EDUCATION REVIEW OFFICE REPORT: Tree Town Early Childhood Centre & Preschool 11 June 2018
To the Parents and Community of Tree Town Early Childhood Centre & Preschool
Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool Education Review
Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.
ERO’s findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.
Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool is a privately owned education and care service located in Cambridge.
It is licensed for 90 children including 20 up to the age of two. The current roll of 104 includes 22 children who identify as Māori. The centre provides a full day service and is open from 7.30am to 6.00pm on weekdays. There are four age group spaces – ranging from babies to pre-school.
The centre philosophy encourages children to explore and challenge themselves through respectful reciprocal relationships and the provision of a safe environment. The centre owner also manages the centre. A newly developed operations manager supports her in this role. The four age group spaces are led by head teachers who are also part of the senior leadership team. Over 80% of teachers are qualified early childhood educators.
The centre has recently opened a large new space for older children and significantly upgraded the outdoor environments for all of the age group spaces.
Most aspects of the previous report remain areas for further development particularly in responding to the language, culture and identity of Māori children, strategic planning and curriculum, planning and assessment.
The Review Findings
Children enjoy many opportunities to learn through play in spacious and well-designed environments. Particular curriculum priorities valued by the centre are evident in and consistent across all the rooms. These include children learning about values and virtues, children making choices about their own learning and teaching practices which emphasise respectful care. Children have access to a rich range of natural resources, open-ended equipment and materials which promote choice, self-management and challenge. There are opportunities for children to problem-solve and extend their thinking. Mathematics and literacy learning are naturally integrated into children’s play. Children’s oral language development is well-supported. Children are learning in a safe and secure environment where high levels of engagement and enthusiasm are evident.
There is support for Māori children and their whānau through positive relationships. Aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori are included in meaningful ways. Children up to two years of age benefit from responsive and secure relationships with consistent teachers.These children are confident explorers in a calm, unhurried environment. Teachers work effectively with specialist agencies to provide targeted teaching and support for children with additional needs. They are well supported within an inclusive centre culture.
Teachers make consistent use of practices that promote positive outcomes for children. Primary caregiving, where one teacher becomes the main provider of nurture and care, is an important strategy used by teachers to promote a strong sense of belonging and well-being in children and whānau. Many aspects of respectful care are evident in teacher practice. Positive guidance strategies encourage children to interact positively with their peers. Teachers effectively and positively integrate learning into everyday care routines. The transitions children make from one room to another and one primary caregiver to another are managed at the children’s own pace. Children benefit from positive, sensitive and responsive relationships with teachers.
There is a well-considered approach to appointing experienced leaders and fostering emergent leadership across the service. There is a strong focus on continual improvement. They have set expectations that teachers will inquire into their practice as part of the new appraisal process. Leaders build staff capability through collegial, professional relationships and by modelling best practice.
There are strong and effective systems and processes that underpin centre operations. A clear philosophy guides centre practice. It is regularly reviewed to ensure it reflects current teacher practice. There is ongoing internal evaluation into many aspects of centre operations which leads to centre development and improvement. This good governance is sustaining a valued community service.
Key Next Steps
ERO and the centre leaders agree that to improve their strategic and annual planning, an appropriate framework needs to be developed that:
- continue to rationalise and streamline strategic planning systems and processes
- document and fully implement the newly developed appraisal process
- further develop the curriculum to be more responsive to the language and identity of Māori and other children
- teachers considering taking a more individual approach to planning and assessment
Continued next steps include:
- developing clear criteria and understandings for high-quality teaching practice linked to ERO’s indicators and other early childhood education guidelines
- providing robust feedback to teachers in relation to agreed criteria
- achieving greater consistency in the quality of assessment and planning processes.
Management Assurance on Legal Requirements
Before the review, the staff and management of Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool 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.
Deputy Chief Review Officer
Te Tai Miringa Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region
11 June 2018
Next ERO Review
The next ERO review of Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool will be in three years.
Download a copy of the full report here. (pdf)
Alterntively, you could contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.