Little Engines Montessori - 08/07/2013

1 Evaluation of Little Engines Montessori

How well placed is Little Engines 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.


Little Engines Montessori opened in February 2012 and is licensed for up to 50 children from two years to school age. The centre has been able to attract and appoint experienced and registered early childhood staff who are qualified Montessori teachers. Teachers are committed to providing high quality care and education for each child. The owners and head teacher provide effective systems and policies to support the management and operation of the centre.

The centre is a modern, well designed, purpose-built facility that has two large dedicated classrooms with an appropriately sized outdoor space.

Little Engines’ mission is to encourage, nurture and support children to be lifelong learners. The Montessori philosophy and the principles of Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, are strongly reflected in the learning programme.

This is the centre’s first ERO report.

The Review Findings

Respectful relationships are a feature of the centre. Children, parents and the wider community are warmly welcomed. Children benefit from an approach that provides consistent care and attention that is emotionally safe and nurturing. Teachers’ calm and trusting interactions support a programme that is responsive to children’s needs, interests, and strengths.

Children play and learn together, building on their knowledge and experiences in a prepared Montessori environment. They are supported to be confident and capable, and enjoy participating in conversations with adults and each other. Children have opportunities to develop leadership abilities through tuakana/teina relationships. Teachers guide children in their work and model the use of resources to enable them to extend their ideas across a wide range of curriculum areas. They have a holistic view of children’s learning and development.

Centre programmes reflect the Montessori philosophy and the principles of Te Whāriki. The aspirations of families are valued and parents are encouraged to be part of programme planning and assessment. Teachers share a commitment to biculturalism and include tikanga and te reo Māori appropriately in the programme. They are now considering using the Ministry of Education resource, Tātaiako, the Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, as part of their professional learning. 

A culture of teacher reflection and collaborative self review is well established and is used to build on and enhance centre systems and practices. These approaches help to provide strong direction for the centre and contribute to ongoing improvements in the care and education of children.

The centre owners and head teacher provide effective leadership that promotes respectful, appreciative relationships in the centre. They have supported teachers and staff to create a shared and inclusive approach to teaching and learning. Centre-wide professional development and an induction process for new teachers help to ensure shared team understandings. Useful operational and personnel systems have supported communication and increased accountability. Centre managers will continue to explore opportunities for all teachers to develop their teaching and leadership skills.

ERO is confident that centre managers will continue to plan appropriately for ongoing centre development to enhance outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Engines 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 Little Engines Montessori will be in three years. 

Dale Bailey
National Manager Review Services
Northern Region

8 July 2013 

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 


Grey Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       39
Boys      37

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Latin American
Other European


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

8 July 2013

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.