Remuera Baptist Kindergarten 16/05/2014
Evaluation of Remuera Baptist Kindergarten
How well placed is Remuera Baptist Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?
Remuera Baptist Kindergarten is well placed to continue on the journey of promoting positive learning outcomes for children.
ERO’s findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.
Remuera Baptist Kindergarten is a well established Christian-based education and care service for children in Remuera. It provides sessional and full-day education and care for 55 children between two and five years of age. Most children attend selected sessions, with few attending more than three days a week. The centre is governed by the Remuera Baptist Trust, which comprises members of the church and the Remuera Baptist Management Committee. The management committee includes the manager, teachers and parent representatives.
The philosophy for the centre has been redeveloped recently by teachers and the management committee. It has been inspired by Reggio Emilia approaches and the centre’s aspirations for teaching and learning, which are clearly outlined in information provided for parents.
The centre operates in two separate buildings on the same property, each with its own playground. The area for the younger children has been developed as part of the church complex. A fence between the two parts of the centre enables children to see each other and to share some activities.
A change to the management structure of the centre has increased the number of adults in roles of responsibility. The manager and head teacher have responsibility for centre operations and curriculum leadership. Teachers are fully qualified and staffing arrangements are flexible in response to the number of children attending different sessions.
The 2011 ERO report identified good practices and recommended strengthening programme planning and using self review to improve practices for supporting Māori learners. The centre has had a focus on these areas for the past three years.
The Review Findings
Remuera Baptist Kindergarten provides a warm, caring environment for children within a Christian framework. Teachers work closely with children, supporting their interests and noticing their learning. Children are able to make decisions about what they want to do. They enjoy uninterrupted play for sustained periods. As a way of improving teaching practices across the centre, a year-long review has started looking into good practice outlined in Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. This positive review process should help teachers to continue to develop their teaching practices.
Children are relaxed and busy in the centre. They are confident to talk to adults and are able to explain their ideas. Teachers support children’s conversations about what they are doing. Children cooperate and negotiate to share their play, using respectful interactions and friendly overtures to invite others into their games. The tone of the centre is settled and happy.
Teachers model positive relationships as a way of supporting children’s social learning. They work well as a team and provide collegial support for each other. Teachers share programme planning based on their observations and knowledge about children. They provide a range of activities and experiences to engage children’s interest. They are beginning to provide opportunities for children to contribute to decision making about the content of the programme and help plan their own activities. This is a very positive move that teachers should continue to strengthen.
The recent focus on aspects of the Reggio Emilia philosophy has encouraged teachers to decorate the environment with beautiful items and resources that encourage children’s investigation. Many of the teachers have been in the centre for a long time and provide continuity for children whose older siblings attended previously. This sense of belonging enables many children to settle easily into play and to explore the environment confidently. Literacy and numeracy concepts are well integrated into play by some teachers.
Self-review processes have been developed. As part of their deeper review of Te Whāriki, teachers could consider ways of making their assessment processes more individually focused. This would allow children’s development as learners over time to be made more apparent. Children’s dispositions, personalities and interests all shape their learning. Strengthening these features of assessment records would be beneficial.
A small number of Māori children attend the centre. Teachers have undertaken some professional development to strengthen their use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in programmes. They are also seeking to increase their links with the Māori community in their area. Managers recognise the need to explore ways to involve Māori whānau in programme planning. Greater involvement of whānau would be useful at this point in the centre’s bicultural development.
Management of the centre is well organised and effective. Systems and processes have been reviewed and updated and the operation of the centre is smooth and efficient. Strategic and annual planning is linked and provides guidance for the future.
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