Helensville Montessori - 01/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Helensville Montessori

How well placed is Helensville Montessori 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.


Helensville Montessori is licensed to provide education and care for up to 76 children aged over two years. Children can attend from 8:45am to 3:30pm daily. The centre is made up of three linked buildings over two spacious properties. Nido centre caters for up to 16 children aged between two and three years. Casa and Villa provide for children aged from three to six years of age.

The centre is privately owned and well established in the community. Centre leaders are the owner and three lead teachers. They lead a team of three other qualified teachers, two teachers in training, and five unqualified teachers.

The centre philosophy is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and embraces aspects of both the Montessori core curriculum, and the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Respect for children and the provision of a stimulating environment are a strong focus of the teaching team. Responsive and reciprocal relationships are seen by teachers and centre leaders as the key to the education that occurs in the centre.

Previous ERO reports have been very affirming. They have celebrated the provision of high quality environments and teaching practices which have supported children to become independent, confident, and competent explorers and learners. These positive aspects have been maintained and enhanced.

The Review Findings

The centre philosophy is highly evident in practice. Children are educated and cared for in a secure, stimulating, aesthetically pleasing environment, which they are able to freely explore. They are self managing, independent and respectful of the environment and people in it. Children and adults are treated with great respect and the wairua of each individual is nurtured.

Children work and play in an environment which supports them to challenge what they see and hear, to solve problems, wonder, create, negotiate and achieve. They build and sustain meaningful, reciprocal relationships where they can be leaders and followers. Children are carefully supported by skilled teachers to develop an image of themselves as worthy, confident, and empathetic.

Parents are respected partners in the education of their children. Teachers acknowledge parents' deep interest in their children's learning, and in the documentation that makes the learning visible.

Parents who met with ERO spoke very positively about the teaching team and their knowledge of each child as a learner. They appreciate the individual responses from teachers to children's personal and learning needs. Transitions into and through the centre are very respectfully managed according to individual children's needs.

Teachers maintain a calm, unhurried pace to the programme. They encourage children to take ownership and set the direction of their learning. Assessment of children's learning is multi-layered and reflects the complexity of children's relationships with people, places and things. It captures the learning of every child against the principles of Te Whāriki, and within a Montessori context. Literacy, mathematics, science, knowledge of the natural world, and the local community are skilfully woven throughout the programme.

Teachers are reflective practitioners who critique their own practices through a process that is ongoing and intentional. They have developed, and include in the programme, an understanding and appreciation of the cultural heritage of both parties to Tiriti o Waitangi. They maintain an environment that is highly reflective of te reo and te ao Māori.

The centre is well managed, adaptable to the needs of the community, and inclusive of the language, culture and identity of all children. Shared leadership, and a commitment to a shared vision, empower teachers and promote a culture of trust. The shared leadership model is building capacity across the teaching team and enabling the service to sustain quality and improve outcomes for children.

Ongoing professional learning and development are highly valued. The three lead teachers have recently engaged in extensive professional learning around the Reggio Emilia philosophy, and continue to develop shared understandings of how this will promote richer experiences for, and deeper engagement of, children.

Key Next Steps

In order to enhance the current high quality provision for children, the teaching team plans to:

  • embed professional learning of the Reggio Emilia philosophy through all aspects of their practice
  • continue to review the centre's philosophy statement to accurately reflect their developing practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Helensville 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Helensville Montessori will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 September 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


Helensville, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

76 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 40 Girls 39

Ethnic composition



Cook Island Māori








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

August 2016

Date of this report

1 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2013

Education Review

March 2010

Education Review

April 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.