Montessori Courtyard Preschool - 28/08/2019

1 Evaluation of Montessori Courtyard Preschool

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Montessori Courtyard Preschool 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 full-day education service, with an elected board of trustees. The Preschool is open five days a week with two sessions per day. It is licensed for 70 children aged two years to school age, who learn in a mixed-aged setting. The centre has stable staffing and recently appointed an assistant manager. All teachers are fully qualified early childhood educators and most have an additional Montessori qualification.

The centre's philosophy and practices, underpinned by Te Whāriki (2017), the Early Childhood Curriculum, support each child’s learning and development. The Montessori philosophy has a strong emphasis on providing a peaceful and orderly environment where children learn to work and play independently. This is supported using Montessori materials, methods and practices.

The centre has recently undergone significant redevelopment to provide an additional, purpose-built classroom to accommodate the two to three-year-old children.

The centre belongs to the Mana Raupo Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and engaged in all aspects of their play and learn in a family-like atmosphere. Responsive and respectful relationships between adults and with children strongly contribute to children's wellbeing and learning. Teachers know the children very well as individuals and as learners. They support children to explore deeper meaning in their investigations.

Since the 2016 ERO report, the centre has made good progress towards developing culturally responsive practice. Te reo and tikanga Māori are valued and integrated into all aspects of teaching programmes and celebrations. Children show a strong sense of belonging and of being confident and capable learners.

Parents are actively engaged in regular and positive interactions with teachers. A range of communication tools are used to ensure parents are kept well informed about their child's day and learning. Parents are regularly invited to contribute to the ongoing development of the centre. A newly created pastoral role for one teacher in each classroom provides additional support for whānau Māori and for parents who are second language learners. A wide range of activities enhance community connections, support parent education in the Montessori philosophy and celebrate significant cultural events.

Children benefit from a rich, well-planned and authentic curriculum. Their ideas about their learning are valued and connections between centre learning and home life are made. The centre is very well resourced with specialised Montessori equipment. The outdoor area provides physical challenge and rich opportunities for sensory and experiential learning. Teachers deliver the curriculum with knowledge and passion, providing intellectual challenge to children of all ages.

Assessment and planning practices effectively support children's learning. Parents' voice and views are actively sought and acted upon in relation to child development and learning. Individual learning stories carefully describe significant progress for children over time and how teachers have supported this. Group planning results in thoughtful resourcing and experiences to support teaching and learning. A strong focus on dispositional learning and ongoing observations of each child support consistent and effective tracking of children’s progress. Aspects of internal evaluation and strategic planning should be strengthened by identifying the centre's learning priorities and strategies required to support intended learning.

Teachers and leaders are very well supported professionally. They are alert and responsive to children's physical and emotional wellbeing and plan collectively to meet the needs of children. This has helped build a reflective and improvement focused teaching team. Factors contributing to this are relevant professional learning, full Montessori training for teachers, a meaningful appraisal process, and a developing focus on culturally responsive practice.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers should continue to develop strategic planning and internal evaluation so that they can:

  • articulate the valued outcomes of teaching and learning for children

  • define the indicators of success to meet these valued outcomes to know how to support innovation and improvement in curriculum implementation, teaching and learning

  • monitor and measure progress towards outcomes.

Leaders and teachers should continue to further develop culturally responsive practice to:

  • know how effective teachers and leaders are in supporting Māori children to succeed as Māori
  • know the story of the centre as a cultural narrative in order to support a sense of belonging.

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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

28 August 2019

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

70 children over two years of age

Service roll

62

Gender composition

Girls 33, Boys 29

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities

4
32
26

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

2- 3 years

1:6

Better than minimum requirements

Over 3

1:9

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

28 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

January 2013

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.