The centre’s statement of philosophy has recently been reviewed and reflects the principles of Te Whāriki (the early childhood curriculum).
It makes clear references to relationships forming the foundation of the kindergarten and a strong bridge between home and centre.
Teachers are committed to developing children as initiators of their own learning through the use of a range of resources.
Since the previous ERO (Education Review Office) review, significant staff changes have resulted in a focus on team building and shared leadership.
Teachers have addressed key next steps from the 2013 ERO report that relate to assessment, planning, evaluation, Treaty of Waitangi based practices and the appraisal process.
Policies and procedures are in place to assist with the provision for a safe, physical and emotional learning environment for children and staff.
The Review Findings
- Warm and nurturing relationships between teachers, children and parents are a feature of this centre.
- The Matua Plunket Kindergarten philosophy is well integrated throughout centre programmes.
- It encourages children to work independently and follow their strengths and interests.
- The centre’s vision and goals are firmly focused on providing learning and teaching programmes that are research based and promoting equitable outcomes for all children. There is a culture of trust and respect amongst teachers, children and parents.
- Teachers know children and their families well.
- They use positive strategies to support social competencies and encourage self-directed learning and are skilled observers.
- These observations are used to extend children’s thinking and creativity.
- The unobtrusive, responsive and caring interactions with children contribute to a calm, settled and focused learning culture.
- Children are becoming more socially competent by learning through play in spacious environments.
- These areas are designed to enable children to have active and quiet spaces to play.
- Programmes include the integration of literacy and mathematics learning in the context of play and the development of group skills such as taking turns, listening and sharing.
- Mixed-age groups support older children to lead learning with younger children, and they are provided with a variety of opportunities to make sense of the natural, social, physical and material worlds.
- Te reo and tikanga Māori is naturally integrated into the daily programme.
- Flexible and natural routines promote children’s independence and responsibility.
- Children’s sense of belonging is nurtured during and after transitions into and within the service, and when moving to school.
- The centre manager operates a shared leadership model including collaborative decision making.
- She ensures that teachers have time to critically reflect on their practices and have opportunities to contribute to self review.
- A shared understanding among teachers of the service’s philosophy, vision and goals have been successfully promoted.
- An effective staff appraisal process is linked to relevant professional development.
- The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society provides administration support and opportunities for professional learning and development.
- A Community Services leader is available for advice and guidance.
- The umbrella organisation provides a framework for centre governance and direction.
- Staff actively encourage a strong partnership with parents and families, and a parent committee supports the centre with resourcing for centre activities.
- Parents spoken to expressed confidence that their children’s diverse needs were being catered for. They are well informed through regular e-portfolios, newsletters and informal conversations with staff.
Key Next Steps
While there are some effective self-review practices, other reviews could be further improved by clearly developing documented procedures and practices for strategic self review.
Management Assurance on Legal Requirements
Before the review, the staff and management of Matua Plunket Kindergarten 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 Matua Plunket Kindergarten will be in three years.