Montessori Childrens House - Wellington - 23/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Montessori Childrens House - Wellington

How well placed is Montessori Childrens House - Wellington 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 Childrens House is a privately owned early learning service located in Miramar. It is licensed for 30 children aged over two years. All children attend five mornings per week. Younger children go home at 1pm while those older may stay until 2.45pm. A growing number remain enrolled at the service until they are six years old. Families come from a range of cultural backgrounds. Many are new to New Zealand or temporary residents.

The owners manage centre operation. A lead teacher is responsible for learning and teaching. In 2014 a new lead teacher was appointed from within the existing staff. In 2016 two new teachers were employed to replace long-term staff who had left. All three permanently employed teachers are registered. Two have completed Montessori qualifications. One vacant position is being temporarily filled by a relieving teacher.

The philosophy guiding teaching and learning highlights a strong commitment to the Montessori approach. It emphasises the importance of building strong relationships between staff, parents and children, being sensitive and responsive to different cultures, and providing an environment that fosters independent, self-directed learning. It also expresses a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.

The previous ERO report findings concurred with the owner's decision that the centre self-review process required strengthening. Progress is evident.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

Practice reflects the values outlined in the centre's philosophy statement.

The environment is rich and well resourced to support a wide range of children's interests and Montessori learning areas. The consistently calm tone is conducive to sustained engagement in learning. Visitors, trips, celebrations and specialist afternoons of music, drama and sports add an exciting dimension. Children are motivated, confident and happy learners.

Teachers are responsive, respectful and consistently engaged with children in their learning. They use a range of effective strategies to support their participation, focus their thinking and extend their understanding and ideas. Expectations for behaviour are understood and consistently reinforced. Children are well supported to be independent, self-managing and self-directed learners. They are seen as competent to make decisions and voice their opinions. Many can articulate their goals, progress and successes.

The development of purposeful, supportive relationships with parents and whānau is prioritised. Families' sense of belonging is fostered. Their views are sought and valued to support decisions about operation and programme development. Communication channels are well organised. The centre enjoys high levels of parental participation and support. A strong sense of community is evident.

Children's and families' transitions into the centre are well supported. Parent evenings, meetings for sharing personal information, flexible visiting and dedicated support from key teachers all contribute to a personalised and friendly approach. Children who may require additional learning support are welcomed. Leaders have knowledge of suitable support agencies and strategies.

Processes are in place to ease children's transition to primary school. The lead teacher's participation in a cluster set up specifically to support transition has helped to establish reciprocal relationships with local schools. Comprehensive reports are written about children's backgrounds, learning and progress. These have the potential to support continuity of learning between the centre and schools. The lead teacher plans to continue to develop the centre's approach.

The development of a bicultural perspective is a work in progress. Manaakitanga (hospitality), mahaki (gentleness) and rangimārie (peacefulness) are strongly evident. A centre kakahu (cloak) symbolises the philosophy of the centre and the importance of Māori values, families and whānau. Leaders have professional learning and development (PLD) planned to further strengthen practice and understanding.

The programme effectively integrates the Montessori approach with the principles and outcomes of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers' approach to planning for individual children's learning is collaborative and carefully considered. Families' and children's views are taken into account to identify long-term goals. Parents' aspirations for their children's learning are valued and acted upon. Portfolios record progress through the Montessori materials and in learning linked to interests and ideas. Children enjoy the opportunities to access their portfolios and reflect on their achievements. 

While the team is relatively new, cohesive and collaborative teamwork is evident. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. New staff are supported by a carefully considered induction process. Ongoing reflection on teaching and learning outcomes occurs.

The appraisal process provides good support for teacher development. Teachers set goals to improve their practice and receive focused feedback about their progress. Provision for professional learning and development is generous and appropriately linked to centre and teachers' priorities. A suitable process is in place to support the provisionally registered teacher to meet full registration requirements.

Internal evaluation is valued as a tool to support effective decision making about improvement. The owner has accessed up-to-date resources and, along with senior staff, led a detailed evaluation process that has resulted in improved outcomes for teachers and children. She recognises the need to now broaden the approach to focus on and progress a wider range of priorities over time. Further consideration should also be given to the way quality indicators are identified, to ensure they are sufficiently defined, measureable and linked to best practice.

The centre is effectively governed and managed. Strategic direction is established and supported by goals linked to teaching, learning and operation. A good range of up-to-date operational guidelines is in place to support understanding of management's expectations and legislative requirements for early learning services. A strong focus on continuing improvement is evident.

Key Next Steps

ERO and leaders agree that areas for continued development are strengthening the bicultural perspective in the programme and broadening the scope of planned internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Montessori Childrens House - Wellington 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 Childrens House - Wellington will be in four years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

23 June 2017 

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

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

60354

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children aged over 2

Service roll

28

Gender composition

Boys 16, Girls 12

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Other ethnic groups

2
10
2
14

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

 

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

23 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

December 2012

Education Review

December 2007

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.