Montessori @ Rimu - 08/12/2017

1 Evaluation of Montessori @ Rimu

How well placed is Montessori @ Rimu to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Requires further development

There is a need to strengthen key aspects of centre governance, assessment and planning practices, and leadership for learning.

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


Montessori @ Rimu is a privately owned full-day education and care service located in the Maeroa suburb of Hamilton City. The centre is licensed for 26 children aged over two years. The roll of 20 includes seven Māori children.

Since the previous ERO review in 2014 there has been a complete change in the teaching team. One teacher undertakes the role of day-to-day management of the centre. She also provides support for the other qualified full-time teacher and the two untrained part-time teachers. The centre owner is a qualified early childhood teacher and visits the centre on a weekly basis to provide governance and leadership support.

The centre’s philosophy is based on the teachings of Maria Montessori and the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The Review Findings

The centre’s curriculum is at an early stage of development. Teachers are continuing to review and develop the curriculum to provide a balance between the principles of Montessori and Te Whāriki. An appropriate range of Montessori equipment is available at the centre. However priority should be given to reviewing the presentation and quality of resources accessible for children. A specialist music teacher visits the centre on a weekly basis and there are many opportunities for children to participate in spontaneous music and dance throughout the week. The programme is enhanced with regular visits and excursions into the local community.

Individual assessments identify children’s learning, and make links to Te Whāriki and the Montessori curriculum. Teachers now need to make better use of this information to inform their planning to support them to enhance children’s learning. There are well considered and responsive transition processes for children when they start at the centre. Children’s exploration and learning would be enhanced by continuing to strengthen the programme and improving the learning environments.

Teachers have developed a culture of care and respect. They have responsive interactions with children. Teachers increasingly empower children to make choices about their play and learning and deliberately implement practices that are inclusive of children with special health requirements. They naturally integrate literacy and mathematics learning into the programme. There has been a recent focus on developing bicultural practices. Teachers are increasingly using te reo Māori in their interactions with children. Bilingual signage is evident in the centre environment. These approaches are supporting Māori children's sense of belonging at the centre. Children enjoy learning and playing in a trusting and warm environment.

Strong partnerships with parents and whānau are a feature of the centre. Regular formal meetings between teachers and parents provide valuable opportunities for the sharing of important information. Curriculum evenings are held to inform parents about key aspects of the centre's programme. There are many opportunities for parents to share their knowledge and expertise with children. Parents appreciate being able to access their children's learning portfolio and share their aspirations with teachers electronically. Positive partnerships support children’s sense of wellbeing and belonging.

Self review is at an early stage of development. Teachers implement useful processes to evaluate aspects of the programme. More in-depth self review is incorporated as part of externally provided professional learning and development programmes. There is a need to regularly review centre policies to ensure that they reflect current legislative requirements.

There is a need to strengthen key aspects of centre governance and professional leadership. Priority should be given to reviewing the current leadership structure to give greater emphasis to leadership for learning within the centre. Strategic planning processes require further development to identify specific areas for ongoing improvement. The centre’s policies need urgent review to ensure they reflect current practice and legislative requirements. The teacher appraisal process requires strengthening to provide teachers with regular and meaningful feedback about the effectiveness of their practices and to meet the requirement of Education Council of New Zealand.

Key Next Steps

Governance and leadership of learning requires strengthening. Priority should be given to:

  • implementing a strategic approach to enhancing the centre's environment including extending the range and quality of resources accessible to children

  • strengthening the teacher appraisal process

  • further developing assessment, planning and evaluation practices

  • review roles and responsibilities for leadership of learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Montessori @ Rimu 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to teacher appraisal, policy development and review and health and safety. The service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • Develop a written child protection policy that meets the requirements of the Vulnerable Children's Act.

  • Ensure a robust teacher appraisal process is implemented to meet the requirements of the Education Council of New Zealand.

  • Regularly review policies to ensure the centre meets current legislative requirements.

[HS30, GMA7,GMA6 Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008]

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Montessori @ Rimu will be within two years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

8 December 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

26 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 14 Boys 6

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

8 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

April 2008

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.