South Wellington Montessori School - 31/03/2015

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 a half and six years. The Montessori philosophy, blended with the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki, underpins programmes, practices and resources. Children attend the six hour daily sessions for up to five days a week.

The two teachers have owned and managed the service for nineteen years. They have established strong relationships with families and the community. A diverse range of ethnicities and cultures are represented within the centre.

Areas for improvement identified in the June 2012 ERO report included self review, appraisal, assessment for learning, and the bicultural curriculum. The teachers have responded well to these recommendations and have engaged in professional learning to support their development.

The Review Findings

Children learn in a calm, well-organised environment. They have many opportunities to lead their own learning. They independently access a wide range of Montessori-based equipment both indoors and outdoors.

There is a strong focus on activities and resources which promote writing, mathematical concepts, physical development and practical life skills. Within the child-led programme, children engage and persevere in sustained periods of learning and play.

Strong, respectful and reciprocal relationships with children and their families underpin teaching, learning and decision-making. Recent formal consultation with families indicates high levels of satisfaction with approaches to foster children’s learning and wellbeing.

Centre-wide review and development initiatives have led to increased teacher confidence and commitment to the integration of Māori language and culture into the curriculum. Teachers incorporate the skills and expertise that whānau Māori bring to the programme. Community contribution has assisted to increase the visibility of te ao Māori in the environment. Teachers should now consult with whānau of Māori learners about their aspirations for their children’s success as Māori.

Children interact positively with each other. They are happily engaged and confident learners. They enthusiastically participate in conversations about their world and their learning.

Teachers are respectful of children and their learning choices. They skilfully promote children’s conversation and make connections to their world. Teaching strategies encourage children to problem-solve and make decisions about their learning.

The promotion of independence and children’s self-management skills is a significant focus within the curriculum. Children take responsibility for themselves, their belongings and the centre environment.

Teaches have made improvements to the ways they assess children’s learning. Families’ aspirations for their children’s learning, as well as their home-life experiences, are included in assessment portfolios. Children access and share their portfolios with pride.

Teachers are developing the ways they document what they notice about children’s learning and how they can respond to their interests and needs. They have identified assessment practice as an area for further review and development. This is an appropriate next step and is likely to enhance and extend children’s learning. Teachers should also consider how to better reflect children’s cultural heritage in assessment practice.

Teachers support parents and families well as they prepare their children for transition into the centre and on to school. They have developed thorough processes to inform families about centre philosophy and practice. Provision is made for older children to experience literacy extension and leadership opportunities.

A clear philosophy and vision guide decision-making and approaches to children’s education and care. Recently defined values are promoted in the programme and in daily interactions with children and their families.

The newly developed strategic plan identifies the service’s current priorities and is well-aligned to self review and appraisal. Professional learning and development for teachers is closely linked to the strategic direction.

A well-planned and structured approach to self review leads to centre improvements. This framework has been used well to guide recent reviews and improve the quality of bicultural practice and partnerships with families. Teachers should continue to build their evaluative practice by monitoring the impact of teaching strategies and changes made as a result of self review.

Processes have been established for teacher appraisal and performance management. A next step is to further strengthen the appraisal process so it better supports teacher-managers to enhance their practice.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the teacher-managers agree that the key next steps are to continue to strengthen processes in:

  • assessment for learning
  • evaluative self review, and
  • teacher appraisal.

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.

Joyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

31 March 2015

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, aged over 2

Service roll

20

Gender composition

Girls 13, Boys 7

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

European

2

14

3

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

N/A

Choose an item.

 

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

31 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012

 

Education Review

February 2009

 

Education Review

May 2006

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.