Daisy Cottage Montessori - 06/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Daisy Cottage Montessori

How well placed is Daisy Cottage Montessori to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Daisy Cottage Montessori is a privately owned early education service licenced to cater for up to 30 children from two years to school age. The service is operates from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Previously known as Little Sweethearts Montessori, the service is located in the suburb of Arataki.

Since the change in ownership the roll has grown to 44, which includes 14 children of Māori descent and a small number from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The programme is reflective of the teachings of Maria Montessori. The recent establishment of a Montessori programme at nearby Arataki School is providing continuity for children who wish to continue with Montessori education.

Three teachers hold a formal Montessori qualification and all staff attend workshops through the Montessori Centre Aotearoa, based in Tauranga. The preschool philosophy is focused on cherishing each child as a unique treasure and supporting their character spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually. The philosophy documents the intent to 'provide a calm, secure environment where each child's sense of order, desire to be independent and to help out' is acknowledged.

This is the first ERO report of Daisy Cottage Montessori.

The Review Findings

Daisy Cottage Montessori is welcoming to all children, parents and whānau. Children are warmly greeted each day, and settle quickly into an activity planned to prepare them for a busy day of play and learning.

The programme of learning is planned in response to children's preferences and interests. It is strongly reflective of the special Montessori character and of the preschool's documented philosophy. Children work in ordered, attractive and well-prepared spaces that are carefully set up by teachers to invite their curiosity and stimulate their thinking. Children's work and play is recognised by teachers as valuable learning, and this contributes to very high levels of child enthusiasm and involvement. ERO observed children engaged in activities where they persisted with difficulty for extended periods as they worked as individuals or in small groups.

The programme includes many aspects that are consistent with culturally competent practice. Leaders and teachers have worked hard to integrate bicultural concepts, knowledge and language throughout the day. Teachers ensure these bicultural concepts are an important part of the preschool and go beyond displays in the environment. Many teachers have undertaken formal tertiary courses to strengthen their competence in te reo and tikanga Māori. The programme also includes many opportunities for children to take part in active play, test their physical competence and practice developing their motor skills. Children benefit from learning experiences that are inclusive, inviting and challenging.

Interactions between teachers and children are sensitive, respectful and focused on encouraging each child's holistic development. Teachers listen carefully and notice opportunities to intervene to support and extend children's ideas, and build oral language skills. Teachers' ongoing use of open-ended questions and respect for children's ideas is providing a sound foundation for children's recognition of themselves as competent learners. Transitions into the centre and on to school are sensitively and effectively managed through open communication with parents, and maintaining a focus on what is best for each child. The way teachers work with children nurtures their sense of belonging within the preschool.

The centre is dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for all children. Leaders and teachers take time to ensure that children's developmental and learning needs are supported in partnership with parents and families. Children's behaviour is managed through subtle, sensitive and positive strategies. As a result children trust teachers to support them in learning as they develop their personal, social and cooperative skills.

Teachers provide a wide range of opportunities that enable children to develop early literacy and mathematical skills. These opportunities are integrated throughout the programme and include many activities that involve early reading, writing, counting, comparing and measuring. The programme also features high quality provision of science learning about the natural and wider world as children explore ideas and working theories. The preschool is generously resourced with equipment to support children's work and play, much of which is reflective of the special Montessori character.

Teachers record significant learning in attractive children's individual portfolios. These useful documents are regularly shared with parents at home and at the centre. Children also frequently use portfolios to revisit and reinforce prior learning, recognising familiar words and sharing them with their peers.

Teachers share a strong commitment to the service, to the programme and to each other. They work very well as team and these high levels of collaboration are contributing to both consistency of learning for children and the ongoing sharing of ideas among teachers.

Teachers' maintain detailed records of their professional learning journey. These records, and associated professional reflections, are providing good evidence about how they are meeting the requirements of the Education Council New Zealand.

Strong and effective leadership and direction by centre leaders is contributing to a culture of professional respect, collaboration and the high levels of support for leadership that are evident among teachers. This culture is also contributing to the high levels of commitment to positive outcomes for children among leaders and teachers.

Leaders have a good understanding of the purpose and place of self review for ongoing improvement. Processes for spontaneous and regular self review are well established, and focused on continual improvement for children and families. A more detailed approach to long-term planning is now needed to provide a sound foundation for strategic review and development.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers work together to:

  • develop a more comprehensive approach to strategic planning that provides a sound foundation for longer term strategic review

  • continue to explore ways to build partnerships with parents and whānau about Montessori teaching and learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Daisy Cottage Montessori completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum

  • premises and facilities

  • health and safety practices

  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Daisy Cottage Montessori will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

6 March 2017

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning. 

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service 


Mount Maunganui

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children aged under 2 and over

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 25

Boys 19

Ethnic composition









Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

6 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


No previous ERO reports


3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.