Wanganui Montessori Preschool - 16/07/2014

1 Evaluation of Wanganui Montessori Preschool

How well placed is Wanganui 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

Wanganui Montessori Preschool is a community-based, parent-run early childhood service. It is located adjacent to the Kowhainui Rest Home complex and children interact with the elderly residents. Since the August 2011 ERO review increased numbers of Asian children have contributed to a more ethnically diverse centre.

Children from three to five years old, spend most of their time in two mixed age classrooms, Milan and Venice. In addition the Rainbow Room provides a flexible learning and activity space. A staged upgrade of the outside area is planned and will include a greater emphasis on the natural environment.

The Montessori approach guides teaching and is reflected in children’s experiences being based on exploration according to their interests. Secure relationships with familiar adults and relationships with other children, who are well known to them, are emphasised.

The Review Findings

The centre programme reflects a good knowledge of Te Whāriki (the early childhood curriculum) and the Montessori approach. It enables children to develop independently. They are seen as competent, able to initiate interactions and lead themselves. Well selected resources and positive peer interactions support learning.

Environments encourage exploration that is meaningful and enjoyable for children. Learning experiences are relevant, interesting and promote children’s problem-solving and experimentation. Children are involved in activities for sustained periods, uninterrupted.

Positive, calm and sensitive relationships support children’s well-being and willingness to learn. Building and showing respect are woven into interactions. Teachers model desirable behaviours.

A variety of literacy experiences enable children to regularly observe, listen and play with language. Teachers use meaningful contexts to develop print awareness and alphabet knowledge. Mathematical understanding is built through frequent opportunities to use numbers, shapes and patterns in everyday activities. Literacy and mathematical learning is supported by high quality resources.

Biculturalism is promoted by the valuing of te aō Māori. Māori concepts, language, customs and beliefs are integrated into the programme. Te reo Māori is a prominent part of displays and used in some verbal interactions.

The service effectively provides for Māori learners. Māori culture, identity and language are very evident in some children’s records of learning. The scheduled hui provides an opportunity to further extend the partnership with whānau.

Teachers take full responsibility for the education and care of children with higher needs, ensuring they participate fully in all aspects of the programme alongside their peers. Teachers are skilled in adapting the learning to support all children’s needs.

Embracing and valuing diversity is evident. Teachers seek ways to maintain children’s connections to their various cultural identities, including using parent knowledge and skills.

There are many instances of parents being a part of the learning occurring in the centre. The use of online records results in parents and teachers having a shared understanding of children’s development. Formal parent meetings with teachers include sharing children’s strengths and interests and next learning steps.

The head teacher provides effective professional leadership. Together with the centre manager, they ensure day to day operation suitably promotes the education, care, health and safety of children.

Staff work collaboratively to support quality outcomes for children. Recent professional learning has contributed to better understanding of responding to diverse groups of learners, implementing a bicultural curriculum and effective self review. The teacher appraisal process encourages evidence based reflection on each of the criteria for effective teaching.

Strategic planning is closely linked to the centre philosophy and includes a curriculum focus. It provides direction for the centre and supports ongoing improvement.

Key Next Steps

Teachers should more consistently consider how effectively their deliberate teaching practices have developed children’s interests and learning.

To improve reporting by centre leaders to the Parent Committee, it should focus more on teaching and learning. This will assist the governing group to be assured quality early childhood education is being consistently provided.

A strengthened process now supports self review. Continuing to implement the process will enhance outcomes for children through increasingly robust:

  • consideration of the quality of the programme
  • identification of priorities for improvement based on best practice indicators.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

16 July 2014

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

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

51528

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children

Service roll

31

Gender composition

Boys 16, Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Other ethnic groups

5

16

9

1

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

June 2014

Date of this report

16 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2011

 

Education Review

June 2008

 

Education Review

June 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.