Ōrākei Montessori Pre-School - 12/12/2017

1 Evaluation of Orakei Montessori Preschool

How well placed is Orakei Montessori Preschool 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

This is the first ERO review of Orakei Montessori Preschool under new management. The centre has operated under a different name for a considerable number of years. It was bought in 2016 by Friends United Limited. The previous head teacher is now a shareholder and owner of the centre.

Orakei Montessori Preschool is licensed to provide both sessional and full day care for 40 children, three of whom may be under two years of age. The children are grouped according to age in two classrooms linked by a roofed deck. The younger children, from 20 months to three years, have a spacious playing space (Fantail Room) and share the outdoor playground with the older children. Children over three years of age have an appropriate space (Tui Room) to work with the Montessori resources provided for them.

Children attending the centre come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Teachers have been selected, because of their Montessori training and expertise and to reflect the cultures of the children and families attending. A new teaching team is in place since the takeover of the centre. The new owner is the lead teacher for the Fantail Room, and there is a syndicate leader for the Tui Room.

The centre philosophy is based on Montessori ideals and aspirations. It includes reference to te Tiriti o Waitangi as an underpinning document.

The centre owner has undertaken a review of all aspects of centre management and operation, and continues to develop her management skills.

The Review Findings

Children have positive relationships with teachers and with their peers. Teachers talk to and welcome families, sharing information about children and hearing news from home. Children know the centre routines and expectations and settle quickly to their chosen tasks.

Teachers support children to engage with the Montessori programme. Children have ready access to Montessori resources and activities. Teachers make themselves available to coach and support this aspect of children's learning.

Younger children enjoy affectionate care from teachers. They have opportunities to engage with Montessori resources as well as other appropriate early childhood activities. Several children with diverse needs attend the centre. They are included and supported well to learn alongside their peers.

At present the centre has no children with Māori heritage. It does have a small number of children from Pacific backgrounds. Children in this centre respect others' languages and cultures. They have some understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori. The teaching team have identified the need to continue to strengthen the bicultural aspect of their practice.

Children enjoy playing together in groups outdoors. The significant upgrade of the outdoor environment has increased the scope for children's exploration and development of imaginative play. Gardening and keeping the grounds tidy are integrated into the programme, giving children a sense of ownership and responsibility. Plans are in place to develop a bike track in the playground, which should provide an opportunity to promote understandings around playing safely, for all children.

Teachers plan the programme together. They develop individual Montessori programme plans for each child. Teachers invite parents to contribute their aspirations and include these in planning. The new portfolios, an online portal, and regular surveys keep parents well informed about children's progress with the Montessori programme. Teachers could now consider ways to include information about children's play in portfolios, to demonstrate how their learning aligns with Te Whāriki.

The owner has a strong commitment to positive learning outcomes for all children through both Montessori and Te Whāriki-based programmes. She is working with teachers to generate a seamless combination of the best features of both approaches.

Internal evaluation is still in the early stages of development in the centre. It could be used to help teachers make decisions about the effectiveness of programmes in supporting children's holistic development. The owner should now add Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, to the centre's philosophy. Te Whāriki should then become the other important document used in guiding decision-making about the programme.

Management of the centre is generally efficient and effective. Parents and staff are involved in decision-making about policies and procedures, and strategic planning. Personnel policies are in place. Teachers have a generous allocation of professional development, and have formed a cohesive and collaborative teaching team. Appraisal processes require some further improvement and there remain some refinements, of which the owner is aware, to be made to centre policies and procedures.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the manager discussed and agree that the next steps for the centre are to:

  • continue developing assessment with a focus on children's interests and strengths and what they are learning, rather than on what they are doing

  • consider a stronger reflection on children's languages, culture and identity in portfolios

  • continue to update health and safety requirements to ensure that the centre meets legal requirements and expectations

  • review and improve the appraisal processes to meet the required standards annually.

ERO recommends that the manager should provide whole centre professional development about Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, in order to help teachers work more closely with children when they are not engaged with Montessori resources.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

12 December 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

Orakei, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

20446

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 3 aged under 2

Service roll

50

Gender composition

Boys 26 Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Asian
Samoan
other

35
6
5
4

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

12 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

As Kowhai Montessori:

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2015

September 2011

June 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.