Cambridge Montessori Preschool - 12/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Cambridge Montessori Preschool

How well placed is Cambridge 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.


Cambridge Montessori Preschool philosophy offers an education for young children in a peaceful, friendly environment where children, parents and whānau gain a sense of identity and belonging. The centre values independence, concentration, perseverance and respect. Older children teach younger children in an ordered environment managed by children and teachers. Montessori education involves the holistic development of the child where their physical, emotional, social, moral, intellectual, and spiritual wellbeing are kept in balanced harmony.

There are two Montessori centres under the same ownership and management in Cambridge. This centre is situated in Leamington and caters for children from two years to six years of age. There are 18 children on the roll and five are identified as Māori. One of the two owners is currently manager of both centres. There are two age designated areas in this purpose-built facility. Both areas keep similar hours, and parents and whānau are able to negotiate the hours of attendance for their child.

There are planned changes to ownership and management of the centre towards the end of the 2015 year. Since the 2013 ERO review the centre has worked hard to strengthen strategic goals and self-review systems.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from a curriculum that is based on the principles and philosophy of Montessori. The principles are focused on growing children’s independence and confidence through self-esteem, competence and respect. A wide range of interests and complexity of learning in a spacious and well-organised environment contributes to children’s enjoyment of learning.

An appropriate range of high quality learning materials is thoughtfully arranged in each of the five Montessori areas. The use of low shelving and the careful placement of equipment maximises children’s view of, and access to resources and invites the return of items to their original positions. The variety and orderly arrangement of resources effectively promotes independence and purpose in children’s learning.

Children demonstrate high levels of care and respect for resources and one another. Teachers know children well, respond to their initiatives, respect their choices, encourage independence, and support their play and exploration. They consistently model Montessori philosophy and values such as self-discipline, grace, courtesy and encourage the appropriate use of equipment. Unobtrusive, responsive and caring interactions among teachers and children contribute to a calm, settled and focused learning climate.

All children benefit from the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the learning environment. Both children and staff are well supported by a teacher of Ngāti Maru descent. Teachers recognise children’s individual identity and promote the cultural heritage of all children. They deliberately plan for and develop themes that are based on children’s identity and interests. These themes are flexible and children are encouraged to become self-managing learners.

Effective professional leadership is provided by the experienced and knowledgeable centre manager and external providers. The manager is a strong advocate for Montessori teaching practices,and her position encompasses that of curriculum leader and professional support facilitator. The centre manager’s open management style assists staff to be confident and contribute their ideas to aspects of centre operations. This leadership approach promotes positive and co-operative teamwork.

Strategic and annual plans provide direction, guide resourcing decisions,and are focused on the educational needs of children. Policy guidelines, personnel procedures and self-review practices are well embedded, and focused on improving positive outcomes for young children in a physically and emotionally safe environment.

Leaders and teachers actively encourage parents and families to participate in centre activities and they are well informed about their children’s learning and progress. The centre has a very positive relationship with the local school and all adults work together to ensure that children’s transition to school is a positive experience. Centre management and staff have effective systems in place to promote an emotionally and physically safe environment for children and adults.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and teachers acknowledge that the next areas for review and development are to:

  • implement a more rigorous appraisal process for all staff
  • review the purpose and consistency of children's individual portfolios.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 January 2016

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 10 Girls 8

Ethnic composition







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

12 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013


Education Review

February 2010


Education Review

February 2007

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.