Portland House Montessori Preschool (3) - 24/05/2013

1. Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Portland House Montessori Pre-School 111 is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children through effective leadership, curriculum, and teaching practices.


Portland House Montessori Pre-School 111 provides sessional and full-day education and care for up to 50 children from three to six years of age. The premises are organised into two separate rooms. The morning programme is delivered in both rooms to children of mixed ages. In the afternoon, the rooms cater for the needs of different age groups, with older children having a pre-primary programme.

Portland House Montessori Pre-School 111 is a privately owned centre. The centre operates in conjunction with Portland House Montessori Pre-School 1, which caters for children from two to three years old. The same administrative and management systems serve the two centres.

The owner has recently taken on the manager role. She is working with external specialists to upgrade centre management systems. Team leaders oversee the day-to-day operations and leadership of each room. The centre has a well established teaching team who have built good working relationships with each other.

The centre’s philosophy is strongly underpinned by the Montessori approach to early learning. It promotes New Zealand’s bi-cultural heritage, and values the different cultures of all families belonging to the centre.

The 2010 ERO report noted that children were settled and engaged well in the programme. These characteristics continue to be evident. The report recommended some developments to programme planning and self-review practices. Centre managers have responded positively to these recommendations.

Review Findings

The centre’s philosophy is very evident in teaching practices and the learning environment.

A settled tone protects children’s concentration. Children benefit from very attentive and caring teaching practices. Routines are consistently implemented giving children a sense of security in being able to predict what will happen next. Teachers work together to take responsibility for the education and care of children with special learning needs to ensure that they take part fully in the programme alongside their peers.

The Montessori curriculum is well implemented. The programme allows each child to learn through their own choice of the Montessori materials. Teachers sit with children individually, showing them how to do things, then allowing them to discover for themselves. Children work independently for extended periods of time. Parents are well informed of their child’s participation and progress in the Montessori work programme.

The Montessori programme is supplemented through other learning opportunities for children. These opportunities include:

  • a daily perceptual motor programme to develop physical skills and co-ordination
  • exploration of the creative arts
  • opportunities to follow children’s interests in science, especially in the living world.

ERO agrees with the centre manager’s intention to encourage teachers to continue to develop a spontaneous child-centred curriculum to support aspects of the Montessori programme.

Teachers confidently take responsibility for reflecting New Zealand’s bicultural heritage in the programme through regular waiata, poi action songs and the use of te reo Māori. Children are responsive to this learning, which extends their thinking and fosters new understandings.

Many children are speakers of other languages and teachers are continuing to develop centre programmes to support children's English language acquisition. Teachers modelling good language patterns, allowing children time to initiate conversation and time to respond, and opportunities to talk to other children, should continue to be a priority for the centre.

Since the 2010 ERO report, the centre has introduced a daily afternoon free play period and ‘free play Fridays'. These are opportunities for children to follow their emerging interests. Teachers report these times are providing valuable information for them about what the child brings to their learning. These times are also valuable for children to practise their language development.

Team leaders provide effective leadership. They confidently take responsibility for the day-to-day coordination of the classroom programmes. Emergent leadership among teachers is beginning to be encouraged. Teachers value the opportunity they have to participate in centre decisions, including the programme for children. Teachers are supported to build on and extend their practice through regular professional learning opportunities.

Since the owner has formally taken on the centre manager role, she has sought external support to bring cohesion to management practices. Effective systems are being established to ensure the service has up to date policies and procedures that are useful and underpin good practices. The centre has a reflective culture and spontaneous and regular self-review systems are in place to support ongoing improvements.

Key Next Steps

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

  • implement appraisal practices that help staff maintain a focus on high quality outcomes for children
  • prepare to meet relicensing requirements under the 2008 Early Childhood Regulations, including obtaining a current building warrant of fitness
  • use strategic self review focused on key goals related to the centre’s vision and annual plan
  • be deliberate and strategic about how teachers are going to continue to support children’s English language development within the programme.

2. Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Portland House Montessori Pre-School III 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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.

3. Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

24 May 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service


Ellerslie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26 Boys 20

Ethnic composition




NZ European/Pākehā













Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable

Choose an item.


Over 2


Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

24 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review Education Review Education Review

September 2010 June 2007 June 2004

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.


Individual ERO school and early childhood service reports are public information and may be copied or sent electronically. However, the Education Review Office can guarantee only the authenticity of original documents which have been obtained in hard copy directly from either the local ERO office or ERO National Office in Wellington.