Puddleducks' Montessori Preschool - 30/08/2018

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 one of three privately owned centres operating under Aspiring Services Ltd. The service is situated in Kelvin Grove, Palmerston North. It is licensed to provide all day education and care, five days a week for 50 children aged from two to six years of age.

A board of directors and an advisory board undertake the governance role. In June 2017 significant changes were made at the governance and management level at the Aspiring Service's centres. A managing director and educational leader have responsibility for overseeing strategic operation and professional practice in all three centres. Each centre has a professional leader and team leaders.

In this service, the centre leader is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the service. She is Montessori trained and provides teachers with professional learning opportunities to grow their knowledge of the Montessori method of teaching and learning. Most teachers are qualified.

The physical learning environment is organised into two separate rooms that support a mixed-aged group setting. Each room has its own teaching team and team leader. Children have opportunities to mix with each other in a shared outdoor space.

At the time of this ERO evaluation, an internal evaluation of the service philosophy is underway. This is a collaborative exercise involving staff, families and whānau.

This review was part of a cluster of three reviews of Aspiring Services Ltd.

The Review Findings

Children's learning and holistic development is encouraged through a range of planned and spontaneous learning experiences. The Montessori programme and desired outcomes for children align well with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers are building collective curriculum knowledge through their internal evaluation.

A positive tone and inclusive practice permeates the service. The youngest children attending are nurtured within a culture of care by attentive key caregivers. Practice for transitioning children into, between and from the centre's learning spaces is flexible and responsive to each child's and family's needs. Children identified with additional learning needs are well catered for.

Teachers know children's interests, preferences and needs well. Assessment practice enables teachers to deliberately promote and progress children's learning. Policies and procedures to guide effective teaching have not been reviewed for some time. Although there are strategies in place to support teachers to achieve a consistent standard of assessment practice, quality is variable.

Effective strategies are in place to involve parents and whānau in their children's education. They regularly receive information about their children's learning and development and can actively engage in the life of the centre.

A strategic aim to build capacity and teachers' capability to provide a culturally responsive curriculum is supported through internal professional development and learning. Te ao Māori is an integral part of all children's daily experiences. Each child's culture, language and identity are celebrated and affirmed.

Systems and processes related to governance and management have not been rigorously implemented. Management and governance are beginning to address this through the recent appointment of a managing director and operations manager.

Managers and leaders continue to build their knowledge to lead effective internal evaluation and support teachers' ongoing professional growth. Leaders and teachers are highly reflective practitioners who work collaboratively to continually improve teaching practice and learning outcomes for children. There are examples, across the Aspiring Services centres, where planned internal evaluation and appraisal practice is very well led. Managers and leaders need to identify these pockets of good practice, determine the processes and practices that are working well and support all teams and teachers, across the three services, to achieve a consistently high standard of practice.

Key Next Steps

Governors, managers and leaders need to improve strategic and annual planning to be assured of the effective operation of the service; that internal evaluation for improvement and accountability is well understood; and that policies and procedures are rigorously implemented.

Priorities for development are in:

  • further developing documents to guide curriculum implementation and teaching practice, with a deliberate focus on outcomes for children

  • building managers', leaders' and teachers' capability through consistent rigorous appraisal practice responsive to the needs and goals of individuals

  • continuing to build effective internal evaluation and consistency of practice across all the Aspiring Services.

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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

30 August 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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 24, Girls 22

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

30 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2014

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.