Montessori Beginnings Early Childhood Education Centre - 25/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Montessori Beginnings Early Childhood Education Centre

How well placed is Montessori Beginnings Early Childhood Education Centre 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 Beginnings is located in a converted house and provides children with a home-like environment. Programmes reflect the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and are guided by the Montessori learning approach to preschool education.

The centre provides a full day education and care service for up to 30 children over 2 years of age. The good level of qualified staff contributes to the centre’s professional culture. The head teacher is also one of the centre’s co-owners.

During 2014, new owners and staff have implemented changes, many of which have addressed the recommendations from the 2012 ERO report. Professional development has focused on refining self-review processes and on extending children’s learning. The centre now has more robust self review that is focused on improving outcomes for children.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from friendly and calm relationships in the centre. This positive tone supports them to be capable, confident learners. Children direct their play and, therefore, their learning. They choose from a variety of sensory, literacy, mathematical and culturally themed materials in an uncluttered environment.

Children’s transitions into, and within the centre are well managed. Staff are committed to supporting children and families as children move to school. Teachers are developing partnerships with local schools to help strengthen this transition in children’s lives.

Teachers listen carefully to individual children and respond appropriately to their ideas. They access resources to cater for individual children’s emerging interests and stages of development. Children’s curiosity, thinking and complexity in play are encouraged by teachers’ skilful questions.

Children have opportunities to develop their sense of belonging and wellbeing. The centre’s unhurried programme supports children to learn by themselves, in pairs or in small groups. Children express their ideas knowing that their teachers will value and build on their contributions.

Teachers are focused on what is best for children. They engage in discussions with each other about ways they can modify their practice to meet individual children’s learning requirements. Planning and assessment is responsive to individual children’s interests and strengths. Teachers also use children’s preferences about ways of learning to shape the programme. Teachers actively contribute their ideas and talents to provide children with a curriculum that extends their thinking. Children experience literacy, mathematics and the sciences in the context of play.

Centre staff have explored ways to promote Māori children’s language and identity. Several innovations have successfully supported children’s sense of connection to each other and their local environment. Teachers provide children with a history of the area that includes the meaning of Whangaparaoa to Māori.

Very good progress has been made in building reciprocal relationships with a local marae. The planned development of the centre’s pepeha and plantings of native vegetation in the outdoor environment indicate the commitment of staff to the centre’s ongoing development of bicultural practices.

Parents value teachers’ good knowledge about their children. They are able to see clearly their children’s progress in assessment portfolios. Increasingly, parents provide learning stories to complement those recorded by teachers. They appreciate the way staff openly share information about their children’s strengths and interests.

Staff manage communications about possible additional support for children with special needs in a sensitive manner. Parents are informed about centre developments and are invited to provide centre owners with their feedback.

Effective leadership contributes to the good quality of education and care for children. The head teacher works collaboratively with staff to build a sense of teacher ownership of curriculum processes. A commitment to continuous improvement is evident.

Centre priorities are currently focused on revisiting the principles of Te Whāriki to inform philosophy and practice. An important priority is to explore ways that self review can be adapted to suit different purposes and contexts.

Governance and management of the centre is effective. The head teacher/owner has worked well to align operational systems and processes. While management provides staff with regular and timely feedback about their worth as team members, staff appraisal is yet to be formally implemented.

ERO is confident that the centre has the capability, through its good quality leadership, to sustain its successful practices that are focused on improving outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The centre’s planned next steps appropriately include:

  • including more child and parent input in self review
  • improving responsiveness for children with diverse and special needs
  • strengthening relationships with parents and whānau that are focused on children’s learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Montessori Beginnings Early Childhood Education Centre 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 Beginnings Early Childhood Education Centre will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 May 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Whangaparaoa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

45065

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children over 2

Service roll

27

Gender composition

Boys 14

Girls 13

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese

1
25
1

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

April 2015

Date of this report

25 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 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.