Surrey Park Early Learning Centre Inc - Infants and Toddlers - 12/07/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Surrey Park Early Learning Centre – Infants and Toddlers provides education and care for children under-two-years old. It is one of three licences at the Surrey Park site. Children begin in the Infant Centre, then move to the Intermediate and finally the Preschool Centre. The three licenses are managed by an on-site director. A parent board has overall responsibility.

For this licence, children and teachers are based in two rooms. Each room has its own programme. Usually, there is one teacher for every three children. This means that the infants and toddlers benefit from frequent one-to-one and small-group care and attention.

Children are sensitively cared for. For example, when infants wake, teachers take time to hold them. Teachers recognise the uniqueness of infants and toddlers and are very respectful in the way they relate to them. Routines and care are adapted to best meet each child’s needs.

Teachers go out of their way to make family members welcome and share important information about children’s care needs. Infants and toddlers settle quickly on arrival and happily go to their teachers. There is good communication between the teachers about the care of children.

Teachers know each child well. They notice their interests, personal qualities and development. Teachers now need to work with parents to develop learning plans for each child. Teachers need to put a greater emphasis on their role as educators.

During 2010, the centre had many changes. Buildings and some outside areas were upgraded. The centres were relicensed and there was significant roll growth. Teachers worked hard to ensure that these changes did not impact on children. However, the changes have put extra demands on the board and director and had an impact on governance and management.

The centre has not maintained effective self-review practices, staff appraisal and strategic plans or ensured that provisionally registered teachers have an advice and guidance programme. Some of the centre’s guidelines and procedures are not followed. ERO has asked the trustees and director to develop an action plan to address the points raised in the Governance and Management section of this report. This should be submitted to ERO within one month of the confirmation of this report.

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 within three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

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.

In addition, ERO decided to evaluate aspects of the:

  • centre management and governance.

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

The Quality of Education

Background

The philosophy statements in the infant and toddler rooms are very similar. Both state that teachers see children as capable and confident. They describe the different ways that children learn and emphasise the importance of respectful relationships with children and their families. The philosophies also include respect for the environment and different cultures.

Areas of strength

Relationships. Infants, toddlers and their families are supported by warm and caring relationships. The teachers know the children and their families well. They notice and quickly respond to the children’s verbal and non-verbal cues and encourage the children to attempt new tasks. ERO noted that children played well alongside each other. The teachers work well as a team.

Respect for children. Teachers recognise the uniqueness of infants and toddlers and are very respectful of them. They notice and are sensitive to children’s preferences. When infants wake, teachers take time to hold them and gently bring them back to full wakefulness. They alert children to imminent changes and do not hurry them.

Belonging and well-being. The children show a strong sense of being secure in the centre. They settle quickly on arrival and confidently approach their teachers. The teachers are sensitive to children’s individual care needs and promptly meet these. There are well established but flexible routines. As a result, the two rooms have a calm and unhurried feeling.

Aspects of assessment and planning. The children’s profiles are a comprehensive record of their development at the centre. In the best examples, teachers:

  • record parents’ contributions and respond to these
  • notice and describe the child’s dispositions, learning and development.

Teachers have experimented with different approaches to group planning.

Areas for development and review

Aspects of assessment and planning. Centre guidelines say that teachers will, with parent input, plan learning pathways for each child. This does not happen.

The children’s profile books do not record the priorities for that child, the parents’ aspirations for their learning, and what and how teachers plan to support the child’s next learning steps. Teachers need to establish the strategies they intend to use to support children’s learning and find simple ways to share these.

Focus on learning. Teachers could put a greater focus on infant and toddler learning. ERO noted that:

  • there was little evidence in team minutes and profile books of discussions about children’s learning and strategies to support this
  • teachers sometimes missed opportunities to extend children’s oral language
  • teachers were not always aware of individual learning plans for children with special needs.

Other Priorities: Aspects of Governance and Management

Background

There have been many changes within the centre. These include extensive building developments, relicensing and a significant roll increase. These changes have put extra demands on the board and director and had an impact on governance and management.

Area of strength

The centre has many detailed and useful procedures and guidelines. Staff retention is high and staff members speak positively about their work place and their relationships with each other.

Areas for development and review

Governance and management. Aspects of governance and management could put this centre at risk. Key points are that:

  • some important centre procedures and guidelines are not followed
  • there is no strategic plan to give direction for the future of the centre
  • there is no detail as to how the annual plan will be implemented, by whom and when
  • there is no system to report on how well the annual plan has been implemented
  • the director does not give the management committee formal reports about centre operations.

Self review. Formal self-review practices need to be implemented. The centre has yet to carry out rigorous self review to identify what is going well, what is not, and what needs to change. The centre does not have effective systems for monitoring centre expectations and staff performance.

Support for teachers. Teachers have not had sufficient professional support. Staff and team meetings could have a greater focus on teaching and learning. The skills of the leadership team could be better developed and used in order to support the director. For example, team leaders could be overseeing appraisals, advice and guidance programmes and self review. They could also better monitor how well guidelines and procedures are implemented.

Teachers, team leaders and the director were not appraised against their job descriptions and the Teacher’s Council professional standards in 2010. There has been no advice and guidance programme for most provisionally-registered teachers. As a result, these teachers will not be eligible to register in the immediate future.

[Actions 4.1 and 4.2]

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Partnerships with Whānau of Māori Children in Early Childhood Services

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • this service understands and values the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau, particularly when the child and whānau transition to the service
  • managers and educators have built relationships with whānau of Māori children
  • this service works in partnership with whānau of Māori children.

Background

Eleven children are identified as Māori on enrolment.

Findings

Staff relate to Māori children and their families in the same way that they relate to other centre members. They are welcoming and friendly. No special effort is made to find out about the strengths, cultural experiences, or interests that these children or their parents might have as Māori. Parents have not been asked about their aspirations for their children.

In the centre’s annual plan, there is a commitment to improving the teachers’ knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori. Several teachers have enrolled in courses in these areas.

Area for review and development

Strengthening partnerships. Managers and teachers need to find out about the aspirations that Māori parents have for their children. They then need to show how they have responded to this.

All children could have more frequent opportunities to hear and use te reo Māori and learn about aspects of Māori culture. Teachers have identified this as a priority.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Surrey Park Early Learning Centre - Infants and Toddlers 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
  • 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.

Two areas of non-compliance were identified in this review. To address these concerns, the director must ensure that:

  1. teachers and other staff are appraised each year [Source: GMA7 - there is a system of regular appraisal]
  2. provisionally-registered teachers are provided with a suitable advice and guidance programme. [Source: GMA7 - provision of professional development]

5. Recommendations

ERO and the director agree that:

  1. the director and teachers address the areas for development and review in the Quality of Education section
  2. the trustees and director develop an action plan showing how they will address the points raised in the Governance and Management section
  3. a copy of the action plan is sent to ERO.

6. 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 within three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

Up to 25 children under 2 years of age

Roll number

29

Gender composition

Girls 11

Boys 18

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 21

Māori 8

Review team on site

May 2011

Date of this report

12 July 2011

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Reviews March 2007, June 2003

Accountability Review June 1998

To the Parents and Community of Surrey Park Early Learning Centre - Infants and Toddlers

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Surrey Park Early Learning Centre - Infants and Toddlers.

Surrey Park Early Learning Centre – Infants and Toddlers provides education and care for children under-two-years old. It is one of three licences at the Surrey Park site. Children begin in the Infant Centre, then move to the Intermediate and finally the Preschool Centre. The three licenses are managed by an on-site director. A parent board has overall responsibility.

For this licence, children and teachers are based in two rooms. Each room has its own programme. Usually, there is one teacher for every three children. This means that the infants and toddlers benefit from frequent one-to-one and small-group care and attention.

Children are sensitively cared for. For example, when infants wake, teachers take time to hold them. Teachers recognise the uniqueness of infants and toddlers and are very respectful in the way they relate to them. Routines and care are adapted to best meet each child’s needs.

Teachers go out of their way to make family members welcome and share important information about children’s care needs. Infants and toddlers settle quickly on arrival and happily go to their teachers. There is good communication between the teachers about the care of children.

Teachers know each child well. They notice their interests, personal qualities and development. Teachers now need to work with parents to develop learning plans for each child. Teachers need to put a greater emphasis on their role as educators.

During 2010, the centre had many changes. Buildings and some outside areas were upgraded. The centres were relicensed and there was significant roll growth. Teachers worked hard to ensure that these changes did not impact on children. However, the changes have put extra demands on the board and director and had an impact on governance and management.

The centre has not maintained effective self-review practices, staff appraisal and strategic plans or ensured that provisionally registered teachers have an advice and guidance programme. Some of the centre’s guidelines and procedures are not followed. ERO has asked the trustees and director to develop an action plan to address the points raised in the Governance and Management section of this report. This should be submitted to ERO within one month of the confirmation of this report.

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 within 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