Little Earth Montessori Havelock North - 10/12/2018

1 Evaluation of Little Earth Montessori Havelock North

How well placed is Little Earth Montessori Havelock North 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.


Little Earth Montessori Havelock North, previously known as Parent and Child Havelock North, is a mixed age early learning centre catering for 54 children, including 38 aged up to two years. Of the 59 children enrolled three are Māori. Children attending a two-hour sessional parent education programme account for half of enrolments.

The service's philosophy, developed in October 2017, is grounded in the Montessori teaching approach. It values aroha, respect, connection to the environment and the use of practical tasks to promote learning.

In August 2015, the centre was purchased by Evolve Education Group Ltd (Evolve). Since this time the service has changed its operational model and rebranded. It continues to cater for some parents or family members who wish to attend the service with their children. In May 2018 Evolve closed the neighbouring Baby and Child service. The development of a separate infant space to cater for this group has resulted in three separate areas for learning according to age.

At the time of this ERO review an acting centre manager is newly in place pending a permanent appointment to this role. Most staff are fully qualified. Ongoing operational support and professional development is the role of Evolve Managers. There have been several changes in Evolve regional management since 2017.

The March 2014 ERO report identified several areas for improvement. These include strengthening the bicultural curriculum, teachers' appraisal, self review and documentation of children's learning. These continue to be areas for development.

Significant ongoing changes at this service have resulted in practices that do not effectively promote positive and equitable outcomes for children.

The Review Findings

Some aspects of the Montessori philosophy are evident in practice. Teachers are newly developing their understanding of this approach and continue to adapt how it is implemented. It is now timely to clearly define what the philosophy looks like in practice for teachers and children. This should include identifying priorities for children's learning, in consultation with parents, aligned to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Children access a range of resources to support their learning. Leaders should continue to consider how well the resources reflect the centre philosophy. Teachers organise the environment to foster children's exploration and interests.

Infants and toddlers are responsively and consistently cared for. One on one interactions support these children's sense of security. They are given space and time to lead their own learning. Teachers have recently identified their priority learners. They work with parents and external agencies to support children with additional learning needs.

The bicultural curriculum continues to require strengthening. Teachers and leaders acknowledge that increasing the use of meaningful te reo Māori is a key next step. Further consideration should be given to how well the environment, resources, curriculum and assessment of learning reflect the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Strategies that support educational success of Māori children as Māori are yet to be explored.

Sleeping practices require improvement to ensure they meet the needs of all children. Consideration should also be given to how children's mealtimes are managed.

Assessment, planning and evaluation of individual children is currently under development. Further strengthening is required to identify:

  • intended learning outcomes as part of the planning process

  • how parent aspirations and children's culture, language and identity are promoted

  • children's learning progressing over time

  • the role of the teacher and intentional teaching strategies that contribute to children's learning

  • next steps for individual learning.

In addition, assessment, planning and evaluation of enrolled children involved in the sessional parent programme must be undertaken.

Evolve systems and processes are not well implemented. Greater rigour is required to effectively monitor and track this and ensure record keeping is sufficient. Regular area manager visits record actions taken by staff, however closer attention to compliance and greater use of feedback and feedforward is needed to improve the quality of practice.

Teachers are given regular opportunities to develop their practice through PLD related to their appraisal goals. A priority is to ensure further professional learning in relation to the Montessori approach. Use of the recently revised appraisal system should also be strengthened to ensure that:

  • constructive feedforward supports teachers to develop their practice

  • inquiries use evidence to evaluate the impact of changes in teaching on outcomes for children

  • targeted observations of teacher practice contribute to their appraisal.

Teachers' understanding and use of internal evaluation is in the early stages. Further support is required to identify the purpose of evaluation and effectively undertake the process, with a focus on children's outcomes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Earth Montessori Havelock North 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO found significant areas of non-compliance in the service related to:

  • curriculum

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • knowledge of relevant theories and practice

  • excursion risk assessment and management.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008,

[Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, Regulation 43 Curriculum standard: general] [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2, C4, HS17]

To improve current practice, the early childhood service management should also:

  • ensure up to date and complete policies are available for parents

  • complete targeted observations of teacher practice to contribute to teacher appraisal

  • improve accessibility to all documents and records required for the operation of the service.

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends that the Ministry reassess the licence of Little Earth Montessori Havelock North.

ERO will not undertake a further education review of this service until the Ministry of Education is satisfied that the service meets licensing requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Little Earth Montessori Havelock North will be in consultation with the Ministry of Education.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

10 December 2018

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


Havelock North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

54 children, including up to 38 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 34, Boys 25

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


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

October 2018

Date of this report

10 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

May 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.