Acorn Montessori Children's House - 14/06/2013

1 Evaluation of Acorn Montessori Childrens House

How well placed is Acorn Montessori Childrens House 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.


Acorn Montessori Children’s House is licensed to cater for up to 35 children over two years and up to six years of age. The teaching programme of this full day education and care service is based on the Montessori philosophy and has links to Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum. Parents report that they appreciate the opportunity for their children to experience developmentally planned learning under the Montessori philosophy.

The owner/manager of this private early childhood education service is supported by a recently appointed head teacher. Over the past three years, staff turnover has been high. All current teaching staff are registered teachers.

ERO reviews since 2003 have noted that the centre programme supports children to be skilful communicators who initiate and sustain their own activities and interact capably with their peers. Teachers have responded well to the suggestion in the 2010 ERO report that they encourage children more to express their thoughts and ideas about their learning.

The Review Findings

Teachers acknowledge children as confident, responsible and capable learners who learn through practical experience. Formal teaching times are designed to enable them to acquire specific knowledge and skills. Children have opportunities to learn positive social interactions within a culture of respect. The well ordered Montessori environment supports them to engage in learning independently and to manage their time and learning well.

The centre is well managed. The owner is collaborative and values the input of staff into the programme. She helps them to develop leadership skills. Individual and team professional development opportunities, which are mainly focused on Montessori philosophy and practices, support teachers in their professional growth. The ongoing review of the teacher appraisal process, including the registered teacher criteria, should continue to promote improvements in effective teaching practice.

As the centre progresses towards relicensing under the 2008 Early Childhood Regulations, the owner and teachers have begun to place greater emphasis on self review. They are accessing appropriate support from the Ministry of Education as part of the relicensing process.

Key Next Steps

A key next step for centre development is to further develop the teaching team’s understanding of effective self review to:

  • improve teaching and learning in response to children’s interests and abilities
  • develop strategic and annual planning that includes consultation with parents and teachers to further enhance children’s learning
  • evaluate the extent to which teachers’ professional development and the appraisal process are impacting positively on outcomes for children
  • equip staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to work effectively with children from different cultural backgrounds.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Acorn Montessori Childrens House 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:

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

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 Acorn Montessori Childrens House will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

14 June 2013

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


Devonport, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

35 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 12

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā









Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

14 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2010


Education Review

May 2007


Education Review

December 2003

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.