Montessori Courtyard Preschool - 24/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Montessori Courtyard Preschool

Montessori Courtyard Preschool How well placed isto promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Montessori Courtyard is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

Montessori Courtyard Preschool is a not-for-profit community-based centre that provides education for children from two and a half to six years of age. It is located in an old homestead with spacious, well-maintained grounds. Children learn in mixed-age groups in two classrooms, including a purpose built classroom.

The management of the centre is led by a principal and it has an elected board of parent members responsible for governance. All teachers are Montessori trained.

The preschool's Montessori philosophy promotes the holistic development of each child with a strong focus on children making choices and building self-managing skills. Most families who choose to enrol their children at the centre do so for their entire early childhood education.

The preschool responded positively to the recommendations in the January 2013 ERO report. This included supporting children to understand and contribute to the decisions made about their learning and an increased bicultural focus in the programme.

The Review Findings

Relationships and interactions between children and with adults are positive and caring. The mixed age range promotes opportunities for older children to be role models and support younger learners. There is strong focus on children’s and families' wellbeing and pastoral care. Teachers, leaders and board members work collaboratively to ensure ongoing positive outcomes for children.

Spacious classrooms provide plenty of individual and group spaces for children to work on well-planned Montessori learning activities. Children have suitable, authentic resources to support the philosophy and extend their learning. Teachers have well-defined roles and responsibilities to support children’s learning.

The outdoor environment provides children with a range of interesting resources and equipment that support and extend children's physical, emotional learning and wellbeing. Children have defined time slots to learn and play.

Children have a broad range of learning experiences. Teacher practices, the programme and environment strongly reflects the Montessori philosophy in action. Children self select tasks from a range of learning activities that are accessible and well presented. Parents and local speakers visit the centre, parents' skills and knowledge are shared, and children go on regular excursions.

Parents receive useful information about the learning progress of children. This includes profiles, parent/teacher interviews, written reports and parent days. Parents have good opportunities to contribute to children’s learning by sharing news from home and holidays.

Children's assessment and reports to parents, clearly show children’s interests, learning and progress.

A well planned transition programme prepares children and parents into, and out of centre. The principal and teachers have regular contact with new entrant teachers at the local schools.

A collaborative and reflective culture determines improved outcomes for children. Skilled board members have had a long-term relationship with the preschool. Trustees have clear roles and responsibilities that focus on the governance of the preschool. Parents' voice is regularly sought and valued for policy, programme and strategic planning. The principal's reports presented to the board of trustees are informative and focused on children’s learning.

Key Next Steps

The preschool leaders agreed with the next steps for improving outcomes. These include:

  • developing expectations for ensuring Māori children succeed as Māori
  • identifying how staff can increase outdoor learning time for children
  • strengthening the self-review process by ensuring outcomes are more visible, particularly if they impact on teaching practice and learning
  • ensuring goals in the strategic and annual plan developed by the board, are included in reports and regularly reviewed
  • implementing and embedding the new appraisal system to support teachers to reflect and improve teaching practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

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

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

70475

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

57 children two years and over

Service roll

64

Gender composition

Girls 36; Boys 28

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian

  4
52
  8

Percentage of qualified teachers
0-49%       50-79%       80%
Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:9

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

24 March 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

January 2013

Education Review

July 2009

Education Review

August 2006

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.