Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten - 16/11/2011

 

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten provides a good standard of all day education and care for children from two to six years of age. The kindergarten has extended its hours of operation from half day to full day sessions and teachers are continuing to adjust the programme to take this change into account.

The programme is based on the Montessori philosophy, which focuses on supporting children to develop a sense of self-discipline, self-respect, respect for others, and personal satisfaction in learning. The centre’s philosophy is closely aligned with the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Children are capable and competent learners and engage confidently in the programme. Their natural curiosity supports their learning. Teachers monitor interactions to ensure that children are developing their thinking skills and are making choices within the learning programme.

Clear communication and effective connections between children, families and teachers are valued. Interactions are respectful and purposeful. Parents’ contributions to and ownership of centre practices and children’s learning are encouraged through three-way dialogue.

The licensee and centre manager work collaboratively within a culture of continuous self review and improvement of the programme and the overall operation of the kindergarten. A next step for kindergarten managers is to continue to develop strategies to sustain their good practices. They should also continue to build on innovative approaches that foster children’s learning and development.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atPonsonby Montessori Kindergarten .

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

Since the last ERO review in 2008, teachers have worked on developing shared understandings about the programme. Systems have been refined and made clearer for staff to use. This review of philosophy and practices has resulted in increased opportunities for children to follow their own interests. Professional development has improved the quality of self review and programme assessment practices.

Areas of strength

Philosophy. The centre philosophy is reflected in warm and respectful relationships between children, teachers and parents. Teachers understand their role as facilitators of children’s independent thinking and learning.

Programme management. The programme has a relaxed and industrious tone. Children consistently make choices from a wide range of resources. Flexible routines support children’s independence and engagement in the programme.

Learning environment. Managers and teachers have created an environment that supports children’s learning. The learning environment is emotionally supportive and accepting. Children have access to a good range of high quality and attractively presented resources and have opportunities to explore creative and imaginative play. Outdoor learning experiences support children’s physical development. Learning about gardening promotes their early understanding of natural science.

Planning for learning. Planning includes a combination of ideas from children, parents and teachers. Feedback is welcome and suggestions are responded to. Planning includes provision for:

  • resources of graduated levels of learning difficulty

  • short periods of time when children learn in groups

  • opportunities for planned and spontaneous learning

  • formal assessment of children’s learning.

Teachers support and facilitate children’s learning opportunities unobtrusively throughout the programme.

Team work. Managers and teachers work collaboratively to maintain sound practices. These practices are strengthened by:

  • good levels of internal and external professional development

  • opportunities for regular professional discussions

  • a management system that welcomes staff ideas and opinions

  • contributions of parents’ knowledge and skills to support the programme.

Self review. The centre is managed effectively. Managers and teachers are reflective practitioners who consistently evaluate their practices and make changes that improve the quality of the kindergarten service.

Areas for development and review

Innovative learning approaches. Over a period of time teachers have thought about how to adapt their programme in innovative ways. Imaginative play has been developed in ways that are complementary to the Montessori philosophy. The range of outdoor experiences available to children has been extended. Teachers could now consider how to further stimulate children’s ongoing learning through the outdoor programme.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Inclusion of children with moderate to severe special needs

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions ensure the continuing wellbeing, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs are supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

Background

Although no children with special needs are currently enrolled in this service, the centre has in the past enrolled children with moderate to severe special needs.

Teachers hold strong beliefs that children with special needs should be included in the kindergarten programme. The centre provides a positive environment for children with special needs and is supportive of their families.

Areas of strength

Supportive processes. The centre has a policy of welcoming children with special needs. Parents are provided with information about the centre’s induction processes for these children.

Team approach. Teachers participate in meetings with parents and staff of specialist services. They contribute to the development of appropriate programmes to support children with special needs.

Benefits to children. Staff report that some children with special needs who have attended the centre in the past have experienced improvements in their general development and have enjoyed social acceptance and friendship in the centre.

Areas for development and review

The physical environment. The physical environment supports children’s engagement in the programme, but steps leading out of the building could limit children’s access to the outdoor area. Some modification of the indoor environment could facilitate children’s access to some activities.

4. Recommendation

Centre managers should review the physical environment to assess how well it supports children with special needs.

5. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten completed an ERO CentreManagement Assurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

6. Recommendation

ERO and the centre managers agree that centre managers and teachers should continue to use self review to sustain and further extend current good practices.

7. Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

 

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

16 November 2011

About the Centre

Type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

30 children over two years of age

Roll number

53

Gender composition

Girls 31, Boys 22

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 46, Māori 4, Chinese 1, Cook Island Māori 1, Indian 1

Review team on site

August 2011

Date of this report

16 November 2011

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review, August 2008 Supplementary Review, August 2006 Education Review, June 2005

 

 

To the Parents and Community of Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten .

Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten provides a good standard of all day education and care for children from two to six years of age. The kindergarten has extended its hours of operation from half day to full day sessions and teachers are continuing to adjust the programme to take this change into account.

The programme is based on the Montessori philosophy, which focuses on supporting children to develop a sense of self-discipline, self-respect, respect for others, and personal satisfaction in learning. The centre’s philosophy is closely aligned with the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Children are capable and competent learners and engage confidently in the programme. Their natural curiosity supports their learning. Teachers monitor interactions to ensure that children are developing their thinking skills and are making choices within the learning programme.

Clear communication and effective connections between children, families and teachers are valued. Interactions are respectful and purposeful. Parents’ contributions to and ownership of centre practices and children’s learning are encouraged through three-way dialogue.

The licensee and centre manager work collaboratively within a culture of continuous self review and improvement of the programme and the overall operation of the kindergarten. A next step for kindergarten managers is to continue to develop strategies to sustain their good practices. They should also continue to build on innovative approaches that foster children’s learning and development.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

 

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.

Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre, may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.

National Evaluation Topics – This strand contributes to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.

Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.