Stoke Montessori - 10/08/2018

1 Evaluation of Stoke Montessori 

How well placed is Stoke Montessori 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.


Stoke Montessori provides full-day education and care for children from two and a half to six years of age. It is one of three privately-owned Montessori centres, collectively known as The Bays Montessoris.

This is a small service for up to 25 children. It operates from a single mixed-age classroom and adjoining outdoor area.

The centre owner and leaders are Montessori trained educators. The teaching staff are qualified early childhood teachers. Almost all have Montessori specialist training. The owner provides overall leadership of The Bays Montessoris centres. She participates in the teaching programme.

Since the 2015 ERO review, there have been some changes in staff. The centre has improved its planning and assessment, bicultural and self-review practices.

This review was part of a cluster of three Montessori centre reviews of The Bays Montessoris group.

The Review Findings

The Montessori philosophy is strongly evident in all aspects of the curriculum.

Children are effectively supported to achieve the key priorities for learning described by the centre. They are provided with real-world contexts, resources and activities to help them make sense of the world that surrounds them. With well-timed support from teachers, they develop independence and confidence in themselves (whakamana), in each other (whanaungatanga), and skills for engaging in the world around them. This includes, helping to prepare and serve food daily (kai time), at which children were observed contentedly sitting and talking for sustained periods of time.

Children learn in a calm, respectful, supportive environment. They have settled time for focused and productive learning. Teacher interactions are respectful, responsive and empowering. They effectively engage in children's activity of interest. They know when to intervene or remain active as observers. They support children's inquiry in learning and problem solving.

Children exhibit a strong sense of belonging, security and care. The mixed-age classroom provides multiple opportunities for reciprocal learning (ako), leadership for older children (tuakana-teina) and social skills for younger children.

The rich experiences provided in and outside the centre, are a feature of the programme. The indoor and outdoor areas are well resourced. A respect for nature, the natural world and sustainable practice is a key area for learning. Children's skills, understanding and ability to interact effectively in the world that surrounds them (kōtahitanga) is effectively supported. They learn in holisitic ways, about themselves and their wellbeing, and how to respect, care for and help sustain the world around them.

The centre leader and teachers work in close partnership with parents to ensure positive outcomes for children. Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in their child's learning. Their opinions and expertise are regularly sought to enrich the programme and inform improvement. The many cultures of the children and their whānau are celebrated and shared. In particular, Māori language and culture are meaningfully integrated in the programme and help define the centre's key priorities for learning.

Teachers know children well. They work collaboratively ensuring each child develops holistically. They regularly share information with each other about the children. This helps ensure continuity in learning for each child and a consistent focus across all teachers for supporting the learning. Teachers interact positively and respectfully with the children and their parents. Children with additional learning needs are identified and well supported.

The centre owner provides in-depth support for all three centres. She ensures teachers receive relevant professional learning, including deepening their understanding of the Montessori approach. She works collaboratively with the leaders of all three centres, building leadership capability and sustainable practice. There is increasing collaboration across the centres. The leaders meet regularly to discuss and share best practice.

Long term planning usefully guides development within and across the centres. Internal evaluation is being increasingly well implemented to inform improvement, within and across centres. A recent review of the key priorities for learning in The Bays Montessori centres is now being used to guide teaching and learning at each centre.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that the key next steps for teachers are to continue to develop:

  • a focus on improved practice when undertaking spontaneous reviews

  • appraisal and teacher inquiries, that includes use of formal observation of practice and teacher reflections.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

10 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, aged over 2 years old

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 12

Boys: 5

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff

To children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

10 August 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

December 2011

Education Review

November 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.