BestStart Montessori Rongotai

Education institution number:
55364
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
27
Telephone:
Address:

192 Rongotai Road, Kilbirnie, Wellington

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1 Evaluation of Montessori Rongotai

How well placed is Montessori Rongotai 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

Montessori Rongotai provides education and care for children from two to five years of age, five days a week. At the time of this ERO review, two of the children enrolled identified as Māori. Families and teachers represent a range of ethnicities. 

Since the October 2015 ERO evaluation, a new teaching team has been established. All teachers are Montessori qualified or fully qualified in early childhood education. Day-to-day operation is the responsibility of the centre manager who also supports the teaching team.

Montessori Rongotai is owned and operated by BestStart Educare Ltd. BestStart (previously known as Kidicorp Ltd) is a large national organisation that owns early learning services across New Zealand. They provide opportunities for teachers to participate in a range of professional learning and development activities.

The previous ERO report identified areas requiring further development. These included: curriculum design; assessment; self-review processes; and understanding of Māori success as Māori.

The centre received targeted support through a Ministry of Education (MoE) funded programme, Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO). Montessori Rongotai developed a plan to address the key areas of practice requiring improvement. The MoE has monitored the service since that time. Steady progress has been made.

The Review Findings

The centre’s philosophy and vision have been recently redeveloped with extensive input from family and whānau. Identified values are clearly evident in practice. Children are learning to explore and become more independent through a curriculum that is responsive, supportive and challenging.

Children experience warm and respectful relationships. Teachers know children well, working alongside them to effectively extend their learning and nurture social skills, resilience and persistence. 

The principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and the Montessori philosophy clearly underpin teaching and learning practice. Literacy, mathematics and science are woven through the programme. Teachers are well supported by leaders to plan and implement a curriculum responsive to children's emerging skills, interests and needs. There is a well-considered approach to supporting children with additional learning needs. External agencies are accessed when required.

Leaders are focused on improving the quality of education and care for all children. The centre manager has established a culture in which children are valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning.

Clear expectations for assessment, aligned to the service’s strategic plan, guide teacher practice. Improved systems and processes support teachers to better document learning and successfully notice, recognise and respond to the strengths and interests of children. A next step is for leaders and teachers to measure and evaluate the impact of their decision making and practices on children's learning.

Information about children’s growing capabilities is recorded through learning stories, as the centre's assessment tool. Teachers encourage parents and families to share aspirations for their child. Through their positive and thoughtful responses, parents are enabled to be part of their child's learning, successfully fostering partnership between home and the centre.

Te ao Māori is identified as a valued part of learning experiences and aspects are promoted throughout the programme. Children have opportunities to celebrate their identity and whakapapa through pepeha. A next step is to strengthen the bicultural programme through more consistent use of te reo Māori by teachers.

Cultural diversity is embraced and celebrated. Elements of Māori, Pacific and other cultures are incorporated well in the environment and programme. Leaders and teachers continue to develop their understanding of educational success for Māori and Pacific children. 

Children’s sense of belonging is nurtured during and after transitions into and through the centre. Successful transitions to school are supported by well-established relationships with local schools.

The professional service manager and business manager provide good guidance about the curriculum in action that clearly identifies strengths and areas for development. Roles and responsibilities of leaders and managers are clearly identified and well understood. A comprehensive policy and procedural framework effectively guides the operation of the centre.

A clear framework guides the teacher appraisal process. This includes self and appraiser assessment and has a developmental focus. Formal observations of practice provide useful information about the quality of teaching. In addition, teachers and leaders are building their capabilities through regular inquiry and knowledge building to help improve positive outcomes for children. 

Key Next Steps

ERO and the service have identified that the next key steps are to continue to strengthen:

  • bicultural practices
  • evaluation in assessment, planning and review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

1 February 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

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

55364

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

29 children, aged over 2

Service roll

37

Gender composition

Boys 23, Girls 14

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian
Other ethnic groups

  2
14
10
11

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%+

Based on funding rates

50-79%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

1 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

Education Review

January 2013

Education Review

September 2009

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. 

1 Evaluation of Montessori@Rongotai

How well placed is Montessori@Rongotai to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The lack of leadership in 2015 has impacted negatively on sustainability and improvements to the quality of teacher practices and curriculum. Many aspects of practice are still in the early stages of development.

Managers acknowledge the lack of progress in key areas and the impact of insufficient leadership in the centre. The appointment of a centre manager is an important step to ensuring improvements to curriculum, practice and centre operations.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

Montessori@Rongotai provides early childhood education and care for up to 29 children between the ages of two and five years. The Montessori philosophy with the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, informs programmes, practices and resources. Daily sessions are offered five days a week.

The service is owned by BestStart Educare Limited. They provide the governance, management and strategic direction for this centre. A professional service manager (PSM) and business manager provide curriculum and business support for teachers and leaders.

Teachers are fully qualified and two are Montessori trained. A centre manager has recently been appointed after an extended period without anyone in this position.

Areas for improvement identified in the January 2013 ERO report included self review, responding to whānau aspirations, and the curriculum. Limited progress has been made in addressing these areas for improvement.

The Review Findings

Teachers endeavour to weave the Montessori philosophy and the principles of Te Whāriki into the curriculum. Children experience warm and respectful relationships from kind and caring teachers. The curriculum enables them to have a choice in their play and includes excursions into the community.

Rich, descriptive language is used by teachers to support children's oral language development. Families and whānau are encouraged be actively involved in their child’s learning by spending time at the centre and to use their home language. Teachers work hard to develop and sustain relationships with parents to support their child’s learning.

There is a process in place to help support children and their parents for transitioning into school. Leaders have identified that they need to develop relationships with local schools to support the sharing of information about children at this centre.

The bicultural curriculum is developing. Teachers and leaders have indentified the need to use Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, to help improve and support their practice for working with Māori children. ERO agrees with this direction.

Teachers and leaders have identified the need to engage with whānau Māori and the Pacific community to develop their understanding of what success looks like for Māori and Pacific children. This should help teachers to celebrate and be responsive to children's culture, language and identity.

The services curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning practices require improvement to better support children's engagement and learning. Priorities include:

  • leaders providing sufficient support for teachers to effectively integrate the Montessori philosophy and Te Whāriki curriculum
  • collaboratively determining the curriculum design and establishing priorities for children's learning
  • identifying the teaching practices required and enacting these would provide a firmer foundation for improving outcomes for children.

Assessment, planning and evaluation practices require improvement and would be enhanced if priorities for children's learning were established. Teachers, through this process, should show how they have:

  • responded to children's identified interests and learning
  • added challenge, complexity and progress to children's learning
  • used this information to inform the day-to-day curriculum.

Changes and improvements to curriculum and assessment practices should be regularly monitored and evaluated to support continuous improvements to practice.

Self review is at the very early stage of development. The PSM needs to continue to work with teachers to promote their understanding and use of self review to help improve practice. The service has an effective appraisal system that aligns to the Practising Teacher Criteria in place to support, develop and measure teacher’s performance.

Key Next Steps

ERO identified priorities for urgent attention include:

  • improving curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning practices
  • strengthening the bicultural programme
  • defining Māori and Pacific success
  • implementing self-review processes to support ongoing improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Montessori@Rongotai 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to the curriculum and self review. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • the service curriculum should be consistent with the prescribed curriculum framework and informed by assessment planning and evaluation that demonstrates children's learning, their interests, whānau, and life contexts

  • an ongoing process of self review that helps the service maintain and improve the quality of its education and care. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C1, C2, GMA 6]

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Montessori@Rongotai will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

27 October 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Kilbirnie, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

55364

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

29 children aged over 2

Service roll

24

Gender composition

Girls 12,

Boys 12

Ethnic composition

Māori 1

Pākehā 11

Asian 6

Other European 5

Other ethnic groups 1

Percentage of qualified teachers

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2

1:10

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

27 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review January 2013

Education Review September 2009

Education Review July 2006

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.