New Plymouth Montessori Association - 18/10/2018

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. The centre provides education and care for up to 108 children, from two to six years of age. Of the 83 children enrolled, nine identify as Māori and three are of Pacific heritage. More than one third of the children are bi-lingual or have English as their second language.

The parent-led management council is responsible for governance and is supported by an experienced principal and an established qualified team. Programmes for children are underpinned by the Montessori philosophy and the learning outcomes from Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa Early Childhood Curriculum (2017).

Extensive property development occurred from January 2015 to November 2017.

There have been some gains since the July 2015 ERO report. The bicultural programme has been strengthened. Further development is required in appraisal and internal evaluation practices.

The Review Findings

The service provides a rich Montessori-based programme that celebrates and develops children's interests and dispositions. Educators' commitment to the centre's philosophy is highly evident. They work collaboratively to provide a well-considered programme that supports children to be capable, independent learners.

Children are confident communicators and positively respond to peers and staff. They actively engage in purposeful learning through play and many sustain this for extended periods of time. Children are familiar with routines and expectations.

Children with additional needs are well catered for in an inclusive environment. External support is accessed when necessary. 

The well-resourced indoor and outdoor classrooms provide children with choice and enriching learning opportunities. Montessori materials engage and invite exploration in science, geography, music and art. Literacy and mathematics are interwoven though a range of contexts. Teachers use deliberate strategies to foster oral language. They model positive, respectful relationships.

The outdoor environment provides an authentic context for tamariki to become kaitiaki as guardians of nature, learn about sustainability and make connections to the natural world.

The bicultural curriculum is an area of focus for the centre. Staff have undertaken extensive professional learning and development in te ao Māori.  Strong links have been established with kaumatua from local hapū and iwi. Ongoing advice and guidance has been provided and followed. This has led to the building of Te Whare Aniwaniwa, a whare matauranga, a place of learning. A next step is to continue to strengthen understanding of te ao Māori by children and staff.

Teacher planning is based on careful observations of individual children. Their progress across each of the learning domains is recorded and informs the daily programme. Portfolios include narratives of children’s learning and discovery and links are made to the Montessori curriculum and Te Whāriki (2017). Teachers encourage parents, families and whānau to share aspirations for their child. The use of an on-line assessment tool for recording and sharing children’s learning successfully fosters close links between home, extended whānau and the centre.

There is a well-considered transition process for children moving into and through the centre, and out to school. A strong relationship is evident between the centre and Moturoa School.

Leaders are reflective, share professional learning and promote collaboration. Emergent leadership is encouraged and fostered.

To provide better guidance for leaders and teachers, the curriculum should include an overarching document. This should outline how the programme will be delivered, clearly state expectations of teacher practice and acknowledge the centre's philosophy, whakapapa and unique place in the community.

A new appraisal system is being implemented. Consideration should be given to developing a clearly defined procedure, focused on improving practice and outcomes for children. This should include specific and measureable goals, evaluation of practice, an evidential file and teaching as inquiry.

Internal evaluation continues to require strengthening. Building a deeper, shared understanding of evaluation and employing a useful framework to guide managers, leaders and staff through the process is a key next step.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree on the following key next steps:

  • develop a curriculum document that draws together key expectations of teacher practice, curriculum delivery and the centre's unique context 
  • review and implement a robust appraisal process
  • develop and improve understanding of internal evaluation.

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.

Alan Wynyard
Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

18 October 2018 

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


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

108 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 45, Girls 38

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

18 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2015

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

February 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.