South Wellington Montessori School - 11/04/2018

1 Evaluation of South Wellington Montessori School

How well placed is South Wellington Montessori School 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.

Background

South Wellington Montessori School provides early childhood education and care for up to 20 children between the ages of two and six years. Children can attend the six-hour daily sessions for up to five days a week. Currently thirteen children who identify from a range of ethnicities are enrolled at the school.

Since the March 2015 ERO report, there has been a change in the ownership and management structure. The management of the operation of this privately-owned centre is undertaken by Montessori ECO Schools Aotearoa. Teachers participate in the creation and implementation of teaching and learning programmes.

The Montessori principles, blended with Te Whāriki (2017), the early childhood curriculum, underpin programmes, practices and resources. The philosophy is that the service "empowers children to be the change for sustainability that our world needs."

The school is led by a registered teacher in an acting head teacher role, who is supported by Montessori trained, unregistered staff.

The previous ERO evaluation identified that the key next steps were to: strengthen assessment for learning; evaluative self review; and teacher appraisal. Managers and teaching staff have responded well to these areas of development. 

The Review Findings

Children and their families are supported by warm, respectful interactions with staff. The core values of respect and fostering children's positive attitudes to learning are well embedded across the school.

Children experience the intertwining of Montessori principles and Te Whāriki through well considered teaching practices. Positive learning outcomes are clearly evident through teacher planning, implementation of a well-considered curriculum and the individual guidance learners receive. A refurbished classroom provides a smaller space for the youngest learners while giving them access to the wider areas for work and play. Children self-select where to learn. They are independent, competent and confident learners in their work and play.

A bicultural approach, to deliberately expose all children to te ao Māori through a wide range of authentic activities, is planned for and demonstrated. A next step, to enrich the curriculum, is to incorporate the local environment.

Teachers are well attuned to children's needs and their ethnic backgrounds, including the languages spoken at home. Affirming children's identity is a school priority and is carefully linked to the experiences offered.

Transitions are thoughtfully planned and actioned. Teachers liaise with local schools to appropriately support children as they transition.

Teachers and managers are highly reflective. They collaborate on useful review that arise from challenges and issues requiring their attention and further development. These reviews are implemented in a systematic way.

An effective appraisal system, developed since the previous ERO review supports, appropriately challenges and continues to strengthen teachers' practice.

Streamlined and efficient management systems support teaching staff to continually focus on teaching and learning. Cooperation between owners, management, teachers and staff and a positive team culture are highly evident.

Key Next Steps

Improved practice in self review and development, that is increasingly evaluative, is evident. Insightful and child-focused self review, that recognises parents as partners in learning, has improved teaching practice. Teachers can clearly describe what they have changed and why. The next step is to know through evaluation, how well these changes to practice improve outcomes for children, the impact on their learning.

As part of ongoing curriculum development, staff have identified that a next step for them is to strengthen the focus on sustainability within the curriculum and the environment, to better demonstrate their commitment to ecological principles. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of South Wellington Montessori School 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 South Wellington Montessori School will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

11 April 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 

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

60368

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children over 2 years of age

Service roll

13

Gender composition

Girls 7, Boys 6

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Italian
German
Asian

5
5
2
1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

50-79%

Ratio of staff to children:

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

11 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2015

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

February 2009

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.