Montessori at Otari Preschool Inc. - 29/07/2013

1 Evaluation of Montessori at Otari Preschool Inc

How well placed is Montessori at Otari Preschool Inc 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

Montessori at Otari Preschool Inc is a community-based service located on the grounds of Otari School in Wilton, Wellington.

The service provides education and care for up to 48 children aged from three to six years. It is governed by an annually-elected council of parents and managed by a senior director.

The Montessori philosophy underpins teaching and learning. Programmes align with the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. Over 80% of teachers are qualified and staff turnover is low.

Some progress has been made in addressing the recommendation in the April 2010 ERO report regarding continued development of self review, assessment and planning.

The Review Findings

Children play and learn in a carefully prepared environment in keeping with the Montessori philosophy. Each child is seen as a unique learner.

Children are confident, sociable and cooperative with each other and with adults. They show high levels of respect for others and for the environment. The tone in each of the two rooms is peaceful and calm. Transitions into the centre and on to school are well managed. Routines are well understood and embedded.

Teachers provide a range of activities that foster children’s independence, perseverance and leadership. Planning is based on each child’s emerging development, interests and needs. Montessori equipment is effectively used to engage children in conversations and authentic learning situations. Appropriate materials and resources support holistic development. Learning is documented, celebrated and shared with parents and whānau in attractive profile books.

Diverse cultures, languages and identities are recognised, valued and celebrated. Use of te reo Māori and integration of ngā tikanga are evident in daily programmes.

Leaders actively inquire into parents’ aspirations and seek feedback on the quality of education and care. Each room is led by a Montessori-trained teacher. The senior director demonstrates a clear focus on children’s learning and wellbeing. She is a knowledgeable and highly experienced leader who is committed to continuous improvement in centre practices. At her initiative, the senior director position and the overall management structure are currently under review.

Staff recognise the need to strengthen appraisal. A revised system is being trialled in 2013. A plan for evaluating this has not yet been developed. The council makes appropriate provision for teachers’ professional development, and is currently supporting two teachers’ participation in the Montessori self-review programme ‘Journey to Excellence’.

Centre operations are guided by strategic and annual plans that are well aligned. Self review of governance policies and procedures result in changes and improvement.

Key Next Steps

ERO’s evaluation found a need for further refinement of self review centre-wide. Aspects that need strengthening are:

  • evaluation of the impact of changes
  • formal planning for self reviews, including actual steps for gathering evidence and criteria for making judgements about quality and effectiveness
  • identification of strategic planning priorities based on self review.

Council members recognise the need to strengthen professional leadership and develop a more cohesive approach to management, with well defined roles and responsibilities. ERO affirms the council’s decision to consider alternative management and leadership structures.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Montessori at Otari Preschool Inc 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 Montessori at Otari Preschool Inc will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

29 July 2013

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Wilton, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

60237

Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

48 children aged over 2

Service roll

76

Gender composition

Boys 42,

Girls 34

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Other ethnic groups

2

51

19

4

Percentage of qualified staff

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

N/A

Choose an item.

 

Over 2

1 : 8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

29 July 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

April 2010

 

Education Review

February 2007

 

Education Review

November 2004

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.