Ōrākei Montessori Pre-School - 22/01/2015

1 Evaluation of Kowhai Montessori Pre-School

How well placed is Kowhai Montessori Pre-School to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Centre managers would benefit from external support to improve the quality of governance, management and self review.

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


Kowhai Montessori Preschool, in Orakei, Auckland, is a privately owned early childhood centre for children from two years to school age. Children are catered for in two separate rooms, one for 2-3 year olds, and another for the 3-6 year olds.

Head teachers and staff work collaboratively and respectfully with parents and children. The head teacher of the 3-6 year olds has recently been appointed and two staff have recently returned to the centre. The manager/owner has operated the centre for the past 16 years.

The service’s programme aims to combine the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and the Montessori philosophy.

Since the 2011 ERO review teachers have increased their understanding of self review and are becoming more capable at using self review to make positive changes. The centre has yet to adopt a long-term plan to guide its future direction.

Over the past three years the preschool has addressed some areas identified as needing improvement in 2011. However, further work is needed to improve aspects of centre management, strategic planning, self review and personnel practices.

The Review Findings

Children play happily together and have positive relationships with their teachers. They are trusted to make their own choices about their play and show high levels of confidence and independence. Older children are considerate of the younger children around them. Children confidently access materials and have the freedom to select what they want to do from a well displayed variety of resources. A friendly tone is felt throughout the centre.

Teachers are caring and sensitive to the needs of individual children. They know their children and families well and use good care routines. Teachers interact respectfully with children and often engage them in meaningful conversations. They could develop questioning techniques to extend children’s thinking.

The indoors programmes in both rooms are strongly influenced by Montessori. Teachers are beginning to respond more to children’s emerging interests to inform their programme planning. Teachers include science, literacy and numeracy in meaningful ways as children play.

Children from both rooms share the outside area. Teachers should use this time for quality engagement and timely interventions with children. Teachers recognise the importance of children learning through play and a review of the outdoor programme would help improve this important part of the day.

Teachers have good links and commitment with Māori children and their whānau. Children are becoming familiar with te reo and tikanga Māori. Teachers, guided by a parent, are growing their relationship with the local marae, and are responding well to Māori parents’ aspirations for their children.

Good processes are in place to document individual children’s learning progress. Teachers develop children’s individual assessment portfolios that are attractive records of children’s learning. They contain good information for parents about children’s care and involvement in the programme. Children’s learning is particularly well explained with regard to the Montessori philosophy.

Parents appreciate the structured approach to their children’s day. They express a high level of satisfaction with the education and care provided for their children. They appreciate opportunities to discuss their children’s learning with their children’s teachers.

Teachers have reviewed the centre philosophy. They have reflected on how the philosophy aligns with their own practice and current education theory and research. Staff have initiated reviews and changes to improve the programme. These initiatives are at their beginning stages and have yet to be fully implemented.

Key Next Steps

ERO identified the following priorities for the centre’s ongoing development:

  • develop a strategic long term plan to guide the future direction and operation of the centre
  • develop an effective performance appraisal system that provides teachers with ongoing support and professional development
  • strengthen professional leadership to better support teachers and sustain centre improvements
  • continue to support teachers to develop a curriculum that responds to children’s interests and encourages children to engage in more complex and challenging learning
  • support teachers to deepen their understanding and use of self review
  • ensure that the centre maintains the Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kowhai Montessori Pre-School 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to the governance, management and administration standard. To meet requirements the service needs to establish a schedule showing timelines for the planned self-review of different areas of operation that includes the regular review of policies.

Centre management must also ensure that:

  • an effective appraisal system is implemented
  • the person responsible for teacher appraisal holds a current teacher registration certificate
  • a policy for selection and appointment procedures is documented
  • policies are regularly updated, centre specific and meet mandatory requirements
  • police vetting policies and procedures are documented and implemented and that all non-registered staff are regularly police vetted

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6, GMA7.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and 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 Kowhai Montessori Pre-School will be within two years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 January 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


Orakei, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 27

Girls 19

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





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

October 2014

Date of this report

22 January 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2011


Education Review

June 2008


Supplementary Review

May 2006

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.