These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Lighthouse Pre-School.

The Review Findings

The tone in the centre is calm and children are settled. They enjoy warm, respectful relationships with adults and each other. Teachers know the children and their families well. Good teacher communication with parents supports children in their learning and in their emotional, physical and social development. Children are viewed as competent and capable learners.

Children receive high quality care. Throughout the centre teachers are attentive to children and practice respectful care routines. There is a focus on supporting children to develop self-help skills. Teachers implement effective inclusive practices that enable children with special learning needs to participate in the programme.

Children have good quality opportunities to develop their language. Time is given for one-to-one communication between adults and children. Teachers respond to infants’ early attempts at verbalisation and use language to soothe and comfort. They model new words for toddlers and give them time to respond and converse. Opportunities are provided for older children to have sustained conversations, to ask questions, and to take the initiative in conversations. Children’s first language is valued and often used to support learning.

High quality provision for infants and toddlers feature in the centre. Literacy and numeracy are offered through play throughout the day for all children. As children move through the centre, opportunities for them to participate in a responsive curriculum are balanced within the daily timetable. At times, children in the over 2s are grouped for mat times and activities in relation to their developmental stages and skills.

Four year olds experience a short, more formalised teaching afternoon session to support skills identified for making the transition to school. Teachers could now consider how these skills could be developed within more meaningful and responsive play contexts to more clearly align to the centre philosophy.

The centre programme includes initiatives that promote and foster success for Māori children. Te reo and tikanga Māori are integrated into the programme and environment. As a result, the cultural identity of Māori children is affirmed and contributes to their sense of belonging. All children, including Māori and Pacific, are encouraged to develop their individual identity through the acknowledgement of, and building on, their strengths.

Programme planning and assessment practices focus on a theme based approach. Children are encouraged to contribute ideas and become active participants in the planning process. However, teachers should continue to explore ways to plan according to individual children’s strengths and interests and to more prominently capture the learning focus of planned activities.

Good management systems support good communication and efficient day to day operation of the centre. The owners show a commitment to continuous improvement. They have established a good framework and process to support teachers to critically reflect on their practice to improve outcomes for children. Self review practices are becoming established.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.