Puddleducks' Montessori Preschool - 07/10/2014

1 Evaluation of Puddleducks' Montessori Preschool

How well placed is Puddleducks' 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.


Puddleducks’ Montessori Preschool is privately owned and operates under the umbrella of Aspiring Services Ltd. The centre provides a Montessori programme of education and care within the framework of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. The service caters for children from two and a half to six years of age and their whānau, from across the Manawatu region.

The philosophy is underpinned by a discovery model, where children learn concepts from working with materials rather than by direct instruction. Specialised Montessori educational equipment, supplemented by other resources, is used by children.

Teachers are qualified and registered. The lead teacher is responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre. Management is supportive and provides teachers with opportunities to participate in appropriate professional learning and development opportunities.

Since the October 2011 ERO report a professional leader has been appointed to provide support and guidance to the team. Many of the team have been in their roles for some time.

Puddleducks’ Montessori Preschool has a good reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy frequent opportunities to explore their own interests within a well-considered curriculum. They are highly engaged in learning, both independently and alongside others.

Adults acknowledge the child as being competent and capable of complex learning. Responsive and attentive teachers support children’s physical and emotional development in beautiful surroundings. The atmosphere in classrooms is calm and harmonious.

Teachers use deliberate strategies to encourage and extend children’s language and thinking. They foster self-discovery and independence. Children are well supported to become confident in early reading, writing, mathematics and science learning through purposeful interactions with teachers and thoughtfully presented resources.

Successful transitions to school are assisted by effective partnerships between families, centre and school. The centre belongs to a network of local early childhood and primary school practitioners to further support children’s favourable transition to school.

Teachers comprehensively assess the progress of children through the Montessori curriculum. They keep ongoing observational records of children’s mastery and learning behaviours, introducing new concepts and skills when children are ready. Teachers capture significant moments through stories. They analyse learning and identify future pathways for individuals.

Assessment material is contained in attractive profiles. These books are shared with children and families who have opportunities to contribute. Portfolios provide for continuity of learning and a greater understanding of the child as a learner.

Biculturalism is highly valued. The lead teacher actively supports her team to develop culturally responsive practice. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are successfully interwoven throughout the curriculum.

Teachers consult with whānau about aspirations for their child and what success might look like for Māori children attending the centre. Leaders and teachers acknowledge they still have work to do in this area.

Leaders are strongly committed to the service’s philosophy, vision and goals. They provide staff with clear, written feedback and feed forward to guide curriculum, assessment, teaching practice and self review.

Recent changes have led to a professional growth and development model to build teacher capability. This new initiative is also linked to the centre strategic plan. A specific approach to appraising the head teacher is planned to extend her leadership capability.

Teachers are guided by managers and leaders to research and share their inquiries about teaching and learning with each other. This practice is aligned to their interests and strengths. It is agreed that further development to this should include support for teachers to set goals that are more closely linked to improvements that strengthen outcomes for teaching and learning.

Managers are aware of the importance of supporting leaders new to their role to promote improvements to teaching and learning. A new operations manager provides enhanced support for leaders and has an appropriate focus on building capability in leading teaching and learning.

Continuing to build leadership practice should help promote sustainable outcomes and embed desired practices. ERO affirms this direction.

Reviews reflect on aspects of the programme contributing to ongoing improvements and change.

Key Next Steps

Management and ERO agree that the next steps to improve the quality of teaching and learning are to further strengthen:

  • the evaluative inquiry aspect of self review
  • teaching as inquiry and the professional growth and development model to support teachers’ improved practice
  • the appraisal of the lead teacher using a leadership as inquiry model
  • a culturally responsive curriculum through using Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017
  • the use ofTātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to explore how the competencies might further inform appraisal and attestation against the New Zealand Teachers Council Registered Teacher Criteria.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Puddleducks' 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 Puddleducks' Montessori Preschool will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

7 October 2014

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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23

Girls 19

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

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

August 2014

Date of this report

7 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2011


Education Review

April 2008

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.