Montessori Educare Limited - 03/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Montessori Educare Limited

How well placed is Montessori Educare Limited 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.

Background

Montessori Educare, located in Awapuni Palmerston North, is a privately owned service that provides full-day sessions for up to 50 children aged approximately two to six years, five days a week. A team leader provides professional support and guidance to teaching staff and oversees curriculum implementation and the day-to-day operation of the service.

The physical learning spaces comprise of two purpose-designed classrooms and a spacious outdoor environment. The service employs five teachers and all hold full practising certificates with the Education Council of Aotearoa and specialist Montessori teaching qualifications.

The service curriculum is inspired by and follows the Montessori philosophy, a weaving of this with the principles, strands and aspirations of Te Whāriki, guide teaching and learning. The service has a strong focus on working closely with families.

The February 2014 ERO report indicated that leaders had identified next steps in the areas of strategic and annual planning, and appraising and providing appropriate professional learning opportunities for teaching staff. ERO's external evaluation affirmed these next steps and also identified leaders should further develop evaluation of learning programmes.

The Review Findings

Children learn and play amicably alongside their peers. They actively explore and engage with a range of appropriate learning resources, including specialist Montessori learning materials. Teaching staff know the children well. Ongoing observation of children's developing skills and interests assists teachers to provide timely support, challenge and extension.

Inclusive practices are evident. Interactions between children and with staff are warm and respectful. These factors contribute positively to a calm, unhurried atmosphere and children's sense of wellbeing and belonging. 

Teachers work collaboratively to plan and implement the daily curriculum. Literacy, mathematics and science concepts are part of children's daily learning. Teachers create a culture that is responsive and nurturing. A collective responsibility for supporting children's holistic development is evident.

Whanaungatanga and Manaakitanga are held in high regard. The service philosophy is viewed as an integral part of the curriculum. It is timely to review the philosophy to ensure it captures curriculum developments, parents' aspirations and is enacted in practice.

The February 2014 ERO report noted the inclusion of te ao Māori as requiring further development. The service responded positively and undertook a comprehensive review. This resulted in the development of, He Whare Taonga, the service's bicultural curriculum. It provides guidance for the incorporation of te ao Māori well. This initiative remains in the early stages of implementation. Assessment practices and curriculum planning is responsive to children's interests. Teachers create portfolios for individuals. Learning stories demonstrate an understanding of the learning progress of individual and groups of children. These capture skill development, engagement and interest in particular aspects of the curriculum and physical environment. The teaching team plan to carry out a review of assessment practice. ERO's external evaluation affirms the need for this planned review and suggest teachers give consideration to assessing children's progress across the breath of the curriculum. These actions, and using the rich information already available, should assist teachers to evaluate the impact of any planned changes to the curriculum.

The previous ERO review identified strategic planning as necessitating improvement. Leaders require support to generate operational strategic and annual plans. The plans should give priority to long and short term development needs. These plans should provide a useful framework for evaluating performance, including how effectively the curriculum and philosophy improve learning outcomes for children.

Self review for accountability and improvement are understood by leaders. In the past, a useful process was in place to guide review practice. This has not been sustained and limited internal evaluation has taken place in the past few years. Centre managers need to establish an organisational culture to lead ongoing improvement.

The process for appraising teachers has potential to support ongoing professional growth. Managers need to apply the process more rigorously to ensure it is fully implemented and goal setting and learning opportunities support leaders' and teachers' particular development needs.

Key Next Steps

Management and ERO agree that the next steps to improve the quality of teaching and learning are:

  • building leadership capability to lead internal evaluation, curriculum development and support the ongoing professional growth of teaching staff

  • to review appraisal policies, procedures and practice to ensure the process results in improved leadership and teaching and make sure it meets the requirements of the Education Council of Aotearoa for renewal of teachers' practising certificates. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Montessori Educare Limited 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 Montessori Educare Limited will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

3 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

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

52518

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, aged over 2

Service roll

45

Gender composition

Boys 23, Girls 22

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

1

35

9

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

3 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

February 2014

Education Review

December 2007

Education Review

February 2005

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.