Early Impressions Childcare Education Review 07/05/2018
Early Impressions Childcare is a well-established community based, non-profit early childhood education centre located in Johnsonville. It is licensed to operate from Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 2.30pm for 25 children, including five children aged up to two years. Of the current roll of 69 children, seven identify as Māori and 21 from other nations.
Most children attend two to three days each week, usually on the same days. A core group of teachers support children's learning and development.
The Johnsonville Community Centre Management Committee is responsible for governance of the service. A centre manager and a head teacher manage the daily administration, teaching, learning and care of children.
The April 2015 ERO report indicated the need to strengthen the evaluation of programme effectiveness for children's learning. Although this has not yet been implemented, teachers have been engaged in self-review activities. They have strengthened their knowledge and response to children's cultures.
The Review Findings
The centre staff diligently consider the needs of the wider community. Over time this has been a strength and continues to evolve as changes are made that impact on how the service is organised. The extended hours of the service has been responsive to families' requests and needs. Administration and resourcing of recent changes have been well managed.
Children's sense of belonging is fostered by staff. Relationships and interactions between adults and children are respectful, nurturing and positive. As children do not attend every day, to support the building of positive relationships with each child, a lead teacher is designated as a child's primary caregiver with oversight of their wellbeing and learning. During the day all teachers care for all children.
Children are friendly and play well together. Teachers work cooperatively with each other while caring for children. They reflect daily on children's learning experiences and make appropriate changes to the programme.
Children aged up to two years old are appropriately supported through carefully considered, sensitive interactions. They play with children of all ages across the centre.
Children with diverse needs and their families are known to staff and are well catered for.
Staff acknowledge Māori as tangata whenua. The centre philosophy reflects this. Teachers provide all children with exposure to the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand. They participate in opportunities to further their professional learning around te ao Māori.
Families are communicated with regularly. They are welcomed and warmly invited into the centre. Teachers seek to extend this relationship so that families respond to children's learning more readily through the online documented system. Information from families should contribute to assessment for learning, curriculum planning and evaluation to inform daily curriculum activities.
At the time of this ERO review, staff have begun to consider how to effectively plan for all children who attend the service. Managers agree additional professional development should support teachers to use focused and deliberate assessment, planning and evaluation practices.
The programme requires considerable attention to better meet children's learning needs. Teachers should provide a responsive curriculum that is inclusive of children's deep interests. The service's valued outcomes for children's learning are not yet visible in teachers' planning.
Self review has been a useful vehicle for teachers to share expectations, practices. It is timely to now extend the practice to better analyse outcomes and to strengthen the evaluation of programme effectiveness for children's learning.
Leaders have identified areas where they will continue to strengthen outcomes for children. These include:
- assessment, planning and evaluation processes that provide teachers and children with clear direction
- networking with other community-based services to share professional understandings of good quality practices
- building an organisational culture that supports ongoing improvement.
ERO has identified through its external evaluation process that the service should:
- seek support to design and plan daily programmes to better meet the needs of individual children in line with their patterns of attendance
- further develop internal evaluation for improvement
- develop and implement an appraisal system that strengthens teachers' inquiry in to practice to align with the service's valued outcomes for children's learning.
Before the review, the staff and management of Early Impressions Childcare 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:
- 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
Development Plan Recommendation
ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.
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.
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.