Riverhead Montessori Learning Centre - 28/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Riverhead Montessori Learning Centre

How well placed is Riverhead Montessori Learning Centre 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.


Riverhead Montessori Learning Centre offers a full-day or sessional service for children aged from 18 months to 6 years of age. This established centre has expanded and is now licensed for 49 children, with a maximum of 16 aged under 2 years. A new head teacher has recently been appointed.

The Montessori education philosophy shapes the programme and approach to teaching and learning, underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The children work in two groups, younger children in the Tui room and older children in the Kiwi room. They play together in the outdoor area.

ERO's 2015 report identified positive aspects of practices and several areas for improvement, including supervision in the outdoor area, managing earthquake hazards and personnel management policies. ERO also identified the need to improve strategic planning, internal evaluation and strategies for enhancing children's thinking, and extending learning.

The Review Findings

The Montessori philosophy is highly evident in centre practices. The programme and routines support children's growing independence and self-management skills. Teaching is highly individualised to nurture and guide each child's unique and developing strengths. Sequenced activities scaffold their progressive mastery of knowledge, skills and understanding. Teachers also skilfully promote literacy, mathematics, science and creative learning opportunities.

Teachers are kind and caring, and support each child to work at their own pace. Younger children in the Tui room benefit from teachers' professional development. Teachers' support for their learning and wellbeing includes flexible routines and responsive transition practices. As a result, these children show ownership of their space and explore resources confidently. Teachers respond to key opportunities to extend learning and independence. The manager is keen to continue to review the Tui programme to identify additional ways to enhance learning for these children.

Teachers are highly supportive of children's progress in learning and are patient and affirming in their interactions. They are skilled in observing and talking with children about their work in the classrooms. Children are supported to work on their activities with focus. They are confident and articulate, showing great pride in their achievements.

Teachers work well as a team in promoting the Montessori philosophy, and in sharing key information about children's interests and emerging strengths. In the outside play areas, the teachers have good systems in place to supervise children, with an emphasis on safety and wellbeing as children explore and investigate this exciting area.

Leaders and teachers are highly inclusive. A deep bicultural commitment is evident. The centre has existing connections to the local marae and to kaumātua. All staff are currently undertaking professional development to further develop skills and understanding in te reo and tikanga Māori, that they will incorporate into centre practices. The manager is keen to now reflect this commitment more overtly in centre guiding documents and goals, in consultation with whānau.

Children's individual planning and assessment records are thorough. Children enjoy revisiting their learning in portfolio books, and speak knowledgably about their achievements and interests based on these photos and learning stories. Families' contributions to the programme are encouraged. The manager has also introduced a digital platform for sharing significant moments in learning with parents.

Teachers are well supported through professional development to keep up-to-date with current education practices. External professional development helps teachers inquire into their practice, to develop mentoring and leadership and to enhance learning. Leaders are refining their appraisal processes to reflect the requirements of the Education Council. It is also now timely to consider the impact of the 2017 revision of Te Whāriki on practice.

Strategic planning provides a sound basis for centre operations. Leaders recognise the value in now incorporating additional strategic goals for curriculum, teaching and learning. Greater alignment of the philosophy, vision and mission statements with strategic and annual priorities is likely to provide greater structure and clarity in strategic planning. This alignment would help to make goals, action plans and associated internal evaluation more deliberate and purposeful.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that it is timely to:

  • review and refine the centre's philosophy and curriculum in response to Te Whāriki 2017

  • expand strategic planning to incorporate curriculum, teaching and learning goals, that align with the centre's philosophy and vision

  • weave the service's bicultural commitment more overtly through strategic documents

  • strengthen the planned evaluation of aspects of the programme in action.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Riverhead Montessori Learning Centre 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 Riverhead Montessori Learning Centre will be in three years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

28 June 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


Kumeu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

49 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 39 Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Latin American
Southeast Asian
other European
other Asian


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

28 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Previous reviews as: Wonder Years Montessori Preschool

Education Review

February 2012

Education Review

October 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.