Nelson Montessori - 26/02/2015

1 Evaluation of Nelson Montessori

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Nelson Montessori is one of three privately owned Montessori preschools. The owner and educators have specialist training and an in-depth understanding of Montessori principles and practices. The Montessori philosophy is strongly evident in all aspects of the curriculum.

The preschool has two separate classrooms and an outdoor education programme. All children attend a minimum of five mornings each week, with some children also attending the afternoon sessions. Children and families from a diverse range of cultures attend the preschool. The blend of older and younger children learning together fosters a sense of family and community.

The preschool owner and educators have made good progress since the December 2011 ERO review. This includes improving assessment practices and introducing an online communication system to help strengthen the involvement of parents and whānau in children’s learning. Educators are active participants in a national pilot project on self review which is strengthening self-review practices.

This review was part of a cluster of three reviews in the Montessori Preschools' service.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from the wide range of opportunities for learning that are promoted through a good blend of the Montessori philosophy and Te Whāriki , the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum. This includes:

  • attractive, purposefully prepared environments
  • provision of good-quality Montessori resources and equipment
  • well-integrated literacy and mathematical learning experiences.

Children have increasing opportunities to learn about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa and Te Ao Māori, particularly in the outside environment. There is a strong focus on environmental education. Children are well supported to learn about sustainable practices and caring for the natural world. Educators make good use of the local community to widen children’s learning experiences.

Some educators are becoming skilled at integrating the culture, language and identity of children in the programme and in individual stories about the child as a learner. This practice now needs to be strengthened across the team.

Educators work with children in calm and unhurried ways. Teaching practices are based on careful and ongoing observations of the child. Educators make the most of teachable moments and encourage children to be independent, creative thinkers and successful learners. Educators model care and respect for children and support them in developing positive relationships with others.

The teaching team is highly reflective. Shared understandings of the role of the educator in a Montessori setting is supported by regular professional discussions. Involvement in professional development has helped educators use self review to promote ongoing improvements more successfully. The views of parents are valued and well used.

The owner provides suitable support for the efficient management and operation of the service. Recent developments in strategic and annual planning have helped clarify the service’s priorities and associated goals towards achieving its vision. The owner and educators are strongly focused on providing positive outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The owner and educators have identified, and ERO agrees, that some aspects of self review could be further refined and strengthened, particularly in regard to evaluating learning outcomes.

Teachers are in a good position to build on relationships with local schools to form stronger professional partnerships that promote a shared knowledge of the child as a learner and support transition planning.

The key next step for the managers is to consider ways that children could have better access to the outside environment.

Since the onsite stage of the review, the manager has begun to provide ways that educators from all three preschools can more regularly share strengths and build on best practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer-Southern

26 February 2015

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


Atawhai, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children aged two years and over

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 24

Boys 23

Ethnic composition



Other Ethnicities




Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

26 February 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

December 2011


Education Review

November 2008


Education Review

October 2005

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.