Otaki Montessori Preschool - 23/11/2018

1 Evaluation of Otaki Montessori Preschool

How well placed is Otaki Montessori Preschool 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.


Otaki Montessori Preschool is an all-day centre, licensed to provide education and care for up to 45 children from two to six years of age. Fourteen of the children currently enrolled are Māori. The centre is located within a semi-rural, spacious community amenities complex.

The centre is governed as an incorporated society by an elected parent committee.

The curriculum and philosophy are underpinned by the principles of the Montessori approach and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The mission of 'Help me do it by myself' is reflected in the ongoing focus of extending children's self-management skills and encouragement to take responsibility for themselves, others and the environment.

Since the November 2015 ERO report, a new teaching team, including head teacher, have been appointed. In the past 12 months opening hours have been extended and a Montessori toddler programme has been introduced. Older children are in the Tui classroom and younger ones in Kea. Leaders and teachers are developing practices to respond to the changed centre structure.

The Review Findings

Children engage in planned and spontaneous learning experiences. Literacy, numeracy, science and the arts are an integral part of the programme and the Montessori material with which children engage. Regular routines and suitable care encourage a sense of belonging for children.

Respectful relationships and a positive tone support children to be engaged for sustained periods. Children play and learn positively alongside their peers. Opportunities are provided to be creative and expressive. Meal times are an enjoyable social experience for children.

Informative portfolios include narratives of children’s learning and discovery. Direct links are made to the Montessori curriculum and Te Whāriki. Possibilities are identified for future learning and how the teacher and centre resources can contribute to this. Te ao Māori, including ngā kupu Māori, are evident within the programme and physical environment. Teachers plan activities that extend children's cultural confidence and understanding and these contribute to promoting success for Māori learners.

Teachers actively seek and value parent and whānau aspirations and their input into children's learning. The use of an online assessment tool for recording and sharing children’s learning strengthens links between home, extended whānau and the centre. Formal and informal learning conversations provide a positive platform for partnerships to support children’s learning. A centre priority is to strengthen these partnerships.

Children with additional needs are well catered for in an inclusive environment that is responsive to individual needs. Ongoing discussion and collaboration with families and external agencies support children to experience success.

Teachers work collaboratively to support children’s progress. They are reflective practitioners who know children and their preferences well. Teachers are aware of the need to develop further strategies to ensure the structured programme does not limit children's autonomy to choose where and what learning experiences they are able to engage in.

A new process to support teacher appraisal has been introduced. It is based on individual teachers collecting evidence to assist inquiry into their impact on outcomes for children. Evidence is collected to show the Standards for the Teaching Profession are being met. The process should be strengthened by including increased documented feedback on how well teachers are meeting the various expectations that are part of appraisal.

The head teacher is building shared team understanding of a curriculum aligned to Te Whāriki and the Montessori approach. A structured review process contributes to building a range of centre practices. It includes reference to quality indicators to guide improvement and support evaluation of current systems. Changes to better respond to children are made as a result of review. Leaders and teachers should continue to build use of internal evaluation to investigate the effectiveness of current curriculum decision making on children’s engagement and learning.

The annual plan identifies areas for supporting children’s learning moving forward. More regular reporting to the governing parent committee on progress towards the goals identified in the plan, should assist a greater focus on agreed priorities.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree on the following key next steps:

  • in association with the necessary philosophy review planned, the centre should evaluate how effectively the localised curriculum achieves the desired outcomes for children, families and whānau

  • leaders and teachers should develop clear guidelines for assessment and planning that ensures more deliberate and consistent practices to promote children’s development, learning and progress

  • appraisal of teachers and leaders should continue to be developed to ensure it supports teachers to participate in a robust process that contributes to improving learning and wellbeing of children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Otaki Montessori Preschool 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.

Many centre policies and procedures were last reviewed in 2015. To improve practice the centre should implement a cycle of review to ensure alignment with current centre practices, legislation and good practice guidelines.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Otaki Montessori Preschool will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

23 November 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

45 children over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 28, Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


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

September 2018

Date of this report

23 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2015

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

December 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.