Little Kiwis Early Learning Centre
24 August 2016
1 Evaluation of Little Kiwis Early Learning
How well placed is Little Kiwis Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?
|Not well placed||Required further development||
|Very well placed|
ERO’s findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.
Little Kiwis Early Learning Centre offers education and care for up to 100 children, including up to 50 children under two years of age. It is organised into three rooms to cater for the different age groups. Children have ready access to outdoor areas and opportunities to play with their peers and older and younger children throughout the day.
The centre is privately owned and managed. A manager oversees the day-to day running of the centre. Room team leaders have responsibility for the children’s care routines and learning programmes. Two of the team leaders are new to these leadership roles.
Little Kiwis Early Learning Centre is a Christian-based service. The programme is guided by the philosophies from Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, within a physical learning environment that invites children to explore, to experience different learning opportunities, and to express themselves.
Centre leaders have responded positively to suggestions for ongoing improvement made in the 2013 ERO report. These areas focused on extending children’s play and strengthening partnerships with parents and whānau. There has also been a focus on supporting teacher practice and growth through a variety of professional learning opportunities.
The Review Findings
Children of all ages are highly engaged in their learning and play. They use their imagination, solve problems and develop complex play experiences. They enjoy caring, respectful relationships with adults and each other. Children are well supported to grow their social competencies. Adults and children work and play well together.
High quality interactions between teachers and children are evident. Skilled teaching practices facilitate children’s play, language development and engagement in learning. Teachers support children to make independent decisions and plan their play. They allow the child to be a leader of their own learning. Teachers provide nurturing care for infants and toddlers and build trusting relationships with them.
learning areas invite children’s curiosity. The outdoor environment includes good opportunities for physical play and enjoyment of the natural environment. There is an easy flow of play between the indoor and outdoor environments.
Children’s opportunities to learn early literacy and mathematical skills are extensive. Preparation for school readiness is woven through the entire curriculum and takes place in meaningful contexts through play.
Teachers plan and assess well in order to extend learning opportunities for children. Recently introduced planning processes are helping teachers plan a programme that is very responsive to children’s emerging interests, strengths and their inquiries. Parent feedback and contribution is documented and acknowledged. These approaches help teachers to provide a broad curriculum that is relevant for children and their families.
Diversity is valued and celebrated in the centre. The different cultural heritages and languages of the children are reflected in the environment and in the learning programme. Teachers could consider further ways to capture children’s language and culture in learning stories and assessment practices. Te reo and tikanga Māori are integrated into the programme and environment to some degree. This is an area where centre leaders and teachers demonstrate a commitment to continue to build their understanding of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. It is timely to review the bicultural aspect of the centre philosophy.
The centre manager is successfully building a capable and professional team. She has high expectations for staff and teachers are well supported in their professional practice. Centre owners are investing in growing the new leadership team through resourcing external professional support. An in-centre mentoring approach to support the ongoing growth of teacher capability has recently been introduced. All staff are supported by relevant professional learning and development opportunities.
The owner has accessed external support to establish a comprehensive framework for self review, and to guide staff in undertaking centre reviews around teaching and learning. There is evidence that self review is leading to ongoing improvements in the centre.
Governance and management of the centre is efficient and effective. Operational systems and processes are well aligned. The policy framework and management planning are sound. Good practices support the health and safety of adults and children in the centre.
Key Next Steps
ERO and centre leaders agree that the key next steps include:
- building on their understandings of te reo and tikanga Māori and increasing bicultural practices
- continuing to grow the confidence and capability of the new leadership team to lead the centre’s ongoing development.
Management Assurance on Legal Requirements
Before the review, the staff and management of Little Kiwis Early Learning 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:
- 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 Little Kiwis Early Learning Centre will be in three years.