Weka Pre-School Ltd - 09/08/2019

1 Evaluation of Weka Pre-School Ltd

How well placed is Weka Pre-School Ltd to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Weka Pre-School Ltd is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Weka Preschool is a rural, early childhood service that provides education and care for up to 74 children, including 25 aged up to two years. It is in Winton and operates from 7.45am to 5.45pm, Monday to Friday.

There are four teaching lounges that cater for all children - Sparrows (under two years), Tui (20 months to three years), Pūkeko (three to four years), and Tuatara (four to six years). Each lounge has access to a well-designed and well-resourced outdoor area, providing opportunities for physically active play, challenge, risk and exploration.

The service's valued outcomes are for children to be confident and independent explorers of the world and to have an appreciation of the wonders of nature.

The purpose/mission states that the service will 'provide high quality education and care where each child is empowered and celebrated as a successful individual learner'.

The day-to-day operations of the centre are managed by the Managing Director/Owner who is supported by four team leaders. Since ERO's 2016 review, staffing has been stable. Leaders and teachers have made very good progress in addressing the recommendations of the 2016 review report.

The Review Findings

Children confidently engage in a broad, rich, localised curriculum based on the principles and strands of Te Whāriki - the early childhood curriculum. Teachers provide a range of provocations and learning experiences which engage children in their learning for long periods of time. They have many opportunities to work co-operatively to complete their chosen activities. There is a strong focus on allowing children to move freely throughout the centre. This meaningfully supports the variety of ages, interests and abilities of all children.

Leaders and teachers regularly review the curriculum focus in each lounge. The learning contexts are used to develop and support children's independence, social competency, self-management skills and learning dispositions.

Close relationships exist between infants, toddlers and their primary carers. Teachers provide a calm and settled environment that supports an unhurried pace of learning for infants and toddlers. Equipment and furniture are age appropriate and offer interest, curiosity and challenge for young children.

There is a strong culture of collaboration and cohesion amongst teachers. They use a wide range of relevant and appropriate intentional-teaching strategies to support children's learning, development and wellbeing. They effectively integrate early literacy and numeracy learning into the programme. Teachers are reflective, responsive and open to new learning.

Aspects of te ao Māori are meaningfully integrated in the programme and align to the centre's philosophy and valued outcomes. Te reo me ona tikanga Māori practices have been strengthened over time with an ongoing commitment from leaders and teachers. These are embedded and enacted by children and adults.

The environment is interesting, natural and spacious. The very well-resourced indoor and outdoor areas provide many opportunities for children to develop and enhance their curiosity, creativity and exploration. Learning areas are intentionally designed and set up to be homely with purposeful activities provided in designated areas.

Transitions into, through and beyond the centre are well-managed and supported by leaders and teachers. Regular communication and effective practices ensure that settling strategies are sensitively tailored to individual children. Highly effective and professional partnerships between teachers, families and schools help children move confidently to school.

Leaders and teachers collaborate regularly to continually strengthen and improve assessment, planning and evaluation practices and processes. Cultural information and parents' aspirations are meaningfully integrated into children's individual learning documentation. Detailed records show how teachers plan for and support children to make progress in their learning over time.

A collaborative leadership model effectively promotes continual improvement. Shared leadership provides opportunities for staff to develop and grow leadership practices. Sound governance, management and administration systems and practices have been developed to support appraisal, and to support staff to become fully qualified and certificated teachers. Useful guidelines have been developed to guide practices and promote consistency across the centre.

Internal evaluation has been used very effectively by leaders and teachers to assess, plan and evaluate children's learning and development. Teachers follow a useful review framework that covers all aspects of the curriculum. Teachers have many opportunities to engage in professional development and critical discussions.

Key Next Steps

The leadership team has clearly identified, and ERO's evaluation confirms, that the key next steps to further extend current good practices are to:

  • strengthen aspects of internal evaluation to consistently include an evaluative question and indicators of good practice

  • review the opportunities provided to children to access and revisit their learning

  • refine the philosophy to more clearly show the valued outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Weka Pre-School Ltd 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.

Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

9 August 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

Winton

Ministry of Education profile number

65148

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

74 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll

107

Gender composition

Girls 58, Boys 49

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

14
81
12

Percentage of qualified teachers

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

9 August 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

January 2016

Education Review

December 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.