Haere mai! Welcome to Mairtown Kindergarten's blog.

Nau Mai Haere mai. Welcome to Mairtown Kindergarten's blog.

21 Princes Street, Kensington, Whangarei, New Zealand

Phone: 09 437 2742

Email: mairtown@nka.org.nz

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Saturday, 8 August 2015

Mairtown's visit from ERO (The Education Review Office)

This week on Wednesday Mairtown was visited by reviewers Deena and Helen from the Education Review Office (ERO). Our review was part of the planned Northland Kindergarten Association’s (NKA) ‘Cluster Review’. Deena and Helen have worked alongside NKA for the past three months; Mairtown’s review was the last of their ten visits to kindergartens in our area.

As mentioned above the team have been planning for this visit since May. Our work began with gathering and submitting documentation for a self-audit checklist and writing a ‘self-report’ which covered ERO’s questions and resulting reflection of the kindergarten’s programme, policies and procedures, leadership, visioning, engagement with community and on-going mahi (work).

The Education Review Office (ERO) independently reviews and reports on the quality of education in schools and early childhood services. The focus of ERO’s reviews in early childhood services is on the capacity of the service to promote positive learning outcomes, with the purpose of contributing to improved wellbeing and learning for all children (ERO, 2013).

Wednesday’s visit by the review officers was very much about observing our programme in action. Deena and Helen spent the morning on the floor observing children’s engagement in the programme, the team’s pedagogy styles, reading documentation and speaking with our many participants of the day including children, parents, the Mairtown team and management; as you can imagine it was a busy day full of participation and expectation!

Deena’s and Helen’s arrival at Mairtown was acknowledged with Mihi Whakatau (a speech of greetings). This traditional Māori welcome was a formal way of showing our respect for visitors by acknowledging their mana and tapu (dignity and sacredness).  It is a sign of hospitality and respect to mihi on important occasions.

Our mihi whakatau was led by Roimata (NKA’s Pou Whakahaere Tikanga Māori advisor) and supported by our management, team, tamariki and most importantly (and hugely acknowledged and appreciated) many of our parents and whānau. This heartfelt welcome cemented the beginning of what emerged to be at absolutely wonderfully affirming day.

Whilst we are now waiting to receive ERO’s confirmed report of their review of our kindergarten, our visit from Deena and Helen finished with a feedback meeting where the ERO officers reflected on their ‘initial findings’ with the team. Minutes from this meeting were noted by our Professional Practice Manager Bronwyn Coulton and with ERO’s permission we would like to share with you just some of the highlights of their feedback.

What a pleasure it has been visiting today, arriving here is like walking into a treasure box. Thank you for your manaaki (care) and making us feel so welcome.

Your programme and teaching is guided by providing positive outcomes for children. There is a strong focus on teacher presence. The teachers work is deliberate and focussed. Dialogue with children is rich in descriptive language. Children have a sense of being valued in what they are thinking. Children's working theories are affirmed. Children are engaged in complex, sustained play.

Assessment is a strong feature of teachers practice.

The curriculum provides highly effective promotion and outcomes for Māori children. This is evidenced in children’s engagement, success and partnerships with whānau.

There is a strong commitment to whanaungatanga. Relationships with parents and families are evident. Whānau are involved in children’s play and their voices are evident in assessment and planning documentation.

The team’s highly effective teaching strategies, careful consideration and knowledge of developing children’s social competence fosters children leadership skills. This is truly inclusive.

Mairtown has a highly effective model of informed leadership across the team.

The kindergarten has a clear sense of vision and direction, this is evidenced in practice and clearly identified in the positive outcomes for children.

We are absolutely delighted with the feedback and positive affirmation’s that have been observed and recorded of the mahi and energy of our kindergarten. We want to acknowledge our wonderful tamariki who welcomed our visitors into their space with such care and purposeful attention, we felt so proud of them all! And finally we want to also say a huge thank you to those parents who were able to attend the mihi whakatau, take time to speak with the ERO officers or offered written support in our initial documentation. Mairtown Kindergarten is a true reflection of community education that is successful because of the care, productive relationships, collaboration and education that we all work together to achieve.

Ehara taku toa
He toa taki tahi
He toa taki tini
My achievements are not because of me alone
but because we worked as a team

Me te mihi nui

1 comment:

Mrs Bayes said...

How lovely that you were able to welcome Helen and Deena to your lovely place. Helen comes with so much mana and it is always a priviledge to have her visit with you. I'm so pleased that you all enjoyed your day together. Warmest regards, Chris