Waikanae Montessori Preschool - 27/04/2016

1 Evaluation of Waikanae Montessori Preschool

How well placed is Waikanae Montessori Preschool 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.


Waikanae Montessori Preschool is an all-day early childhood education and care service. It caters for 40 children aged from two to six years old in both the classrooms. Of the children enrolled, three are Māori.

A governance committee is responsible for the centre. Since the April 2014 ERO report, a new chairperson and trustees have been appointed. An administrator supports the Board of Trustees, centre staff and the parent committee.

The head teacher oversees the classrooms and operations, supported by a recently appointed assistant head teacher. There is a leader and teacher in each of the two rooms.

Montessori principles and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpin the centre curriculum and philosophy. The mission statement of 'help me do it by myself' guides teaching and learning. There is a commitment to staff being Montessori-trained.

There has been growth in parent, whānau and community input and presence since the previous ERO report.

The outdoor environment has been redeveloped to improve learning outcomes related to children's physical skills, confidence and exploration.

The previous ERO review found significant development was needed, particularly in relation to: the quality of governance; management and professional leadership; teacher appraisal; self-review and the integration of a bicultural perspective in the curriculum. Consultation with the Ministry of Education was recommended to develop an action plan to address these concerns. With internal and external assistance these areas have improved.

Clear lines of communication between the board, centre managers and staff are in place. The chairperson has ongoing dialogue with the head teacher.

Progress has been made in improving practice and operation. Self review has been used effectively to bring about improvements in programmes and outcomes for children.

Positive aspects of practice identified in the previous ERO report continue to be evident.

The Review Findings

Children's learning is based on established Montessori philosophy, strategies and materials. The environment fosters self-directed education and learning as fun. Children apply Montessori learning tools across a wide range of well-resourced learning activities. Children are engaged learners.

Children are viewed as confident, competent communicators. Relationships with peers and adults are warm, gentle and respectful. Children's choices are encouraged and supported by staff. Montessori values and beliefs are enacted through interactions and practices modelled by children and teachers.

Mathematics and literacy learning is effectively promoted. The wider curriculum includes science, social studies, cultures, music and art.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are incorporated into the programme through routines. Teachers enact te reo me ngā tikanga Māori that is responsive to Māori learners. Teachers have sourced some placed-based information about landmarks and people. Opportunities for children to share a wider range of local stories and narratives is a centre goal.

Individual children’s progress, in relation to Montessori learning, is effectively planned for, monitored and reported in learning profiles. There is centre planning for activities, events and excursions. Teachers have improved their awareness to notice, recognise and respond to children's interests and strengths. Profile narratives include individual and group stories. A next step is for teachers to strengthen assessment by acknowledging children’s cultures in learning stories.

Children with complex needs are well supported. External agency input is accessed as necessary. Inclusive practice promotes a positive learning environment for children, parents, whānau, families and teachers.

Teachers know the children and families well. There is a deliberate strategy to ensure families can share aspirations for their children.

A well-considered transition process builds parents' understanding of Montessori philosophy. Children and families are supported into, through and from the centre.

Managers have responsibility for supervision of staff and provisionally registered teachers' appraisal process. They have undertaken training to improve the quality and rigour of the centre's new, 2015 appraisal framework. Appraisal identifies professional learning and development needs. A next step is for staff to document evidence that shows goal setting, observations and written feedback to improve practice.

Teachers have increased their knowledge and understanding of self review. Planned and spontaneous reviews occur. Improvement-focused reflection is guiding changes in practice. The next step is to evaluate how well teaching and learning practices improve learning outcomes for children.

Leaders have a strong commitment to building leadership capacity. ERO's evaluation affirms the leaders' finding that further professional learning to improve evaluation is required.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified, and centre managers agree, that the next steps are to:

  • have the board meet more regularly

  • strengthen children’s assessment through greater acknowledge of their cultures, in learning records

  • develop teachers’ cultural competencies to support their growing abilities to respond to the needs of Māori children

  • develop internal evaluation to inquire more deeply into the quality of teaching practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

27 April 2016

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

40 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 28, Girls 23

Ethnic composition



Cook Island




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

March 2016

Date of this report

27 April 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

January 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.