Otaki Montessori Preschool - 27/11/2015

1 Evaluation of Otaki Montessori Preschool

Otaki Montessori Preschool How well placed isto 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 a sessional centre licensed to provide education and care for up to 48 children from two to six years of age. The centre is located within a semi-rural, spacious community amenities complex. A current focus on strengthening community partnerships is evident.

The centre is governed as an incorporated society by an elected parent committee. Since the March 2013 ERO report a review of governance and management structures, and internal promotions, have led to a new principal and head teacher being appointed. Two part-time employees provide administration and financial support for the parent committee and centre staff.

The curriculum and philosophy are underpinned by the principles of the Montessori approach and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The mission statement of 'help me do it by myself' is evident in teaching and children’s learning.

Parents and leaders have identified the need to further develop and modernise the outdoor environment. This initiative should better support the development of children’s creativity exploration, physical skills and confidence. Plans are being developed for these changes.

The Review Findings

Centre leaders and staff have responded well to ERO's previous report recommendations to further develop programmes and extend teaching practices. Improvements in assessment processes, culturally responsive programmes and systems for managing transitions have benefitted children. Self review has been used effectively to bring about improvements in programmes and outcomes for children.

Children experience caring and respectful interactions. They are settled and demonstrate confidence in their environment, learning and routines. They cooperate well with each other as they learn. Children display high levels of engagement and purposeful sustained learning.

Child-led learning based on their interests, combined with Montessori values and materials underpin teaching and learning programmes for all children. The prepared environment and resources support a focus on literacy and mathematics and build skills in practical life, arts and science. Targeted literacy support for small groups of children accelerates their language learning.

Teachers foster communications with families through daily welcoming of children. Conversations with parents provide a range of avenues for extending learning partnerships with parents. As a result, teachers know children well and increasingly focus on noticing, recognising and responding to their interests. Partnerships with families and whānau have been strengthened through review surveys and sharing information about children’s learning.

The centre leaders have improved systems and procedures for identifying, monitoring and promoting children’s learning. Individual education plans effectively track and monitor children’s progress across the seven curriculum areas. Parents contribute to portfolios to support and extend their children’s learning. Team discussions and ongoing evaluative review should continue to support the strengthening of assessment practices.

Teachers are responsive to the interests, languages, cultures and identities of all children. Te ao Māori ways of knowing, being and doing are promoted and planned for across the centre. Children have increasing opportunities to participate in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. This has been supported by teachers’ study to extend their knowledge of te reo Māori and increased participation of whānau in centre events, cultural celebrations and programmes.

Targeted professional learning and development opportunities and appraisal processes help teachers to build their capability. Further development of goal setting, inquiry and evaluative feedback from leaders should improve support for leaders’ and teachers’ ongoing development.

Well researched and considered transition programmes help develop children’s confidence and wellbeing as they move into, through and out of the centre. A special programme for children over two years appropriately caters for their introduction to Montessori philosophy and learning practices.

The recently appointed principal and head teacher are consolidating their leadership roles and responsibilities. They continue to develop a culture of reflection and review and are focused on improvement. Further leadership development support should assist leaders in their roles.

New structures and systems of accountability and responsibility provide a stronger governance framework. Recently revised guidelines and expectations provide support for governance processes and decision making. Improved administrative systems, processes and accountabilities enable the parent representatives to be better informed. Further development of strategic planning goals and priorities is needed for more specific reference to defined and expected outcomes for children, including when and how these will be achieved.

Policy review processes are in place. ERO affirms the identified need to review and develop personnel policies including a specific policy for performance appraisal of all staff.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders acknowledge that continued development and strengthening of processes and practices is required, including:

  • strategic planning
  • appraisal policy and guidelines
  • goal setting
  • evaluative inquiry and self review.

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.

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.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

27 November 2015

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

48 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 20, Boys 19

Ethnic composition

Māori 9
Pākehā 19
Asian 7
Pacific 2
Other ethnic groups 2

Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children


Over 2

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

27 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2013

Education Review December 2009

Education Review September 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.