Te Awamutu Montessori Ltd - 11/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Te Awamutu Montessori Ltd

How well placed is Te Awamutu Montessori Ltd 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

Te Awamutu Montessori Ltd is a privately owned, full-day education and care service licensed for 50 children over the age of two years. At the time of this review there were 48 children enrolled, nine of whom identify as Māori. The centre provides for children in two age-based classrooms with a shared outdoor space. The centre philosophy is guided by the theories of Maria Montessori.

The centre licensee and the head teacher are the co-owners. They share governance and management responsibilities including oversight of strategic planning and compliance with legislative requirements. The head teacher oversees staff performance management and leadership of learning. The centre staff is a team of seven, the large majority of which are qualified teachers in Early Childhood Education (ECE). Several have qualifications or training in Montessori education.

The aim of the centre is to offer children and their families a quality education programme firmly embedded within the bicultural and multicultural diversity of Aotearoa. The centre seeks to honour the concept of working with the whole child, enabling all children to develop to their full potential.

In response to the last ERO review in 2015, teachers have undertaken professional development to strengthen awareness and understanding of Māori culture, language and identity, as well as their understanding of Montessori practice.

The Review Findings

Children and their families experience positive and affirming relationships with staff at the centre. Teachers use appropriate strategies to support children in an inclusive environment. Parents feel that the centre supports their children well to develop social and learning skills, and responds appropriately to their different needs. The intentional use of routines and rituals supports children in developing self management skills and confidence.

Transitions within the centre happen at the pace of the children, and are appropriate to their individual readiness. Teachers work well together to provide for children’s care and learning needs, and there are respectful and supportive relationships between teachers and children. Children with additional learning needs are well supported and the centre liaises with external agencies and works in partnership with parents to provide appropriate support. Responsive interactions support children’s sense of wellbeing and belonging. Children develop as capable and confident learners.

The centre curriculum effectively promotes the Montessori theory of actively nurturing children's independence. Teachers value the Montessori philosophy and carefully observe and document each child's learning to inform planning of further activities. Children actively engage with the high-quality, specialised resources in a spacious, well-maintained and ordered environment. A strength of the centre is the unrestricted access to the learning opportunities provided in the outdoor area. The programme is enriched by a variety of excursions and visitors who share their knowledge and skills with the children. Literacy and mathematics are woven effectively into learning activities, and good levels of oral language are evident in the classroom. Children’s self management and self motivation is fostered.

Centre leadership has effectively developed a shared understanding and commitment to the Montessori philosophy and the aims of the centre. The head teacher now needs to provide professional support to enable full implementation of the revised early childhood curriculum document, Te Whāriki. Leaders have accessed a range of external professional development opportunities for teachers, including supporting Māori children and developing te reo Māori knowledge. The centre should continue to build bicultural practice and visibility in assessment, and through the development of a localised curriculum to further enhance children's understanding of the heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Leadership of internal evaluation processes also requires development to ensure that centre initiatives are resulting in improved outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The centre leaders and ERO agree that key next steps are to:

  • develop effective strategic internal evaluation processes focused on improving outcomes for children

  • undertake centre-wide professional development on the revised Te Whāriki (early childhood curriculum) in order to develop and implement a localised curriculum

  • continue developing responsive practices that support children's language, culture and identity.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Te Awamutu Montessori Ltd 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.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance:

The service provider must ensure that all children’s workers who have access to children are safety checked in accordance with the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 [VCA]
[Licensing criteria for Education and care centres 2008, GMA7A]

To improve practice the service provider needs to:

  • review the centre emergency plan on an annual basis

  • ensure that records of excursions include the signature of the Person Responsible for giving approval for the excursion to take place

  • develop a process of reviewing and evaluating the service’s operation

  • implement recently developed policies and processes to guide staff appointments and teacher appraisal and registration.

[Licensing criteria for Education and care centres 2008, GMA6, GMA7, HS7, HS17]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Te Awamutu Montessori Ltd will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

11 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

Location

Te Awamutu

Ministry of Education profile number

46351

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children aged over 2

Service roll

48

Gender composition

Boys 28 Girls 20

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

9
31
8

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

11 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2015

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.