Nova Montessori Children's House - 24/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Nova Montessori Children's House

How well placed is Nova Montessori Children's House to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Nova Montessori Children’s House is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Nova Montessori Children’s House is part of the collective school experience with both the Children’s House and the school sharing the same site. Nearly all of the children at the Children’s House continue their education at the Nova Montessori School.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the focus for the trustees has been on continuing to provide children and their families with a settled learning environment in the face of the significant ongoing impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes.

The trust has recently purchased the land and the buildings, on the current site, to provide greater security and sustainability for the Nova Montessori Children’s House and the school.

Children, families and teachers represent a diverse range of cultures. This includes two new teachers appointed in 2014. Some children travel considerable distances to attend the Children’s House.

The Montessori philosophy and the principles of Te Whāriki, the Early Childhood Curriculum, are inherent in the curriculum provided for children.

The Review Findings

Leaders and teachers warmly welcome children and families each day as they greet them at the gate. This enables regular communication with each family and fosters positive relationships.  

The Montessori philosophy is well embedded in the programme. There is a strong focus on promoting children’s independence, self-management and mastery of new skills. This is supported by:

  • high quality Montessori resourcing and learning activities
  • well prepared and considered presentation of the environments 
  • long periods of uninterrupted, focused, learning time
  • opportunities to revisit and practice new learning. 

Teachers model the philosophy of care and respect for one another and for children. They work with children in calm and unhurried ways.

Leaders and teachers value observations as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of children’s learning needs and informing individual planning and assessment. They provide a deliberate approach to building children’s critical thinking skills and knowledge base, including developing and extending children's oral language and vocabulary.

Other positive features of the programme include many opportunities for children to:

  • have good exposure to mathematical thinking, early literacy and scientific exploration
  • learn about the natural world and sustainable practices
  • share learning with one another and develop friendships.

Excursions into the wider community and visiting speakers, invited into the school, enhance the curriculum offered to children.  

Leaders and teachers value parent voice and have developed useful ways to involve parents more in the planning of their children’s learning.

Children benefit from a supportive and individualised approach to transition into the Children’s House and onto school. Effective practices that promote children's confidence and sense of belonging as they transition include:

  • the sharing of information about the child between teachers and parents
  • continuity of resources and programmes, and continuation of a familiar curriculum
  • providing regular opportunities for older children to be involved with teachers and children at the school
  • the close proximity of Children's House and the school along with a co-leadership model enables high quality seamless transition to school.

The Nova Montessori Children's House is well led and managed by a strong, stable leadership team. Detailed, indepth self review, reflects leaders' deep understanding of Montessori pedagogy.

Key Next Steps

School leaders and ERO agree that the key next steps are to:

  • develop strategic and annual planning that includes a greater emphasis on the curriculum and the evaluation of teaching and outcomes for children
  • review and develop appraisal systems and processes in keeping with the Education Council requirements
  • strengthen evaluative self-review processes 
  • increase the clarity and use of Māori concepts and language in key documentation and practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Nova Montessori Children's House 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 Nova Montessori Children's House will be in three years. 

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

24 May 2016 

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

30 children, two years and over

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 12; Girls 7

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

February 2016

Date of this report

24 May 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

December 2012

Education Review

March 2009

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.