Waikato Montessori Early Education Centre - 01/12/2017

1 Evaluation of Waikato Montessori Early Education Centre

How well placed is Waikato Montessori Early Education Centre 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

Waikato Montessori Early Education Centre is a privately owned service situated at Tamahere east of Hamilton. The centre is licensed for 60 children over two years of age. At the time of this ERO review there were 47 children enrolled at the centre of whom six identify as Māori. Twenty three children are from Asian families.

Children learn in two mixed-age classrooms. A covered verandah with gardens is available for all-weather activities. Further outdoor areas are provided for physical activity at designated times throughout the day. Since the centre opened in 2006, governance and management personnel have remained the same.

The centre continues to strongly promote the Montessori philosophy and curriculum, which fosters children's self-management, curiosity and understanding of their community and wider world. Teachers at this centre are qualified and trained in both the Montessori and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from respectful, responsive interactions and relationships with teachers. Teachers know children and families well and use positive guidance strategies to foster children's self-management and independence. Written and oral language skills along with mathematics concepts are developed in a variety of equipment-based ways. Tuakana teina relationships are deliberately encouraged. Older children play well with younger children and support their learning. Children engage in a wide range of sustained, self-selected learning experiences.

Routines are well established. These provide structure for the programme and support children in developing a sense of wellbeing and belonging. Parents and families support their children in developing individual pepeha that recognise family and cultural backgrounds. Children are taught waiata and have access to bicultural resources. Transition into the centre and to the adjacent school is smoothly facilitated, according to the needs of children and their families.

Attractive, spacious indoor environments reflect the kindergarten’s philosophy. A wide variety of readily accessed resources are appropriate for the range of age groups. The shared verandah area provides space for painting, gardening, carpentry and other practical activities. Children are able to make choices about their use of indoor and outdoor equipment. A calm, settled tone is evident throughout the centre.

Planning is informed by children’s strengths, capabilities and preferences for learning. Presentations of learning in children's portfolios show that children engage with increasingly sophisticated equipment, including natural resources, as they develop new knowledge and skills. Children’s success is regularly monitored by all teachers. Records of learning are shared with parents through formal six-monthly interviews. Children have opportunities to revisit and discuss their learning through continual access to a range of materials and resources.

The head of school maintains a strong focus on implementing the Montessori philosophy and its links with Te Whāriki. Leaders and teachers create a warm welcoming culture where parents/whānau feel valued. Teachers have engaged in professional development including presentations about the revised Te Whāriki.

Planned and spontaneous reviews have focussed on strengthening policies, teacher induction, portfolio documentation, and the outdoor area. The annual plan is well aligned to strategic goals and regularly reviewed. Leaders have established a good system for staff appraisal, which is focused on teachers' reflections about their practice and meeting regulatory requirements. Teachers appreciate the professional staff culture underpinned by clear expectations for curriculum, planning and delivery, centre operations and positive outcomes for learners.

Key Next Steps

In accordance with the recently revised Te Whāriki statement, managers and teachers should now review and revise:

  • assessment planning and evaluation to include:

    • how children’s dispositions and social development are extended over time

    • bicultural and multicultural references that show how children's culture, language and identity are valued

  • self review processes so that they include contributions from parents and children to enhance the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Waikato Montessori Early Education Centre 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 Waikato Montessori Early Education Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

1 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

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

30285

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including 0 aged under 2

Service roll

47

Gender composition

Girls 28 Boys 19

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Other

6
19
15
7

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

1 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2014

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

February 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.