Invest in Quality
Our goal is to provide ECE services with training, information and resources to improve and maintain high quality. This is also one of the goals of the Ministry of Education’s Strategic plan for the Early Childhood Education sector.
The obvious evidence of quality is seen where ECE services are producing positive outcomes for children. The ERO’s “Chain of Quality”1 shows that positive outcomes for children are directly linked to having effective governance and management.
Gain Positive ERO Reviews
The eceBoardCare workshops enable boards and management of ECE services to ensure a high level of quality education and care is maintained. This will increase the chances of achieving positive ERO reviews. High quality ECE services are visited every 3 years and are low risk. Low quality services are visited every 6 months to 1 year and are categorized by the ERO as high risk. Many ECE services that are visited by the ERO less than every 2 years or less are recommended to undertake professional development for their boards and management.
Effective Leadership Leads to Positive
Positive learning outcomes for children in early childhood education may include children’s:
Knowledge (eg facts, concepts, ideas, vocabulary)
Skills (physical, intellectual, language, emotional, social)
Dispositions (eg curiosity, persistence, playfulness, resilience)
Attitudes (eg confidence, belonging, participation, enjoyment)
Cultural dimensions (eg aspirations, language, practices, traditions)
However, none of these outcomes will be gained without the positive and effective presence of sound governance and management leadership.
It is our vision that, through our eceBoardCare workshops, ECE services will achieve enhanced governance, management and administrative capabilities to assure a high level of quality on a consistent basis.
Centres must meet licensing criteria as well as other regulatory requirements contained in the regulations in order to gain and maintain a licence and receive government funding. The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, should therefore be read in conjunction with the Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008 and the Early Childhood Education Curriculum Framework.
Compliance with regulatory requirements is clearly an integral part of the provision of high quality care and education. Early childhood education is an holistic process, reflected in the whäriki concept:
“the sum total of the experiences, activities and events, whether direct or indirect that occur within an environment are designed to foster children’s learning and development”.
What Causes ‘High Quality’?
In 2010 the Education Review Office identified some key factors contributing to high quality and poor quality education and care. The following is an excerpt from this report2:
ERO has found that in good quality early childhood services, managers and educators hold high expectations for all children and keep their focus on what really matters. In these services, educators are interested in children - who they are and what they bring to their learning. Educators’ interactions with children create opportunities for meaningful conversations that provoke and extend children’s thinking. Assessment practice enables educators to notice, recognise and respond to children’s emerging interests and strengths.
Children who participate in high quality services learn in a safe and inclusive environment where they are respected, supported and challenged in their learning. They are happy, confident learners who are included and listened to. Their progress, achievements and successes are acknowledged and celebrated. Relationships between educators, parents and whānau, based on mutual trust and respect, strengthen partnerships for learning.
ERO has found that it is the interweaving of many aspects of practice that contribute to good learning opportunities for infants, toddlers and young children. In high quality services it is the interrelationship between the following features, rather than any one on its own, that underpins the quality of education and care provided.
relationships and interactions
teaching and learning
assessment and planning
professional learning, qualifications and support
What Causes ‘Poor Quality’?
The factors that contribute to poor quality education and care for children are many and varied. It is generally not one particular aspect of the service that results in poor quality, but a combination of factors that have a negative effect on children’s learning. Factors such as leadership, vision and professional learning and development that contribute to high quality in some services are lacking or ineffective in poor quality services. Rigidly implemented routines, poorly resourced or unsafe learning environments and inappropriate teaching practice are also factors in poor quality education and care.
In many services where quality is poor, there is little sense or understanding by managers and/or educators of what high quality looks like. Managers and educators lack the capability to change practice, often believing that their service is operating well, and are unaware of issues or risks to children. Poor quality practice is often entrenched and a lack of willingness or motivation to change prevails.
Ineffective leadership can result from lack of experience. Some leaders, although technically qualified, take on the role too early in their careers or are without the necessary support to do the job well. Some people in leadership roles are not well informed about what constitutes effective practice. Often they do not seek or have access to opportunities to engage in relevant professional learning and development.
Strong Board - Less Risks
With the new reporting requirements set out by the Charities Commission, the various legislation relating to the administration of charitable organisations (such as the Financial Reporting Act 1993, Charities Act 2005, Incorporated Societies Act 1908, Companies Act 1993, Charitable Trusts Act 1957), plus the ever increasing tightening of Government requirements relating to funding and compliance, it is important for early childhood education centres to be capable at the board level. Services that do not have a compliant governance system and capable board members may be at risk of losing their funding, legal proceedings due to breach of fiduciary duties, financial failure or IRD debt. These types of problems potentially expose board members to unnecessary risk.