New Plymouth Montessori Association - 15/07/2015

1 Evaluation of New Plymouth Montessori Association

How well placed is New Plymouth Montessori Association 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.


The New Plymouth Montessori Association is a community-based early childhood centre in suburban New Plymouth. A parent-led management council is responsible for governance of the service and is supported by the experienced principal and office administrator.

The centre provides education and care for up to 100 children from two and a half to six years of age. Of the 96 children enrolled, 23 are Māori and two are Samoan. Programmes for children are underpinned by the Montessori philosophy and Te Whāriki, New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum.

At the time of the August 2011 ERO review, this facility was one of two licensed centres on the site. It is now amalgamated to one service.

The previous report identified linking appraisal to the Registered Teacher Criteria and continuing to build teachers’ capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori as areas for further review and development.

Many aspects of good performance continue to be strengths of the service. The newly launched Montessori Journey to Excellence indicators have the potential to support and enhance self review and evaluation. Teachers have made changes to programmes to promote increased consistency of practice between classrooms and the indoor and outdoor environment.

Ten teachers have an early childhood qualification and six have full registration. Three have provisional registration. One educator is in her second year of training towards an early childhood qualification. Several staff have a Montessori qualification or teaching and educational experiences that support and enhance their teaching in the early childhood centre.

The Review Findings

At the New Plymouth Montessori Association early childhood centre, values, beliefs and teaching practices supporting the Montessori philosophy are well embedded. There is a commitment to uphold shared understandings, visible through professional learning and development support. Montessori foundations give priority to ‘Intellect, grace and courtesy and independence’ in the curriculum. This focus is evident through confident, welcoming, positive interactions between adults, children and their peers.

Teachers view each family’s knowledge of their child as an important contribution to the centre’s learning community. Parents have opportunities to be involved in their child’s learning. Those spoken with by ERO say they feel welcome. They experience high levels of care and respect from staff, who value their suggestions and ideas.

Children enthusiastically engage in a curriculum that supports investigation and exploration. Teachers provide a range of activities and events that follows children’s interests and adult-initiated ideas. Children are confident and play cooperatively. They learn in an atmosphere that is calm and peaceful.

Opportunities for children to develop literacy and mathematics knowledge are provided in appropriate and authentic ways. Purposeful activities support children’s growing understanding of mathematics including estimating, predicting, visualising and imagining. Number is evident throughout the environment.

Teachers establish a culture in which children are valued and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning. Adults talk with children in ways that challenge their thinking. They increasingly include children in planning and setting up the learning environment, particularly in the outdoor classroom.

A developing part of programme planning is the collection and sharing of useful assessment data with families through ePortfolios. This approach has potential to further encourage parents' contributions and extend children’s learning. Partnership with families is enhanced through information and communication technologies.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are increasingly incorporated into the programme. Teachers show willingness to enact teaching that reflects and responds to Māori learners. An inclusive culture with acknowledgement of and respect for all ethnic groups is evident.

Children’s sense of belonging is nurtured when settling into the centre and moving on to school. Teachers support parents to settle children according to their needs.

Review of the teachers’ appraisal system has occurred. Staff are highly reflective and keep extensive evidence to show their meeting of the Registered Teacher Criteria. This is supported by observations of teaching practice that are useful and enhance professional growth. The principal’s appraisal is not current. Management should address this and consider aligning her appraisal to the teachers’ process as part of updating the guidelines.

The council members bring a range of skills and viewpoints to their roles. They are well informed by the principal. Strategic planning provides clear guidance for teaching, learning and centre operations. Self-review processes continue to evolve. Systematic evidence-based self review should strengthen current decision-making processes and support meeting the objectives in the strategic plan.

Key Next Steps

The principal and teachers should continue to:

  • develop and improve understandings of self review and evaluation
  • build their capability to be responsive to Māori children’s culture, language and identity. This development should include establishing relationships with mana whenua and making further use of Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of New Plymouth Montessori Association 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 New Plymouth Montessori Association will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

16 July 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 53,

Boys 43

Ethnic composition






Latin/South American

Other American








Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

16 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2011


Education Review

February 2008


Education Review

August 2004

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.