Titoki Montessori Pre-School - 14/09/2011

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Titoki Montessori Pre-School, in Torbay, Auckland, is a well established centre providing all day care and education for 27 children over two years of age. Some children over four years of age attend both the morning and afternoon sessions. The centre is administered by an incorporated society of parents. Many children move to the centre from a play group that has been recently established in Torbay.

Children are friendly and generally play well together. They are articulate and enjoy interactions with each other and with teachers. Teachers use good vocabulary to extend children’s ideas. Daily routines for eating and group times are unobtrusive. Children have good opportunities to play and, when indoors, to select from good quality Montessori equipment and resources. The programme and resourcing support children to develop strong foundations in literacy and mathematics.

The centre philosophy is based on the Montessori approach, which supports children to be responsible, to develop concentration and persistence, and to make choices within prescribed limits. The challenge for the centre is how to integrate their Montessori philosophy with the philosophy of Te Whāriki the New Zealand early childhood curriculum. Centre documentation links the two, but the programme in action does not appear to provide the range of choice for children and focus on the arts and physical and imaginative play that feature in Te Whāriki.

Since the 2008 ERO review, the outdoor environment has been upgraded, extended, and attractively landscaped with native planting.

Parents are strong supporters of the centre and are keen to celebrate and learn about their child’s progress. A new centre strategic plan, adopted early in 2010, promotes a child-centred environment. The parent management committee ensured that a consultative process involving parents and staff was followed throughout the development of the plan. A next step for the parent management committee and licensee/director is to continue this consultative approach in reviewing centre policies. Centre managers should ensure that self-review becomes a regular part of all centre practices, and that all staff are appraised annually.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Titoki Montessori Pre-School was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children atTitoki Montessori Pre-School.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

In 2008 ERO found that Titoki Montessori Pre-school provided a high standard of education and care for children. However, ERO noted that activities for children outside were more limited in their scope than those provided indoors.

The current licensee/director, who has led the centre over the past three years, is leaving and the parent management committee is about to appoint a new director.

Areas of strength

Positive interactions. Children generally play well together and enjoy good opportunities for social interaction and for friendships in the centre. They are articulate and hold frequent conversations with teachers and other children. Teachers use good vocabulary to extend children’s ideas.

Programme in action. Daily routines for eating and group times are unobtrusive. Children have good opportunities to play and, when indoors, take turns in selecting from good quality Montessori equipment and resources. In the indoor environment, children can access equipment easily and know that it is their responsibility to put it away. In particular, the programme and resourcing support children to develop strong foundations in literacy and mathematics.

Partnership with parents. Parents are strong supporters of the centre and are keen to learn about and celebrate their child’s progress. They attend centre social events and volunteer their time in working bees. Parents also attend parent information evenings and are well informed about their child’s developmental progress. Parents contribute to their child’s portfolios, linking home life with the centre.

Strategic planning. A new centre strategic plan was adopted early in 2010 after a consultation process that involved parents and staff. The strategic plan includes good opportunities for staff professional development.

Areas for development and review

Fostering imaginative and physical play. Currently, there is little challenge for children in the outdoor environment. Children need access to more resources in the sandpit to support their imaginative play. In the indoor environment, children have access to activities such as practical life skills, including dishwashing, sewing and ironing. However, there are few opportunities and little choice in the standard areas of early childhood play, including music, art, imaginative and physical play. It is an opportune time to consider how expanding resources could provide an enriched Montessori programme for children.

Support for children as capable learners. Teachers are at times managing and directive in their manner towards children in both the indoor and outdoor environments. As a result, children become disengaged and minor conflicts arise.

It is difficult for the one teacher currently assigned to the extended outdoor area to act in a supportive role and engage in quality interactions with children. Partly to maintain the adult to child ratio, children require permission to play outdoors. These arrangements restrict children’s choices and limit their opportunities to become responsible and capable learners.

Increasing teacher confidence in tikanga and te reo Maori. The licensee and centre manager have identified the need to increase the use of te reo Māori in the centre and to build on staff understanding of tikanga Māori.

Assessment, planning and evaluation. Portfolios of children’s learning are attractively presented. The entries are predominately about children’s dispositions and development and their engagement in activities at the centre. Parents are keen contributors to their child’s portfolios and staff should consider how they can better respond to these entries, which often document children’s interests at home.

Teachers share how they notice, recognise and respond to children’s strengths and interests with parents informally at either end of the school day and at parent/teacher meetings. They could consider now how they can more clearly draw on parents’ input. Teachers should also reflect on and document how they have responded to children’s learning.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Partnerships with whānau of Māori children in early childhood services

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • this service understands and values the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau, particularly when the child and whānau transition to the service
  • managers and educators have built relationships with whānau of Māori children
  • this service works in partnership with whānau of Māori children.

Background

Currently, two children of Māori descent are enrolled in the centre.

Areas of strength

Good communication and opportunities enable parents and whānau to participate in centre events and formal meetings to discuss individual children’s development. The centre director is proactive in supporting a transition to school programme.

Areas for development and review

Staff recently identified a goal of making greater connections with the Maori community. A next step is to further develop learning partnerships with parents. Strategies to achieve this could include:

  • staff seeking Māori parent aspirations on how their culture could be reflected in the centre programme
  • staff considering what te Tiriti o Waitangi means for their own practices and Māori families
  • the licensee/director and staff using ERO evaluation reports and indicators, and resources such as Ka Hikitia, the Ministry of Education strategy for Māori education, as a guide to reviewing centre partnership practices.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Titoki Montessori Pre-School completed an ERO Centre Management Assurance Statement andSelf-Audit Checklist. In these documents they have attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

During the course of the review ERO identified areas of non-compliance. In order to address these, centre managers must:

4.1 ensure that policies, objectives and practices are regularly evaluated and modified by an on-going, recorded process of internal review, [Statement of Desirable Objectives and Practices 1996, 10(e)]

4.2 ensure that all staff, including the director/licensee, are appraised annually, [Statement of Desirable Objectives and Practices 1996, 11(a)].

5. Recommendation

ERO recommends that:

  1. as documented in the centre philosophy and strategic plan, the licensee/director and staff promote a child-centred learning environment by providing enriched resourcing and improved opportunities for children to make their own decisions as capable learners.

6. Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the Centre

Type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

35 children over 2 years of age

Roll number

30

Gender composition

Girls 16, Boys 14

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 19,

Māori 2,

South African 6,

Malaysian 2,

Samoan 1

Review team on site

June 2011

Date of this report

14 September 2011

Previous three ERO reports

 

Education Review, June 2008

Education Review, June 2005

Accountability Review, April 2002

 

14 September 2011

To the Parents and Community of Titoki Montessori Pre-School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Titoki Montessori Pre-School.

Titoki Montessori Pre-School, in Torbay, Auckland, is a well established centre providing all day care and education for 27 children over two years of age. Some children over four years of age attend both the morning and afternoon sessions. The centre is administered by an incorporated society of parents. Many children move to the centre from a play group that has been recently established in Torbay.

Children are friendly and generally play well together. They are articulate and enjoy interactions with each other and with teachers. Teachers use good vocabulary to extend children’s ideas. Daily routines for eating and group times are unobtrusive. Children have good opportunities to play and, when indoors, to select from good quality Montessori equipment and resources. The programme and resourcing support children to develop strong foundations in literacy and mathematics.

The centre philosophy is based on the Montessori approach, which supports children to be responsible, to develop concentration and persistence, and to make choices within prescribed limits. The challenge for the centre is how to integrate their Montessori philosophy with the philosophy of Te Whāriki the New Zealand early childhood curriculum. Centre documentation links the two, but the programme in action does not appear to provide the range of choice for children and focus on the arts and physical and imaginative play that feature in Te Whāriki.

Since the 2008 ERO review, the outdoor environment has been upgraded, extended, and attractively landscaped with native planting.

Parents are strong supporters of the centre and are keen to celebrate and learn about their child’s progress. A new centre strategic plan, adopted early in 2010, promotes a child-centred environment. The parent management committee ensured that a consultative process involving parents and staff was followed throughout the development of the plan. A next step for the parent management committee and licensee/director is to continue this consultative approach in reviewing centre policies. Centre managers should ensure that self-review becomes a regular part of all centre practices, and that all staff are appraised annually.

Future Action

ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve quality of education for children in early childhood centres; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on outcomes for children and build on each centre’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on four review strands.

  • Quality of Education – including the quality of the programme provided for children, the quality of the learning environment and the quality of the interactions between staff and children and how these impact on outcomes for children.
  • Additional Review Priorities – other aspects of the operation of a centre may be included in the review. ERO will not include this strand in all reviews.
  • National Evaluation Topics – This strand contributes to the development of education policies and their effective implementation. The information from this strand is aggregated by ERO for its national evaluation reports. Topics for investigation are changed regularly to provide up-to-date information.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this centre has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of centre performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to this centre.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a centre is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this centre.