Grey Valley Playcentre - 24/05/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Grey Valley Playcentre is located in Ahaura, 40 km north of Greymouth. It is the only licensed early childhood centre between Reefton and Greymouth. It runs morning sessions twice a week.

The playcentre is located in a purpose-built facility within the grounds of Ahaura School. It is one of ten parent-led centres that operate under the umbrella of the Buller Westland Playcentre Association.

The association provides policy direction for centre operations, as well as administrative services and quality management. Office holders, along with fieldworkers, provide professional advice and support for centres to develop and promote the benefits of parent-led early childhood services.

Since the playcentre’s last ERO review in March 2008, there have been a significant number of changes in personnel. Team leaders and parents have maintained and built on many of the good practices noted during this review.

Features of the centre include:

  • the wide variety of activities children are able to take part in
  • the good opportunities children have to exercise choice and follow their interests
  • the way parents successfully support children’s learning and involve themselves in the programme, planning and assessment
  • the extent to which children’s sense of well-being and belonging is fostered
  • the quality of the centre’s facilities, environment and resources.

The centre’s parent committee and team leaders have developed a range of sound management practices. These are helping to promote ongoing Playcentre improvement.

The next steps for the centre, identified by team leaders, parents and ERO include:

  • building on recent developments related to children’s assessment and fostering biculturalism
  • extending programme planning and evaluation practices
  • extending the centre’s ongoing programme of self-review.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Grey Valley Playcentre 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 atGrey Valley Playcentre.

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; and
  • the interactions between children and adults.

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

The Quality of Education

Background

Since the last ERO review, a new group of parents have become involved with the playcentre. They have continued to build on the centre’s programme. Professional development, support and training have helped team leaders and parents improve learning opportunities for children.

Areas of strength

Playcentre programme

The centre’s programme provides children with a wide variety of experiences that are successfully supporting their learning and development. Features of the programme include the:

  • good range of activities children take part in both within and beyond the centre
  • extensive opportunities children have to follow their interests and exercise choice
  • flexible routines that support children to explore and play for long periods
  • growing level of parents involvement in programme planning and children’s assessments
  • good provisions made for children’s transition to school.
Interactions

Team leaders and parents interact with children in ways that help to foster their sense of belonging, well-being and their learning.

During the review visit team leaders and parents interacted with children in respectful, responsive and supportive ways. Children were settled, engaged and comfortable in interacting with adults and their peers.

Reviewers observed many instances of parents:

  • actively involving themselves in children’s play in ways that extended their interests and understandings
  • successfully guiding and supporting children’s play
  • interacting with children in ways that helped to extend their thinking, language and social development.
Environment

A feature of this playcentre is the quality of the environment, facilities and resources it provides for children. These facilities are purpose built, spacious and inviting.

Team leaders and parents make effective use of the environment to provide children with a wide variety of interesting indoor and outdoor activities. Well set up activity areas provide children with ready access to an extensive variety of resources that they make good use of to play and learn. Attractive wall displays celebrate children’s learning and provide useful information for parents.

Leadership and management

Several leadership and management practices are helping to enhance the quality of care and education for children. These include:

  • team leaders’ focus on promoting ongoing centre improvement
  • the operational framework provided by the Playcentre Association and the range of responsibilities that are now shared by parents
  • the extent to which parents are encouraged and supported to take part in the training opportunities available through the playcentre
  • the efforts made to develop reflective practices.

Areas for development and review

Building on recent initiatives

Team leaders and parents recognise the need to build on recent initiatives including improving assessment practices and promoting biculturalism. For example:

  • while regular assessments of children’s progress occur, some assessments show the next steps for learning and teaching more clearly than others
  • further consideration needs to be given to developing the use of te reo and tikanga Māori into the centre programme.
Extending programme planning and evaluation

Programme planning and evaluation are currently a focus for centre improvement. To support further improvement, team leaders and parents should:

  • clarify what counts as high quality programme planning and evaluation
  • extend the use of daily programme notes, observations and assessments to clarify the intended outcomes of planned programmes
  • link programme evaluations back to intended learning and teaching outcomes.
Extending the scope of self review

The playcentre’s ongoing programme of self review focuses primarily on resources, some aspects of the programme and revising documented policies and procedures.

Parent opinions about the effectiveness of some aspects of the playcentre’s operation vary.

The value and usefulness of the playcentre’s self-review programme and practices could be enhanced by including a greater focus on evaluating:

  • how effectively the playcentre’s philosophy is reflected in centre programmes and practices
  • how well the differing expectations and aspirations of parents are being responded to
  • how effectively the playcentre is responding to the diverse needs of its widespread and unique community.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Grey Valley Playcentre completed an ERO CentreAssurance Statement 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; and
  • 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; and
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

In order to improve current practice the managers should:

  • extend risk management procedures for trips and outings beyond the centre
  • reactivate the keeping of records regarding children’s sleep while at the centre.

4 Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

Sessional Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under two

Roll number

30

Gender composition

Boys 18

Girls 12

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 25;

Māori 2;

Samoan 1;

Asian 2

Review team on site

March 2012

Date of this report

24 May 2012

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review March 2008

Education Review May 2005

Discretionary Review December 2000

 

24 May 2012

To the Parents and Community of Grey Valley Playcentre

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Grey Valley Playcentre.

Grey Valley Playcentre is located in Ahaura, 40 km north of Greymouth. It is the only licensed early childhood centre between Reefton and Greymouth. It runs morning sessions twice a week.

The playcentre is located in a purpose-built facility within the grounds of Ahaura School. It is one of ten parent-led centres that operate under the umbrella of the Buller Westland Playcentre Association.

The association provides policy direction for centre operations, as well as administrative services and quality management. Office holders, along with fieldworkers, provide professional advice and support for centres to develop and promote the benefits of parent-led early childhood services.

Since the playcentre’s last ERO review in March 2008, there have been a significant number of changes in personnel. Team leaders and parents have maintained and built on many of the good practices noted during this review.

Features of the centre include:

  • the wide variety of activities children are able to take part in
  • the good opportunities children have to exercise choice and follow their interests
  • the way parents successfully support children’s learning and involve themselves in the programme, planning and assessment
  • the extent to which children’s sense of well-being and belonging is fostered
  • the quality of the centre’s facilities, environment and resources.

The centre’s parent committee and team leaders have developed a range of sound management practices. These are helping to promote ongoing Playcentre improvement.

The next steps for the centre, identified by team leaders, parents and ERO include:

  • building on recent developments related to children’s assessment and fostering biculturalism
  • extending programme planning and evaluation practices
  • extending the centre’s ongoing programme of self-review.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service 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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

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.