Aro Valley Preschool
2017 – 2020
Ko Wai Mātou – About Us
Aro Valley Preschool is a not-for-profit early childhood education centre, governed by a parent cooperative and staffed by a team of qualified, registered teachers. We value the involvement of our parents and whānau in all aspects of the preschool.
Our preschool whānau is a diverse community made up of a mix of long and short term Aro Valley / Te Aro residents, inner city apartment dwellers, families where parents are attending or working at nearby universities, and families living in large social housing complexes. Some of our families are newly arrived refugees or migrants, some staying long term, others transitioning to other accommodation out in the suburbs.
We are located on the edge of the central city in the midst of our local Aro Valley community facilities. Our preschool is often seen as being at the heart of our community and a place where lasting connections are made and people feel a real sense of belonging. We value our relationship with our local community.
Ngā Uara – Our Values
Manaakitanga – a place of welcome and belonging for all
Whakawhānaungatanga – building positive, respectful relationships
Ako – teaching and learning from each other
Kaitiakitanga – respecting and caring for our environment
Mana Tāngata - Valuing our bicultural foundation and our multicultural context
Te Kaupapa – Our Philosophy
We are a welcoming and inclusive early childhood education service, where each child is valued and supported to explore and discover in a respectful and fun, play-based environment and children, parents, whānau and teachers collaborate to build a caring learning community.
How are we going?
In early 2015 we had our ERO review and in April 2015 we received our final confirmed report, which identified that the preschool required development to further promote positive outcomes for learners.
As a result we produced a Development Plan, which set the course of our planning for the next period. The content of the Development Plan was a mixture of strategic planning and specific task oriented planning. It explicitly covered the period from June 2015 to February 2016, but also included longer-term strategic issues of an ongoing nature.
Throughout the second half of 2015 we reviewed our Preschool Philosophy, recognising the importance of this as a foundation for future planning. In October 2015 the preschool parent cooperative approved a revised preschool philosophy and statement of values (Te Kaupapa – Our Philosophy, Ngā Uara – Our Values).
In January 2016 we produced an Annual Plan for the preschool, which has been our guide for key dates, deadlines and commitments for 2016. We reviewed our progress against the annual plan at management committee meetings during the year.
In February 2016 we reported to ERO on our progress against our Development Plan. We identified a range of next steps, including an intention to review our Strategic Plan.
Given competing priorities we effectively rolled over our 2014-2015 Strategic Plan for the 2016 year, recognising that some of the issues overlapped with our development plan and that the issues in the Strategic Plan were still a priority for the preschool.
In February 2017 we were reviewed by ERO again, and were identified as “well placed”. We are now ready to establish a longer term vision, develop steps toward achieving this and a process for monitoring progress.
The Bigger Picture
§ Minimal competition in our local community – we remain as the only ECE service in our immediate community.
§ Located in the hub of the community and have well established links with our local community
§ Well established culture of parents/whanau “ownership” of the service, where parents and children make long term connections.
§ Strong links / relationship with local primary school.
§ Have maintained 100% ratio of qualified and certificated teaching staff to children.
§ Roll numbers have been consistently higher over the last year.
§ Transient community – high proportion of new migrants who may move on to other parts of Wellington after short periods of time. This means that a portion of our roll has a high turnover, which brings with it challenges for the teaching team and in regard to consistency within governance.
§ Reduced government funding – in real terms. There has been no increase to government funding rates since 2014, and in real terms (CPI) funding rates have been decreasing since 2010 when we lost the100% funding band was dropped.
§ Current government policy and direction short sighted – “social investment” approach has very short term goals. Focus is on immediate fiscal outcomes rather than longer term social good.
§ Ever tightening legislative and accountability requirements are being placed on the sector with no additional resources to support compliance.
§ Growth of “commercial” national and multi-national EC provision. This is a potential challenge for the preschool, i.e. competing with services driven by different goals.
§ Whānau/ families under increasing financial pressure – longer working hours, less time and resources to devote to the preschool.
1. We want to provide high quality early childhood education
The best outcomes for children are supported when children experience quality education from 100% qualified teachers. We are committed to maintaining a 100% qualified permanent teaching team. We are committed to Te Whāriki early childhood curriculum as being the foundation for all learning and the guide for our teaching practice. We value and support the provision of ongoing professional development for our teachers so that they are equipped with up-to-date knowledge of current teaching practice and learning theories and are able to implement these in the preschool. We will reflect on and review how we are doing so that we can improve and grow.
2. We want to be a welcoming and inclusive of children and whānau from diverse cultures
We are a diverse community we serve and we are committed to ensuring children’s cultures are celebrated and respected in our preschool environment. We want to make an effort to make all families feel welcome and involved.
3. We want to be flexible and responsive to the diverse needs of our preschool children and whānau
We are aware of the range of needs of our preschool children and whānau and seek to be responsive to these needs. We are particularly mindful of the additional support required for children with high needs and the additional challenges for their families. We will work to ensure appropriate support is accessed and we seek to ensure that the preschool environment, equipment and resources are safe and appropriate for diverse needs.
4. We want parents and whānau to be are included in all aspects of the preschool as part of our caring learning community
As a parent cooperative we value and are committed to the inclusion of parents and whānau in all aspects of our operations. This is one of our defining features. We recognise that this strengthens and supports the children’s learning and development, and strengthens the preschool as a caring learning community. We will seek to have clear policies and guidelines in place to provide a framework for parent and whānau inclusion, participation and consultation.
5. We want to have a strong and effective teaching team
Our teaching team will work effectively together in their planning, teaching practice and self review, under the guidance and direction of our Senior Teacher. Teachers will be committed to ongoing professional development and reflective practice, will be able to engage in healthy debate on professional issues and will work collaboratively with each other and the community to make the most of individual strengths and provide a high quality learning environment for children at the preschool.
6. We want to have positive relationships with our key communities of interest
We will have positive relationships with our surrounding community. We will work to ensure effective communication and take opportunities to collaborate for the benefit of our preschool children and community. We will be viewed as a key part of the community we serve.
7. Want the importance of Tiriti o Waitangi to be acknowledged and Māori children’s cultural identity, language, and culture are promoted, celebrated and valued
Te Whāriki will be embraced as an expression of biculturalism and we recognise the strong basis it provides for us to promote te reo Māori (Māori language) and tikanga Māori (Māori cultural practices) in the preschool. Māori children and their whānau will be given opportunities to identify particular learning needs and goals as Māori and we will work to implement these in all aspects of our preschool operations.
8. We want to achieve and maintain a financially sustainable position
We work within our budget. We are proactive in applying for grants and taking opportunities to fundraise for specific projects. We have sustainable financial model which balances our desire to be affordable and accessible, with realistic fees and the use of donations.
9. We want a well-run preschool
The preschool will operate under effective governance and management, will meet its legal obligations, and be financially viable, in order to support the continued provision of high quality care and education that meets the need of the children and families. Everyone will be aware of their roles and responsibilities so that we make effective use of our resources.
Parents and whānau will be encouraged to participate in a variety of aspects of the operations of the preschool and to be active members in the preschool as a parent cooperative, including contributing to decision making within the preschool, and in the overall direction of preschool. We will carry out an annual planning process to identify specific actions, people responsible, and timelines for assessing progress.
10. We want to have a safe, challenging and well maintained physical environment
We will have an environment and facilities that support and encourage children’s learning and assists in making the preschool an attractive choice for parents and whānau. Our preschool environment will reflect the value of the natural environment and our role as kaitiaki, as well as celebrating our identity as a learning community.
Our Strategic priorities/Qualitative statements
Taking into account where we are at, our changing external environment, and the goals set out above, we intend to focus on the following strategic priorities for 2017-2020.
Children’s Learning (Relates to Goal #1 and #10 above):
To ensure that the curriculum and teaching practices are supporting improved learning outcomes for children.
1. The teaching team is engaged in ongoing observation and reflection of children’s learning.
2. Teachers plan for and document children’s learning:
Group and individual planning is based on children’s interests. Planning is visible within the environment and learning is recorded monthly through learning stories that follow a notice-recognise-respond-revisit pattern.
3. The preschool is a ‘child centred’ environment:
The teaching team continually adapts the physical environment, daily routines/rhythms and teaching interactions to respect and improve learning outcomes for all ākonga. The preschool is working towards a more natural, beautiful and “home like” environment.
4. We will over time create a robust “living” preschool curriculum that links to Te Whāriki and integrates teaching practices, policies, relevant learning and development theories, Te Tiriti, and our preschool philosophy and values.
Our “living the values” curriculum will reflect the preschools visible learning/teaching and aspirations of importance to children, parents, whānau and teachers; we will create a rich and responsive curriculum within our unique preschool context that will emphasise the priorities for our children’s learning and development. It will also engage whānau for an improved understanding of curriculum through their child’s learning.
Indicators/measures of success:
1. Teachers meet regularly to discuss their observations of children’s learning and how they can improve learning outcomes for all children.
2. There is evidence in the physical environment of programme planning based on children’s interests and links to home. Children’s individual learning is documented in learning folders and on Storypark.
3. The physical environment is a welcoming and inviting space that provides children with opportunities and resources for creative thinking, exploration, sense making and problem solving as well as for cooperation and communication. Children engage in a focussed and unhurried manner. Their independence and their development of social skills are encouraged. Daily rhythms and teaching interactions enhance children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging, and provide further opportunities for learning.
4. Our “living” preschool curriculum links to Te Whāriki and integrates teaching practices, policies, relevant learning and development theories, Te Tiriti, and our preschool philosophy and values. Links to “te Whāriki” are referred to and the connection between curriculum and learning is evident in documentation and children’s learning outcomes. Parents have a greater sense of knowledge and empowerment around curriculum with feedback and engagement through documentation and the parent survey.
Internal Evaluation (Relates to Goal # 1, #5 and #9 above):
Continue to strengthen our Internal Evaluation process and documentation.
The teaching team will increase their knowledge of Internal Evaluation through reading and discussion (Education Review Office: “Effective Internal Evaluation for Improvement”; E.J.Davidson: “Actionable Evaluation Basics”, resources found online). The senior teacher and/or teaching team will attend suitable professional development if the opportunity arises. Other ECE services with a strong Internal Evaluation process will be consulted.
Indicators/measures of success:
There is evidence of regular Internal Evaluation processes taking place. They are conducted and documented in a professional manner. Outcomes have a positive influence on children’s learning and development.
Inclusive culture (Relates to Goals #2 and #4 above):
Continue to encourage our culture of inclusion, participation and consultation with all whānau in order to strengthen children’s learning and development.
1. Parent/whānau Workshops:
§ At least one workshop will be held each year.
2. Parent/Teacher Meetings:
§ All families will be offered the opportunity to meet with teachers one month after enrolment.
§ A Parent/Teacher interview evening will be scheduled once every year.
§ Regular reminders will be given in newsletters that parents can make a time to meet with a teacher to discuss their child’s learning and development.
3. Use a variety of media to inform and engage families in their children’s learning. This is through:
§ Individual learning folders
§ Facebook (for parent communication and promoting the preschool)
§ Newsletters (including teacher contributions about children’s learning and development)
§ Displays of information within the preschool environment (notice boards, planning wall, learning folders)
§ Conversations at pick up and drop off time.
4. Encourage parent/whānau contribution to all aspects of the preschool’s day to day operation and governance:
§ Management committee
§ AGM, Parent co-op meetings
§ Working bees
§ Field trips
§ Support with daily housekeeping
5. We are an open centre, where parents can attend with their child throughout the day.
§ Parents, teachers and the committee will work together to encourage and manage parent attendance, solve challenges as they arise, with the goal to maintain a respectful ‘child-centred’ environment.
6. We will facilitate a biennual Parent Survey (2018/2020) in order to provide an important opportunity for parents to provide feedback on the overall running and education provided by the preschool.
Indicators/measures of success:
1. Parents/whānau are better informed about current theory and practice in children’s learning and development.
2. Parents/whānau engage in discussions with teachers about their child’s learning and development and provide feedback on learning stories etc. Teachers are informed of and understand each child’s family circumstance, and respond appropriately.
3. Parents are well informed about preschool events and feel a sense of belonging to the learning community. They are informed about their child’s learning.
4. Families participate and contribute to the governance of the preschool, special events and daily housekeeping.
5. Some parents are attending preschool with their children whilst being respectful of the ‘child-centred’ environment.
6. The information collated is reflected on by the committee and staff and can influence; developments in
practice, environment, policy/procedure and short and long term strategic planning.
Relationships with our community (relates to goal #6 above):
Continue to establish and maintain strong, positive relationships with our surrounding community; to take initiatives and seek opportunities to collaborate and improve outcomes for our preschool children.
1. Liaise/meet with Te Aro School teachers regularly to monitor process of transition.
2. Liaise with Aro Valley Community Site Development Project and ensure preschool interests are incorporated.
3. Continue to support and initiate collaborative fundraising, cultural and social events as a learning community.
4. Teachers will plan for regular excursions out within our local community.
Indicators/measures of success:
1. Children are supported in their transition to Aro school by means of school visits and cooperation between school and preschool.
2. The Aro Valley Community Site Development Project will impact positively on the preschool.
3. & 4. Children and their whānau have a sense of belonging within their community and develop an understanding of mutual contribution. The preschool is seen as a vital part of our community and is respected as such.
Responding to diverse needs (Relates to Goals #3 and #10 above):
Ensure children with high needs and their families are well supported.
1. Teachers review individual children’s needs at staff meetings and develop individual plans to support their learning.
2. Teachers and parents may agree to seek the support of Learning Support and specialists.
3. The committee will consider the funding for equipment and resources to meet the needs of children with high needs throughout the year.
Indicators/measures of success:
1. Teachers meet regularly to discuss children’s individual needs and agree on Individual Plans to support children with high needs.
2. Cooperation with Learning Support and specialists.
3. Environment, equipment and resources are safe and appropriate for the diverse needs of all our children.
Staffing (Relates to Goals #1 and #5 above):
Maintain a 100% qualified and certificated teaching team, where teachers are supported to maintain a high functioning and professional work place environment.
1. Support teachers to meet the requirements for renewal of their practising certificates.
2. Maintain a robust appraisal process that supports our teachers to grow professionally.
3. Ensure implementation of “ECNZ - Our Code, Our Standards” into our appraisal process by January 2018.
4. Sufficient Non-Contact time is allocated to teachers for documentation of learning, planning, internal evaluation, professional reflection and debate, and for ongoing development of the learning programme and environment.
5. Teacher only time is allocated for teachers to engage with professional issues and for the development of shared vision and goals.
6. Teachers will participate in professional development in areas identified through the appraisal process, from teaching team discussions on priorities, and from the preschool priorities as determined by the committee.
Indicators/measures of success:
1. Teachers practising certificates are renewed as required.
2. Ongoing robust appraisal processes for teaching staff.
3. “ECNZ - Our Code, Our Standards” is incorporated into our appraisal process.
4. Teachers professionally undertake documentation of learning, planning and internal evaluation. They engage in professional reflection and debate, and continuously develop the learning programme and environment to improve learning outcomes.
5. The teaching team shares a vision and goals and is able to engage in healthy debate on professional and ethical issues.
6. There is evidence of each teacher participating in professional development on a regular basis.
Response to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (relates to Goal # 7 above)
Māori children and their whānau will be given opportunities to identify particular learning and development needs and goals. We will work to implement these in all aspects of our preschool operations.
1. Teachers will offer formal parent-teacher interviews, where whānau will be encouraged to make aspirations for their children as Māori learners.
2. Teachers respond to ākonga and their whānau in partnership through meetings (formal/informal), professional development and implementation of Te Tiriti in their teaching practice.
Indicators/measures of success
1. Participation of whānau at parent/teacher interviews.
2. Evidence of increasing use and knowledge of Te reo, Tikanga and other implications of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the learning environment, teaching practice, policy and documentation.
Governance (relates to Goal #4 and #9 above)
Establish and maintain long term consistency and knowledge within the committee to effectively run the preschool throughout any changes in governance.
1. Maintain transference and transparency of knowledge between committee members:
Provide all relevant documents about prior and ongoing decisions to new members of the committee so they understand and meet the roles and responsibilities.
2. Encourage and support parents to be involved in the committee.
Indicators/measures of success
1. Robust ongoing governance.
2. Governance reflects the diversity within the preschool roll.
Financial sustainability (relates to Goal # 8 above)
Improve our ability to be prepared for crises situations and for long term financial sustainability.
1. Explore options and costs for extending our insurance policy to cover business interruption and employment disputes.
2. Include funds in budget each year to rebuild our reserves by at least $5,000 per year.
3. Support and participate in campaigns to improve government funding to the early childhood sector.
4. Develop an annual fundraising plan and allocate responsibilities for implementing it amongst the committee and staff.
5. Report on and acknowledge the contributors in our learning community and celebrate completed projects from fundraising in order to maintain ongoing support.
Indicators/measures of success
1. A decision is made on insurance and followed through.
2. The plan for building reserves is reflected in the annual budget each year, and progress on building reserves is evident in annual accounts each year.
3. The Preschool is open to host events. Teachers and committee members are supported and encouraged to engage and participate in campaigns.
4. Fundraising target is reflected in the annual budget each year.
5. Contributors to ongoing developments for our preschool continue to be acknowledged.
Physical Environment (relates to Goal # 10 above)
1. Create an exterior environment that is safe, challenging, durable and attractive; which supports children’s learning and development, and reflects our curriculum and values.
3. Continue refurbishments of the interior.
1. Develop a staged plan for the exterior upgrade and development:
§ Develop design plan
§ Invite ideas and discussion of plan from all members of the learning community
§ Negotiate agreements with WCC
§ Finalise design plan
§ Plan/list for what can be done by community members/working bees – what needs to be done professionally
§ Contract out main build of sandpit, source materials
§ Prioritise the remainder of the project and implement in stages as agreed as funds become available
§ Hold working bees to progress the plan
§ Celebrate the completion, engage the community.
§ Continue maintenance/manage any issues that arise/additional resources acquired.
2. Contract a builder to carry out the kitchen upgrade work before April 2018.
3. Investigate options for creating a parent social space outside the learning environment.
Indicators/measures of success
1. Meeting each development stage for the exterior upgrade and development.
2. Kitchen is upgraded by April 2018.
3. Ideally, a plan for a parent social space will be in place.