Pebbles Montessori - 06/12/2016

1 Evaluation of Pebbles Montessori

How well placed is Pebbles Montessori to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Pebbles Montessori is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

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


Pebbles Montessori is a small, privately-owned centre located in a converted house in Sumner. The centre provides education and care for children from two years to school age with a focus on Montessori approaches. There is a mix of early childhood and Montessori qualified teachers. This is the centre's first ERO review.

This centre is one of three owned and operated by Pebbles Preschool Ltd. A new centre manager was appointed in 2016. The owner and manager work collaboratively together to provide professional leadership to staff across the centres.

This review was part of a cluster of three early childhood centre reviews of Pebbles Preschool Ltd.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and confident in the well-paced learning programme. They experience respectful relationships with each other and their teachers. Children work well together. Older children positively support younger children and share their learning.

Children have many opportunities to make choices about their learning within a thoughtfully prepared Montessori environment. They enjoy a wide range of activities that promote creative thinking, literacy, numeracy and independence skills.

Teachers skilfully guide and extend children's learning. They encourage children’s participation in group experiences. Teachers respond to children's interests and curiosity by helping them to research and discuss their ideas. Children's physical skills and confidence are supported in the well-presented and challenging outdoor area.

Teachers provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for children and families. They know each child well. Teachers caringly support children with additional needs and seek external expertise, as needed.

Transition into the centre is flexible to meet the needs of children and families. Transition to school is well managed. Centre leaders have established positive relationships with local schools to foster successful transition to school.

Parents are kept well informed about their children's learning. Leaders and teachers use effective ways to communicate with parents and to involve them in the centre. They regularly seek parents' views and welcome their contributions.

Leaders work well together. They have introduced a number of new initiatives and developments at governance, leadership and centre levels including, child assessment and programme planning, self-review, strategic planning and appraisal processes. There are clear systems that are guided by up-to-date policies and procedures.

The centre's self-review process is systematic and focused on ongoing improvement. However, self-review findings are likely to provide increasingly useful information if the process is made more evaluative. The appraisal process includes teacher reflections and sharing of effective teaching strategies. To further enhance the quality of teaching, formal observations and written feedback must form part of the appraisal process. The centre's strategic plan and its associated annual plan need further clarification in order to clearly set the future direction for the centre.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers and ERO agree, that the key next steps for sustaining and improving the quality of learning and teaching include:

  • making children's learning the focus of assessment, planning and evaluation for individuals and groups

  • building teachers' capability and further strengthening the visibility of bicultural aspects in key centre documents and teacher practices

  • strengthening and embedding strategic planning, evaluation and appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pebbles Montessori 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 Pebbles Montessori will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu/Southern

6 December 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

31 children over two years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 21; Boys 9

Ethnic composition









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 2016

Date of this report

6 December 2016

Most recent ERO report 

No previous ERO reports


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.