Treasure Hunt Montessori Preschool - 27/03/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Treasure Hunt Montessori Preschool is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

Context

Treasure Hunt Montessori is a privately owned centre located in Mt Albert, Auckland. Since the 2010 ERO review the centre has been relicensed and now provides all day education and care for children up to school age.

The centre’s learning programme is based on the Montessori philosophy of education. This philosophy provides an overall vision and framework for teaching practices.

The centre has recently undergone significant renovation and extension to cater for the increased numbers of children. These improvements enable staff to more effectively implement the Montessori learning programmes.

Centre leaders have responded positively to recommendations from the 2010 ERO report and are continuing to strengthen and consolidate improvements in a number of areas.

The Review Findings

The centre’s Montessori philosophy is strongly reflected in the centre programmes and operations. Teachers have a shared understanding of Montessori practices. They communicate key principles of the philosophy effectively to parents.

Warm and friendly interactions are evident between teachers, children and parents. Children demonstrate a sense of security and belonging in the centre. This is affirmed through formal and informal parent feedback. Teachers work well together and are responsive to children’s interests and pace of learning. They support children well to be self managing and independent, with appropriate balance between routines and freedom of choice. Children are confident and articulate. Teachers facilitate conversations to develop children’s language skills.

The learning programme effectively combines Montessori principles and Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum. An experienced curriculum advisor has been engaged to provide professional development and ongoing support with programme implementation. This is resulting in improved systems, and increased teacher capability.

Clear and thorough processes have been developed for planning and assessment. Teacher planning is informed and guided by a framework based on noticing, recognising and responding to children’s interests. Teachers maintain regular assessment with a strong focus on individual children’s learning.

Teachers acknowledge the importance of biculturalism in their curriculum and practice. Te reo Māori is increasingly incorporated into programme planning and interactions with children.

ERO and centre leaders agree that continued development is needed to:

  • embed good practices and develop the capability of all teachers in planning and assessment
  • improve teachers’ questioning skills to extend children’s thinking and complex play
  • further develop the use of te reo Māori in programmes and interactions
  • maximise the rich multi-cultural nature of the centre within learning programmes

The learning environment is well resourced and well organised. Children can access materials easily and are supported to respect and take responsibility for the environment. Good use of space provides a variety of learning areas and indoor-outdoor flow. Leaders have further plans for development of the outdoor area, to ensure flexible use of space and provision of physical challenge for older children in both rooms.

The centre manager is focused on continuous improvement and uses support where needed. She is building an effective leadership team, and has recently appointed two head teachers, an administrative assistant, and the curriculum advisor. ERO and the manager agree that leadership roles could be more clearly defined and structured to increase leadership capability.

Professional learning and development for teachers and leaders is linked to centre development and identified needs. Appraisals focus on individual goals and occur on a regular basis. Centre leaders are continuing to improve appraisal processes. Useful next steps could include a long term, cyclic approach to appraisal, clear links to the Registered Teacher Criteria, and use of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

Policies and procedures are regularly monitored and reviewed. Systems are in place for strategic and annual planning. The centre has made good progress in developing self-review processes. This includes good two-way communication with parents in order to involve them in the process.

Centre leaders could now review strategic planning processes to enhance sustainability. This could include:

  • a more strategic approach to policy review and more efficient management of policy documentation
  • a longer term view of centre priorities and stronger links between self review information and strategic and annual planning.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Treasure Hunt 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.

The centre receives Equity Funding. This is additional targeted funding for eligible early childhood services aimed at reducing educational disparities, encouraging participation and raising achievement. The centre manager now needs to report more clearly to parents and the local community about how this funding has been used.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

27 March 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Mt Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

10326

Licence type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 18 aged under 2 years

Service roll

48

Gender composition

Boys 29 Girls 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European/ Pākehā

Māori

Indian

Chinese

Tongan

Fiji Indian

Filipino

Arab

other

8

2

21

5

3

2

2

2

3

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Exceeds minimum requirements

 

Over 2

1:8

Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2013

Date of this report

27 March 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

April 2010

December 2008

August 2005

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service 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 the service.