Casa Montessori Preschool - 14/09/2015

1 Evaluation of Casa Montessori Preschool

How well placed is Casa 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

Casa Montessori Preschool is a small, privately owned preschool in Avondale, Auckland. The preschool opened in 2013 and operates from a renovated villa on spacious grounds. It provides all day education and care for up to 36 children from two years of age. It offers high teacher ratios and has strong connections with parents and whānau.

The preschool is capably managed by the owners who work collaboratively with teachers, parents and children to ensure its smooth running. Many families travel long distances to bring their children to Casa Montessori.

Children and teachers are from a diverse range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The service provides a curriculum that is strongly influenced by Montessori philosophy as well as Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The learning programme and resources are focused on guiding children to explore at their own pace and develop the skills that enable them to be independent, capable and socially competent learners. Teachers work very well in a collaborative team to provide good quality outcomes for children.

This is the first ERO report for the preschool. ERO’s findings indicate that it is providing a valuable service to families in its diverse community.

The Review Findings

Children are confident and articulate. They settle quickly and self select from a wide range of well displayed Montessori activities. They make good choices about their learning and play with confidence. Children are aware of the expectations of the centre and reinforce these with each other and with their parents.

Children are engaged, busy and purposeful in their learning. They display high levels of perseverance as they take on challenges and learn to focus on detail through the Montessori learning materials. They show respect for one another with behaviours that are reflective of the centre’s aspirations for children to be receptive, cooperative and warm in their interactions with others. Children show high level of social competence and self-help skills and clearly enjoy their learning.

Staff ensure that the preschool reflects a high standard Montessori environment. The indoor and outdoor areas are open, spacious, well maintained and attractive. The large outdoor environment encourages physical activity, exploration and promotes children’s independence. The curriculum includes planned activities such as yoga, Spanish lessons and other creative pursuits. Children are involved in sequential learning of skills according to their development through the use of the many Montessori learning materials.

Teachers implement the Montessori teacher role very well. They support children’s engagement in activities and show a real interest in promoting children’s learning. They are approachable and willingly spend time with parents and children. Teachers have established warm relationships with children and know the families well. They provide opportunities for parents and whānau to offer their perspectives on the programme design.

Teachers plan around celebrations and relevant local community events to enrich the programme for children. Teachers also plan for children’s individual interests and evaluate their learning progress. Children’s learning journey is recorded attractively and purposefully in online portfolios, strengthening partnerships for learning between the pre-school and home.

Parents report high levels of satisfaction with the centre. Parents have rich and meaningful opportunities to be involved in the programme. They are kept well informed about Montessori approaches and have opportunities to discuss these with other parents. Very good communication systems are in place, and parents provide constructive and positive feedback in an ongoing way and as part of formalised self review.

The preschool acknowledges the place of Māori as tangata whenua and continues to develop and strengthen its bicultural curriculum. Most teachers use te reo Māori with children and aspects of tikanga are incorporated into the daily programme. Teachers are focused on strengthening how the curriculum promotes language, culture and identity of children and their families.  

The centre is well led and focused on providing a high quality service for children and their parents. The owner/manager provides strong leadership and direction for staff. Through genuine and supportive relationships, she models high expectations and positive guidance for teachers, children and parents.

There are many leadership opportunities for teachers, parents and children at the centre. Teachers attend professional learning workshops and share their learning with each other. There is a good appraisal process in place that supports teachers to build their professional practice. Self review is very well understood and enables the preschool to make ongoing changes for continuous improvement.

Key Next Steps

The owner and ERO agree that the key next steps for the preschool are to:

  • continue promoting children’s creativity and imaginative play in the learning programme
  • incorporate new Education Council requirements into the teacher appraisal process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

14 September 2015 

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

Avondale, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

46206

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

36 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll

30

Gender composition

Girls       17
Boys      13

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Indian
Sri Lankan
Brazilian

  1
14
  6
  6
  2
  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

July 2015

Date of this report

14 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

 

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.