Burnham Country Montessori - 17/06/2014

1 Evaluation of Burnham Country Montessori

How well placed is Burnham Country Montessori to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Burnham Country Montessori is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Burnham Country Montessori is a privately owned service that provides full day education and care for children from six weeks to six years of age. The centre is licensed for 68 children and the current roll is 89.

The centre’s philosophy is focused on meeting the physical, social, emotional and educational needs of all children. Children learn in a positive and friendly environment. The four classrooms enable teachers to provide for children’s developing needs in a progressive way. There is a strong bicultural and environmental focus which is reflected in different aspects of the programmes. Parents and members of the wider community are welcome in the centre.

The management team includes the two owners, one of whom is a qualified early childhood teacher who works in the programme. The third manager is a senior member of the teaching staff. There are three permanent staff in each room. Almost all teachers are well qualified.

The centre management and staff have addressed most of the recommendations outlined in ERO’s May 2011 report.

The Review Findings

Children experience caring and respectful relationships with each other and with teachers. They confidently choose their activities, select resources and lead their learning. They have good opportunities to develop independence through learning to care for themselves and for the environment. Teachers encourage children to seek answers to their own questions, and to share their knowledge with their peers.

The primary caregiving approach in the nursery, enables teachers to provide a high level of individual care that is familiar and reassuring for infants and toddlers. These younger children are well supported in their learning.

Teachers provide a suitable range of resources to meet children’s interests and needs in most situations. They appropriately use the country environment to extend children’s experiences in meaningful ways. They use the expansive and well-resourced outdoor areas to effectively support the centre’s programme.

Teachers make sure that children from different ethnicities feel welcomed and their culture is valued. They use different languages when greeting children so that everyone is familiar with the words. They use a range of ways to incorporate Māori values such as manaakitanga (supporting, caring and respecting others) into the programme. Children hear and are encouraged to use te reo Māori often. The service does not yet have a programme that supports the culture, language and identity of Tongan children.

The senior management team effectively works alongside teachers to provide a safe and stimulating environment for children. They recognise the skills of individual teachers and provide opportunities for them to take leadership roles. They strongly support teachers to expand their teaching knowledge by attending appropriate professional learning and development (PLD) courses. The staff work as a team and have a shared understanding and commitment to the service’s vision. They use self review to make ongoing improvements to the environment and/or the programme. They could strengthen this process by using questions that will help them to find out how well or effective aspects of the programme are in meeting outcomes for children.

Parents are well informed about the service’s programme. They have many opportunities to be involved or to contribute to the programme. Centre managers and teachers value the feedback from parents and the wider community. They use this information to make changes or improvements to the programme or environment. This partnership contributes to the positive outcomes for children and staff.

Key Next Steps

The morning programme in the four-year-old room is very structured and focuses on literacy and numeracy experiences. It provides opportunities for children to play independently or in small groups. The centre managers and teachers now need to review how well this programme is meeting the wider interests, capabilities and needs of all four-year-old children.

Centre managers and senior leaders need to make provision for improving teachers’ knowledge and confidence in relation to the Tongan culture.

The assessment of children’s learning is not consistent. Senior leaders have identified that improving the quality of the way all teachers assess children’s learning is an important next step.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Burnham Country Montessori 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.

To improve current practice, the service needs to ensure that:

  • the appraisals of the centre managers are completed in a timely manner
  • Identification, management and the minimisation of potential risks are fully outlined prior to an excursion or trip.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Burnham Country Montessori will be in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

17 June 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


Burnham, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

68 children, including up to 11 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 49

Boys 40

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


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

17 June 2014

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

May 2011

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.