Little Earth Montessori Kapiti - 29/04/2020

1 Evaluation of Little Earth Montessori Kāpiti

How well placed is Little Earth Montessori Kāpiti to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Little Earth Montessori Kāpiti requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

The centre has had significant leadership, staff and structural changes. Leaders and teachers would benefit from a period of supported development to enhance positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Little Earth Montessori Kāpiti is a purpose-built education and care service in Paraparaumu. The centre is licensed for 46 children, including 16 up to the age of two years. At the time of this review 37 children were enrolled including five aged under two years. A range of ethnic groups are represented on the roll.

Full-time education and care are provided across two teaching spaces. One room is for children over the age of three and the other for those under three.

The centre's philosophy expresses commitment to nurturing the potential of each child. Learning experiences are underpinned by Te Whāriki, the Early Childhood Curriculum, the Montessori philosophy, and Enviroschool principles.

Little Earth Montessori Kāpiti was purchased by Evolve Education Group Ltd (Evolve) in 2016. Evolve provides governance guidelines, systems and processes for the service. Day-to-day operation is the responsibility of the centre manager, supported by an area manager. Four registered teachers are part of the teaching team.

The August 2015 ERO report expressed confidence in the capability of centre leadership to identify and improve areas requiring development. Since that report, governance and management, leadership and staffing changes have occurred. This includes the appointment of a new centre manager in 2016. Building renovations were undertaken in 2017 to provide suitable space for care of infants and toddlers. Subsequently, the centre was relicensed several times to include provision for under twos.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy a calm learning environment where practical life skills and independence are encouraged. They play cooperatively and alongside each other and demonstrate familiarity with routines and expectations. The outdoor area provides opportunities for learners to engage in a variety of activities that provide physical challenge and encourage exploration.

Children over three have access to an adequately resourced environment that reflects the centre's Montessori philosophy. Provision of literacy, science, mathematics and the arts through Montessori presentations are visible in children’s learning journals. More learning resources and experiences which better promote learner interest, self-selection, challenge and creativity are required.

Infants' and toddlers' development is suitably supported by positive child-teacher relationships. Daily communication books enable the sharing of information between home and the service. An appropriate focus on promoting the wellbeing and sense of belonging of children is evident. Leadership has identified the need for an increased range of appropriate activities in the indoor play space to better promote learning and development for children under two and ERO supports this.

Leaders and teachers know children with additional learning needs well. They access external agencies, when this is required, to promote a child’s full participation in the programme and support their learning. Documented individualised planning for children with diverse learning and behaviour needs is a next step.

Planned curriculum review and establishing clear indicators of quality practice informed by Te Whāriki the Early Childhood Curriculum, is a centre-identified key next step. To better promote positive outcomes for children, leaders and teachers should be supported to develop and implement a curriculum that:

  • reflects the strands, principles and intent of Te Whāriki
  • demonstrates an understanding of high-quality early education
  • offers children more opportunities for creativity and self-challenge
  • reflects the local and place-based curriculum.

Centre management has identified the need to better build a shared understanding of assessment, planning and evaluation, aligned with Te Whāriki. A new template has been introduced to record children’s interests, plan individual learning pathways and promote consistency of practice across the centre. Leaders and teachers now need to consider how to:

  • deliberately plan to extend and enrich learning for each child with a focus on their interests
  • respond effectively to parent aspirations
  • place emphasis on individuals' progress in relation to desired learning outcomes
  • consistently promote children's individual culture, language and identity in documentation, particularly for Māori learners and children of Pacific heritage.

Purposeful professional development, including support from whānau, has improved teacher confidence and use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. The centre's bicultural curriculum is appropriately evident through meaningful learning contexts, including kapahaka, waiata, and karakia.

The cultures of all families and children are appropriately acknowledged. Parents and whānau are actively encouraged to contribute to and enrich the learning programme. Teachers and leaders continue to look for ways to strengthen practice in promoting children's cultures, languages and identity, particularly for Māori learners and children of Pacific heritage.

A useful internal evaluation framework supports staff to make positive changes to systems and routines. The centre’s philosophy is currently being reviewed in collaboration with whānau and teachers. Further strengthening internal evaluation and clearly identifying measurable indicators, of quality practice, to better guide decision-making and improvement is a centre identified next step.

Leaders and teachers are working together to establish effective systems and processes that should further promote the provision of high quality care and education. Increased availability and support from the current area manager should result in improved centre operations and better guidance for teaching and learning.

The centre has not met requirements for the endorsement of teachers' practising certificates. The Evolve appraisal policy and procedure has not been fully implemented. Robust implementation of this process should ensure accountability and meaningful appraisal for teacher development.

Key Next Steps

Leaders should:

  • clearly define curriculum priorities for children's learning aligned to Te Whāriki. A clear, shared understanding of effective early education provision for infants and toddlers, Māori learners and children of Pacific heritage is a priority

  • ensure consistent planning, assessment and evaluation practices, and documentation capture intentional teaching and children’s learning, development and progress over time

  • further develop shared understandings and implementation of effective internal evaluation for ongoing improvement, specifically focused on learner outcomes

  • robust implementation of all aspects of the appraisal process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Earth Montessori Kāpiti 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 identified areas of non-compliance relating to premises and facilities and governance, management and administration. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation (documented and undocumented) that demonstrates an understanding of children's learning and their interests whānau and life contexts

  • children's access to the licensed space is not unnecessarily limited

  • a system of regular appraisal

  • ensuring the correct child to teacher ratios at all times, particularly when children are eating.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, PF2, C2, GMA7 , Schedule 2: Reg 14 Early Childhood (Early Childhood Services) Amendment Regulations 2011.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

29 April 2020

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

46 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 19, Female 18

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2020

Date of this report

29 April 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2015

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

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.