Little Earth Montessori Kapiti - 04/08/2015

1 Evaluation of Little Earth Montessori Kapiti

How well placed is Little Earth Montessori Kapiti 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

Little Earth Montessori Kapiti is one of two early childhood centres operating under the same ownership. It provides education and care for children aged three to six years. Parents have choices of morning, afternoon or all-day sessions. Parenting classes and a nature playgroup for children aged under two years are provided.

The centre is led by the principal who oversees operations, teachers’ practice and programme development. The head teacher manages day-to-day operation and leads teaching and learning.

The programme is based on the Montessori philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. High value is placed on the importance of authentic experiences and working with real and natural resources. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves, others and the environment. Respect, care, love and beauty are the values underpinning practice and operation.

The purpose-built premises reflect the commitment to sustainability and harmony with the natural world. The centre is an ‘enviroschool’ with environmental education being a key aspect of the curriculum. An enrichment programme based in the adjacent forest is also offered.

Strengthening the sense of community has been a development focus since the 2012 ERO review.

All teachers are fully registered and qualified in Montessori education. Since the previous ERO review, additional staffing has been provided in response to increased numbers of children attending.

This is the centre’s second ERO review.

The Review Findings

Centre practices and the programme clearly reflect the intent of the philosophy and vision. High levels of care and respect are modelled by teachers and are evident in children’s play and interactions with others. Teachers view children as competent to take the lead in making decisions about their participation and learning. They use a range of effective strategies to support children’s independence as learners and to facilitate their social competence. Children’s self expression is fostered through the many open-ended opportunities for creativity and investigation.

The learning environment is rich and challenging. Beauty, order and authenticity are emphasised. Gardens and animals are carefully and communally tended to promote children’s respect for, interest in, and understanding of, the natural world. The forest enrichment programme extends the environment into the local community. Literacy, mathematics, science and the arts are effectively woven throughout daily activities. The quiet and calm tone reflects children’s high level of sustained engagement in their learning experiences.

Participation of families and the local community is promoted and valued. There is a strong focus on supporting families’ understanding of the centre's core values and philosophical beliefs. A wide range of communication tools supports partnerships with the teaching team and parents, whānau and the community.

Carefully considered strategies support children’s transitions into the centre and on to primary school. Teachers agree they should continue to develop purposeful links with local primary schools.

Staff recognise the need to further respond to the diverse range of cultures within the centre.

Little Earth Montessori Kapiti has a clear vision for responding to and supporting whānau of Māori children. An enrichment programme is promoting children’s and teachers’ understanding of aspects of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Whānau Māori aspirations are sought and an understanding of children’s heritage is being promoted. Agreed development steps are for the team to continue to learn about te ao Māori, and to pursue links with mana whenua and increase the integration of Māori language and protocols into the programme.

Children with additional learning needs are welcome at the centre. Teachers appropriately support the participation of these children in the programme.

Planning for learning is appropriately based on regular assessment of children’s learning in relation to the Montessori philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Interests and special learning moments are recorded in children’s individual learning portfolios. Teachers continue to work on supporting parents’ and whānau understanding and contributions to their children’s learning programmes. Assessment and planning to show children’s progress over time should be further strengthened.

A revised appraisal process provides good support for teachers to reflect on aspects of their practice. It usefully links to strategic priorities, agreed values, and positive outcomes for children. Including feedback on teacher’s progress towards goals should help in further improving teaching practice.

Strong vision and leadership provide well-defined direction for the service. Cohesive team work is supported by teachers’ shared understanding of core values and agreed ideals. Systematic and comprehensive management systems are in place. A range of well-developed written guidelines support consistency of practice.

A robust framework supports self review focused on improvement. Key reviews are well linked to operational documents, philosophical values and strategic priorities. Appropriate high quality indicators support decisions about change. Teachers share responsibility for gathering data. The owner should continue to promote teachers’ understanding of, and participation in, the wider process.

Key Next Steps

Areas for development are recognised through centre self review. Improvements should be effectively promoted through established practices and leadership.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Earth Montessori Kapiti 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 Little Earth Montessori Kapiti will be in four years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

4 August 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

Paraparaumu

Ministry of Education profile number

45121

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children aged over 2 years

Service roll

40

Gender composition

22 Boys, 18 Girls

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other

6

27

7

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

4 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2012

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.