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Education Review Office Report 2014

We are very proud of the review Parnell Early Childhood Centre received in our last ERO Report, conducted in December 2014 and released in January 2015. The report is available online here.

The Ministry of Education report says Parnell Early Childhood Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Background
Parnell Early Childhood Centre (PECC) is one of two centres operated and supported by the Parnell Community Trust. The Trust provides governance, management, administration and professional support services for the centre.

The centre operates in a refurbished facility with three separate rooms for each of the age groups. There are specific outdoor play areas for younger and older children. The centre is licensed for 74 children, including a maximum of 24 under the age of two years.

The centre has undergone several staff changes in the past year. The Trust has appointed a new head teacher to renew the centre's focus on providing positive outcomes for children. Other staffing changes have occurred and the centre now has 12 staff. Eight are registered teachers with the remaining four working towards gaining full registration.

ERO's 2011 report indicated the need to improve planning and self review and establish more consistent good quality teaching practices. Financial constraints, together with some poor management and teaching practices have hampered ongoing progress in these areas. The new management and teaching team are now working together to address these matters. The Trust is now in a stronger financial position to support staff in progressing these developments.

The Review Findings
Children have many opportunities to develop social skills through their play. They enjoy friendly relationships with each other. Children show trust in their teachers and respond positively to daily routines such as mat times. Teachers are mindful of the need to ensure that these routines are appropriate to the age of children.

Teachers are affectionate with children and provide nurturing care. Teachers have worked on developing the centre environment so it is more reflective of children's cultures. They are developing ways to affirm and support children's individuality.

Work to improve the centre's curriculum and to develop collaborative team practices is underway. The head teacher is focused on building shared understandings about good quality practices within the teaching team. She is encouraging staff to contribute to discussions about centre directions.

Teachers have recently begun a professional learning programme to grow their leadership capacity and to further progress programme planning and assessment practices. Children's portfolios are beginning to give a picture of children's development over time. Literacy, maths and science experiences have been included in planning for children's learning. Teachers are at the early stages of purposefully including maths and literacy learning experiences in children's play. Managers should continue to support teachers' work in all of these areas.

Teachers integrate opportunities for children to hear and learn te reo Maori through simple instructions. They are continuing to build their skills and understandings of te reo and te ao Maori.

The centre's philosophy is underpinned by Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum. It recognises the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand and highlights a commitment to enabling children to become confident and capable learners. The philosophy also acknowledges the importance of developing connections with parents and fostering an inclusive environment where all children are valued. Teachers are currently reviewing the philosophy and considering what it means for their practice. This is timely and useful.

Centre managers have developed strategic goals and annual plans to guide centre actions. They have appropriately focused self review on establishing new systems and processes for centre operations, programme planning and assessment. They have consulted staff and parents to improve communication throughout the centre. Centre managers have also reviewed and established more robust staff performance management systems. This is leading to more consistent governance and management practices across both the PECC centres. Given that the centre has a new team this year, management acknowledge that self review is not yet a collaborative process, involving all centre staff.