Nelson Montessori - 19/07/2018

1 Evaluation of Nelson Montessori

How well placed is Nelson 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.

Background

Nelson Montessori provides full-day education and care for children from two and a half to six years old. It is located in a local heritage park complex. It is one of three privately-owned centres, collectively known as The Bays Montessoris. The owner provides leadership across the three Bays Montessoris centres.

This service is licensed for up to 50 children with diverse cultures. Children learn in two mixed-age classrooms, sharing a spacious and well-resourced outdoor area. Leaders take responsibility for each classroom and the attached outdoor areas.

The owner and leaders are trained Montessori educators. The teachers are qualified early childhood or primary teachers. Most teachers are trained in the Montessori approach or are in training.

Since the last 2015 ERO review, there have been changes in leadership and teaching teams. The centre has improved the ways children are known as learners, their access to the outdoor environment and transition to school.

This review was part of a cluster of three Montessori centre reviews of The Bays Montessoris group.

The Review Findings

The Montessori philosophy is strongly evident in all aspects of the curriculum. Children experience a rich and broad curriculum aligned to Te Whāriki. The value for biculturalism is evident in the way te ao Māori concepts are integrated in centre practices.

Children are effectively supported to achieve the key priorities for learning described by the centre. They are provided with real world contexts, resources and activities to help them make sense of the world that surrounds them. With well-timed support from teachers, they develop independence and confidence in themselves (whakamana), in each other (whanaungatanga), and skills for engaging in the world around them. This includes, helping to prepare food and serve daily (e.g. kai time), when children were observed contentedly sitting and talking together for sustained periods of time.

Children learn in a calm, respectful, supportive environment. They have settled time for focused, productive learning. Teacher interactions are respectful, responsive and empowering. They effectively engage in children's activity of interest. They know when to intervene or remain as observers. They support children's inquiry in learning and problem solving.

Children exhibit a strong sense of belonging, security and care. The mixed-age classrooms provide multiple opportunities for reciprocal learning (ako), leadership for older children (tuakana-teina) and social skills for younger children.

A feature of the programme is the rich experiences provided in and outside the centre. The indoor and outdoor areas are spacious and well resourced and intentionally designed to promote specific skills and learning. A respect for nature, the natural world and sustainable practice is a key platform for learning. Children's skills, understanding and ability to interact effectively in the world that surrounds them (kōtahitanga) is effectively supported. They learn in a holisitic way, about themselves and their wellbeing, and how to respect, care and help sustain the world around them.

Children benefit from parent support and expertise. Teachers and leaders actively encourage parents to be involved in and contribute to their child's learning. Parents' opinions are regularly sought to inform programme improvement.

Teachers know the children in their classroom well. They work collaboratively, ensuring each child's holistic development. They regularly share information about the children. This helps ensure continuity in learning for each child and a consistent focus for supporting learning. Teachers interact positively and respectfully with the children and their parents. Children with additional learning needs are identified and well supported.

The centre owner ensures that teachers receive relevant professional learning, including deepening their understanding of the Montessori approach. She works collaboratively with the centre leaders, building leadership capability and sustainable practice. There is increasing collaboration across centres.

The leaders meet regularly to discuss and share best practice. Long-term planning usefully guides development within and across centres. Internal evaluation is being increasingly well implemented to inform improvement, within and across centres. A recent review of the key priorities for learning in each of The Bays Montessoris centres is now being used to guide teaching and learning at each centre.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that the key next steps for teachers are to continue to:

  • develop a focus on improved practice when undertaking spontaneous reviews
  • develop appraisal and teacher inquiry processes for all teachers, which includes use of formal observation of practice and formalising teacher reflections
  • more closely link the key priorities for children’s learning in planning and assessment practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 July 2018

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

Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

65409

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, aged 3 years and over

Service roll

37

Gender composition

Girls: 20

Boys: 17

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

3
27
7

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

19 July 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

December 2011

Education Review

November 2008

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.