Cambridge Montessori Preschool - 17/06/2019

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

Cambridge Montessori Preschool is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Cambridge Montessori Preschool is a privately owned centre located in Leamington, Cambridge. The centre is one of two in Cambridge under the same ownership. Education and care is available from 8am until 4pm for children over two years of age.

The centre is licensed for 30 children. It is purpose built and has one shared learning space and a large outdoor area.

Since the previous ERO review in 2016 the ownership of the centre has been retained by one of the previous co-owners. An operations manager role has been developed and an experienced part-time teaching and learning mentor has been employed. There have been some changes to the staff and a new head teacher has been appointed. One of the staff is fully Montessori trained, with one currently completing training. All hold qualifications in early childhood education.

The preschool states that they offer quality preschool education in a peaceful, friendly environment where children and parents and whānau feel they belong. The preschool follows the Montessori philosophy and the New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki. Teachers place priority on guiding tamariki to reach their full potential and learn through a localised curriculum.

The centre has responded positively to the recommendations from the previous report.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from teachers who are respectful and responsive to their individual learning needs. Teachers regularly connect with families, enhancing learning centred relationships. Children are supported to learn about te ao Māori and other ethnicities through families sharing their knowledge. The service has good systems in place to support children with additional learning needs. Transitions into the centre are well supported. A calm settled environment contributes to a strong sense of belonging.

Children experience a broad and rich curriculum that reflects the service's philosophy. The environment equipped with high-quality resources encourages critical thought and wondering. The Montessori areas of the classroom are highly evident. The natural, outdoor environment provides rich learning opportunities. Links with the wider local community provide additional learning opportunities for children. The sequential learning programme encourages independence and problem-solving skills.

Children's progression of learning in terms of Montessori curriculum learning outcomes is highly visible in individual education plans. Personalised portfolios also capture children's interests and parent contributions. The assessment and planning of learning have been strengthened through professional development and self review to more strongly reflect the learning outcomes of Te Whāriki. Leaders and teachers should continue to embed and strengthen this process.

Leaders actively build teacher capability through an effective appraisal system and ongoing mentoring and support. There is a commitment to professional learning and development to meet identified needs of leaders and teachers. Leaders have a strong commitment to teaching and learning that contributes to positive outcomes for all children.

An established vision, mission and values guide centre practices. Leaders seek external advice and guidance to build their governance capability. They regularly seek and respond to feedback from families. A collaborative strategic plan has been developed. It is now timely to evaluate this in terms of how well the plan is contributing to learning outcomes for children.

Systems for internal evaluation are becoming established. There is a need to continue to build teacher capability in internal evaluation to further support development and improvement in the centre and evaluate the impact of changes made as a result.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for Cambridge Montessori Preschool are to continue to strengthen:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation of children's learning. This should continue to make visible the progression of learning against Te Whāriki outcomes and capture children's individual language, culture and identities

  • teacher capability in internal evaluation.

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.

ERO identified an area of non-compliance.

The service provider must ensure:

  • excursion records evidence parental permission of adult-to-child ratios.
    Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS17.

In order to improve current practice, leaders and teachers should ensure that:

  • parents are consistently signing the administration of medicine and accident forms.
    Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS27, HS28.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

17 June 2019

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

Cambridge

Ministry of Education profile number

30114

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, aged over 2

Service roll

22

Gender composition

Male 15 Female 7

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā

5
17

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

17 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2016

Education Review

February 2013

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.