Richmond Montessori Preschool - 08/09/2014

1 Evaluation of Richmond Montessori Preschool

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Richmond Montessori Preschool is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for all children.

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

Background

The preschool philosophy, which is based on the Montessori approach, is strongly evident in the learning programme and teaching practices. The directress (manager) and one other teacher have specialist training and an in-depth understanding of Montessori principles and practices.

Children and families from a diverse range of cultures attend the preschool. This cultural diversity enriches children’s learning.

Many of the positive features noted in the previous ERO report in 2011 have been maintained. There is still scope to make further improvements to several aspects of management practices.

The preschool faces ongoing challenges in promoting roll growth. The preschool has a range of ways to promote the sustainability of the service. For instance, recent changes have been made to centre hours and fees.

The Review Findings

ERO observed teachers activity fostering children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging. Practices that promote this included:

  • providing a calm, predictable and orderly learning environment
  • positive and responsive relationships between teachers and children, and amongst children
  • the extent to which teachers seek to work in partnership with parents
  • the way teachers model care and respect for one another and for children.

Children benefit from the wide range of opportunities for learning that are promoted through a good blend of Montessori and Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum.

The way children have opportunities to explore their interests and are supported to build their capabilities is a feature of the learning programme.

Teachers acknowledge and value the culture, language and identity of children and their families. Aspects of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori are deliberately included in the programme.

Teachers successfully place a strong emphasis on systematically developing children’s learning in literacy and mathematics. This learning is effectively integrated throughout the programme. Teachers make very good use of specialist Montessori-based resources to support teaching and learning.

Field trips into the community and visitors to the preschool, enhance the learning experiences offered to children. Children have many opportunities to learn about the natural world and sustainable practices.

ERO observed teachers using a varied range of effective teaching practices to engage children in learning. These practices included:

  • purposeful interactions, skilful questioning and focused teaching
  • modelling and guiding children in ways that help them to experience success with their learning
  • assessment practices, which often include parent contributions, that help to identify and build on children’s individual strengths and capabilities.

The head directress is strongly committed to the preschool. She has high expectations for teaching practices and learning outcomes for children. The directress effectively promotes the preschool philosophy and collaborative teamwork. Reflective practices are actively encouraged amongst teachers. An ongoing programme of self review incorporates the regular gathering of feedback from parents on the operation of the service and their children’s learning.

Key Next Steps

The preschool is going through challenging times in terms of retaining sufficient enrolments to ensure the ongoing operation of the service. Within this context, some elements of leadership and management could be enhanced to promote ongoing sustainability and improvement. This includes:

  • extending strategic and annual plans to better support the achievement of the preschool priorities, such as marketing and roll growth, and more targeted self review
  • improving the robustness and usefulness of self reviews
  • reviewing and refining the preschools’ appraisal process to better reflect the registered teacher criteria and provide clearer goals for professional growth and development.

Recommendation

ERO recommends that the MOE provide professional support to the Richmond Montessori Preschool to help develop the key next steps.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

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

Location

Richmond, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

65413

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged two years and over

Service roll

24

Gender composition

Boys 14; Girls 10

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Japanese

Other ethnicities

0

18

2

1

3

Percentage of qualified teachers 0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates

50-79%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

8 September 2014

Most recent ERO report 

Education Review

September 2011

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.