valuable relationships have been built with social and educational organisations beyond the association, with the intent of improving educational provision and children's wellbeing.

The director and ERO have identified that the next steps are to continue to:

  • implement the new and improved appraisal system, including teaching as inquiry
  • extend quality assurance to further identify and share best practices across all centres so that any additional support required is identified

  • build links with local iwi and Māori whānau to enable rich learning about te ao Māori across all centres
  • support centres to develop more useful annual action plans and improve reporting against these.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pioneers Russell Street 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 Pioneers Russell Street will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

6 September 2018

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

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

83008

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll

50

Gender composition

Girls: 23 Boys: 27

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnicities

10
40
4

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

June 2018

Date of this report

6 September 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

December 2011

Education Review

November 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 Russell Street Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Russell Street Early Childhood Centre 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

Russell Street Early Childcare Centre is a full-day education and care service for children aged over two years. It is licensed to have 40 children. It is a community-based centre located in the central city.

Children come to the centre from the wider Dunedin area. The majority of them move from the neighbouring nursery when they are two years of age.

There has been a number of staff changes since the last ERO review in 2011. At the time of this review all teachers were fully qualified.

The centre’s philosophy is to support children to believe in themselves and their capabilities, make their own choices and be resilient. Teachers build positive relationships, respecting and valuing the diversity and uniqueness of the children and their whānau. Teachers believe they have to know each individual as a learner. This awareness enriches the children’s knowledge, skills and attitudes across curriculum areas, with an emphasis on children connecting with the land and nature.

Since the last ERO review in 2011, the centre staff has made good progress in the areas identified as needing development.

This review was part of a cluster of five reviews in the Dunedin Community Childcare Association (DCCA). The head teacher manages the day-to-day running of the centre.

The Review Findings

The centre’s philosophy is very evident in practice. 

Children learn in a family-like atmosphere within the centre. There are caring and nurturing relationships between teachers and children and their whānau.

Children engage in learning and have fun across a wide range of experiences. Major emphasis is placed on children exploring natural environments to build their knowledge and skills of the outdoors. The outdoor area is well developed and provides a range of varied interesting areas for different activities and experiences, including pets, gardening and sports. Teachers make good use of the local environment, especially as part of their forest programme. 

Since the 2011 ERO review, teachers have a greater focus on individual planning. The planning shows improved continuity of each child’s learning. Teachers are exploring ways to strengthen the parent input into this process. 

Teachers use effective methods to evaluate the difference they are making to individual children’s learning. They are extending this practice to their group-planning process.

Teachers have an integrated approach around a common interest for group planning. This includes planning for specific learning areas, for example art, literacy, numeracy and science. A range of planned programmes and intentional teaching for children is included to build on children’s working theories and knowledge about their world. Teachers decide on the teaching strategies they will use to enhance the children’s learning. Because of this approach teachers are noticing children transferring what they have learnt in one area to another and enjoying more complex learning.

Māori children have a variety of activities and experiences that reflect their culture in the environment and learning. These also enable all children to learn about their bicultural heritage. ERO observed high levels of use of te reo Māori and use of tikanga practices. Teachers show a strong awareness of Māori concepts and values. They deliberately integrate them in how they talk with children and how they do things at the centre.

Teachers interact with children in a positive manner to support them to make choices, be independent and benefit from support to deal with daily small challenges. They promote positive interactions between children to support learning and strengthen positive relationships between children. 

Teachers provide many learning opportunities that support children’s mathematics learning. These are effectively assimilated into everyday activities. 

The centre implements effective transition practices for children moving from the Nursery Centre and onto school. There is an emphasis on children having a strong sense of belonging and then transferring their trust to the new learning environment and adults. 

Planning shows thoughtful responding to learners with different needs. Teachers form collaborative relationships with parents and other support personnel. They demonstrate thorough understanding of children developing at their own pace. The supportive culture of the centre ensures all children are included in activities by other children.

The leadership team has a suitable focus on sustaining the practices that ensure the philosophy is evident in action and working for ongoing improvement. Teachers work collaboratively, valuing the strengths, experience and interests of each other. Emergent leadership among the teachers is encouraged and supported.

Key Next Steps

Centre records show that the teachers discuss centre and teaching practices. They need to formalise centre expectations to guide teachers’ practice. These shared understandings should:

  • help to maintain consistency across the centre
  • help to sustain and build on the established good practices
  • provide indicators to evaluate effectiveness against.

Governance and Management of the DCCA

The DCCA is governed by an executive committee and managed by a newly appointed director. The experienced and supportive executive:

  • has a strong commitment to teaching and learning
  • has developed policies to guide practices within the centres
  • seeks the views of parents and staff
  • is more purposefully appraising its teaching staff, in particular against the registered teacher criteria.

Head teachers appreciate the regular meetings they have as a group with the director.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the association has developed a useful framework for self review. The association management need to ensure its practices and those of the centres are following the guidelines. Better implementation of the guidelines should lead to more effective identification of what is going well and what needs further development. Findings from self review should be an integral part of planning.

The executive committee has developed four aspirational strategic goals. The associated annual plan could be improved by setting out how each goal is to be specifically achieved. The association recognises the need for each centre to develop annual plans that align with the association’s priorities. More detailed plans would provide a useful basis for head teachers and the director to write their reports against and for the executive committee to monitor progress against.

The board needs to clarify the roles of the association management and leadership, including the director's responsibilities. This should help the achievement of the strategic plan.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Russell Street Early Childhood Centre 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 the early childhood leaders should:

  • develop written procedures to guide the results of police vetting and the management of related risks
  • improve its practices for the assessment and management of risk for all excursions.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Russell Street Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

10 February 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

83008

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll

42

Gender composition

Girls: 21

Boys: 21

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other:

4

35

3

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

October 2014

Date of this report

10 February 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

December 2011

 

Education Review

November 2008

 

Education Review

June 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.