City Heights Montessori

Education institution number:
80026
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
44
Telephone:
Address:

254 York Place, Dunedin Central, Dunedin

View on map

1 Evaluation of City Heights Montessori

How well placed is City Heights Montessori to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

City Heights Montessori is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

City Heights Montessori is one of two privately-owned early childhood services operating on the same site, close to Dunedin city centre. Since 2016 a third licence providing education and care for infants has been combined with the toddler programme under this licence. This service now provides education and care for up to 49 children up to the age of three. A head teacher works within the classroom and has responsibility for the daily programme.

The centre is led by a professional leader working with a newly-formed leadership team. The team includes the head teachers and a manager.

Recommendations in the 2016 ERO report included clarifying the centre's priorities for children's learning, improving assessment, planning and evaluation, clarifying leadership roles and responsibilities and strengthening internal evaluation.

Since then, the professional leader has strengthened the alignment of the service's practices with the Montessori philosophy. New members of staff have settled into their roles and the leadership team-work together to share responsibility for the service's operation. Assessment practices and internal evaluation processes have also improved.

The Review Findings

Infants and toddlers show a sense of belonging. This is evident in the ways they lead the direction of their learning, settle quickly and engage with the daily programme. They are familiar with the daily routines and the teachers' expectations for their learning and behaviour. They are well cared for by teachers who are responsive to their interests, needs and preferences. Teachers develop trusting relationships with children and responsive to their verbal and non-verbal cues.

Infants and toddlers have easy access to a range of activities and good quality resources and equipment, all of which have a clear learning purpose. They play and learn in calm, settled environments. Teachers support infants and toddlers as they grow in independence and learn to self-regulate. They integrate literacy and numeracy learning well within the daily programme.

Children's progress overtime across the curriculum and Montessori learning objectives is closely monitored and evident in learning records. Assessments illustrate and support continuity in learning and show children's progress in a range of contexts and in relation to the service's valued learning outcomes.

The service values New Zealand's bicultural heritage. Teachers are working to improve their te reo Māori. A planned approach is needed to build the confidence and ability of all teachers to support children's learning in te reo Māori and to make Māori perspectives and the enactment of the Treaty of Waitangi principles more visible within programmes and practices. The next step for teachers is to show more clearly and consistently how they affirm, support and celebrate the language, culture and identity of children and their families in the programme and in documentation.

The centre's development is guided by useful strategic and annual plans. Leaders have high expectations for children’s learning and are making good progress embedding programmes and practices in line with these. The philosophy and vision have been revised to support the service's aspirations and priorities for children's learning. These priorities for children's learning could be further simplified. This may help teachers and leaders to more effectively evaluate how well the programmes and practices are supporting the desired outcomes for children.

Leaders and teachers have used internal evaluation processes well to make improvements in practice leading to positive outcomes for children. Leaders and teachers are beginning to make use of quality indicators to inform their judgements. They could further develop the review schedule to ensure that the key aspects of the service's operation that most impact on children, are reviewed regularly over time.

The leadership team work closely to manage the service's systems and to determine roles and responsibilities in line with newly developed job descriptions. It is time to review systems and processes to ensure regular checking of consistency of practice in relation to compliance requirements.

Key Next Steps

ERO, the professional leader and leadership team agree that the next steps for improving centre practice include:

  • a planned approach to building the ways teachers affirm, support and celebrate Maori culture and the language, culture and identity of all children and their families and make this more visible in programmes and practices

  • continuing to build internal evaluation processes and practice's including the development of a schedule to ensure the regular review of key aspects of the operation over time, including priorities for children's learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of City Heights Montessori 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.

To improve current practice within the context of health and safety, leaders need to develop more effective processes and monitoring systems to ensure consistent compliance with regulatory requirements.

In particular, leaders need to implement a robust system for monitoring the consistency of practice when teachers record children's sleep and when teachers complete excursion forms.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

20 August 2019

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

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

80026

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

49 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

50

Gender composition

Girls 33, Boys 27

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European Pākehā
Indian
Other ethnicities

7
30
4
9

Percentage of qualified teachers

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

20 August 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

July 2016

Education Review

June 2013

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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 City Heights Montessori

How well placed is City Heights Montessori 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

City Heights Montessori is one of three centres on the same site in central Dunedin. It provides full-day care and education for up to 49 children. Many children come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Children enrol in this centre at around 18 months of age. At about three and a half years they transition into an older children's Montessori programme in another building. The service provides nutritious meals and has recently achieved the Gold Healthy Heart Award.

There has been significant staff change in this Montessori centre and the City Heights services since the 2013 ERO review. This includes a new manager for the three centres. The new manager has established leadership roles within the service, including two head teachers to oversee educational programmes in the three centres. Currently there is one head teacher in this role. Teachers in this Montessori centre work as two teams. One has responsibility for the older children and one has responsibility for the younger age group.

The manager has led significant developments and made very good progress on the key next steps and actions in the previous ERO report. She has:

  • extensively consulted with staff and families to redevelop the City Heights vision and philosophy

  • developed long and short-term plans to guide the direction of the service and inform decision making

  • introduced systems for monitoring goals

  • made ongoing improvements to children's play areas.

This review was part of a cluster review of the three centres in the City Heights service.

The Review Findings

Since the last ERO review, the manager has ensured that there is better use of the indoor environment to provide for the range of ages. There is improved provision for younger toddlers indoors and a richer range of resources available for their use. However, there are still limited opportunities for younger children to freely access the outdoor play area and choose when and where to play.

Children enjoy a variety of activities appropriate to their age groups. These include:

  • sensory experiences

  • music and movement

  • creative and dramatic play

  • introduction of junior Montessori equipment.

Recent teacher involvement in mathematics professional development has led to a more purposeful programme and increasing opportunities for children to enjoy mathematics activities and resources.

Teachers know the children well. They care about the children and help them develop a sense of belonging in the centre. Teachers make connections with children's family life and at times introduce aspects of this into the programme. There is an appropriate focus on settling children and support for transitions.

The head teacher has been supporting the team members to develop their programme planning. She provides ongoing feedback and guidance to teachers as they develop their planning practices. The manager has introduced an online tool to support planning for individual children.

The manager has a strong commitment to including Māori perspectives within the service. This is reflected in long and short-term planning, professional learning for leaders and teachers, involvement in community events and the development of a centre mihi.

The manager has high expectations for teacher practice and is building this through a new appraisal process and regular professional discussions. She is assisted in her role by the head teacher. With the appointment of a second head teacher, it is time to review the head teacher role to ensure the key focus is on supporting and improving learning programmes and the quality of teaching in the centre.

The philosophy gives good guidance about what is valued and what is important learning for children at City Heights. Leaders and teachers across the service should use the philosophy to guide curriculum priorities. These desired outcomes for children’s learning need to be more evident in planning and in intentional teaching. The manager has plans to further improve centre environments and should use the philosophy and vision to guide decisions around this.

Staff turnover and limited uninterrupted time for teacher planning have impacted on the progress of improvements to curriculum design, teaching and learning. The manager and head teachers need to develop assessment, planning and evaluation guidelines to help them and the teachers in their work and support consistency of practice.

Assessment, planning and evaluation processes require further development across the service. Teachers and leaders need to:

  • continue to find ways to consistently gather parents’ wishes for their children’s learning and development and show how they respond to children’s language, culture and identity

  • plan strategies and experiences to extend learning

  • evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies and experiences in supporting children's learning

  • show children’s progress over time.

Group planning needs to consistently show intended priorities for learning and the experiences and intentional teaching to achieve these priorities. Evaluations should show the difference teachers have made to children's learning.

The manager and some staff have undertaken professional learning and development to improve self-review practices. Whilst this PLD gives a framework for improvement, self review is still a work in progress. To further develop self-review practices, the manager, head teachers and teachers need to:

  • ensure the focus of the review is guided by an evaluative question

  • develop indicators that guide the review and ensure they match the focus of the review

  • consistently use the indicators throughout the process

  • ensure that policies and procedures give very clear guidance to staff.

The manager has developed useful systems and processes for the management and leadership of the service. However, she agrees that it is now time to update the policy framework to reflect the service's vision and current practices.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for the centre manager, with the support of the leaders are to:

  • redefine the head teacher roles to have greater emphasis on curriculum leadership

  • use the philosophy to guide all aspects of the centre operations, including curriculum priorities

  • ensure teams have regular, scheduled and uninterrupted time for planning, assessment and evaluation

  • further develop planning, assessment and evaluation practices, including guidelines of best practice

  • refine self-review practices and review the policy framework.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

22 July 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

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

80026

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

49 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll

67

Gender composition

Boys: 37

Girls: 30

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other European

Chinese

Filipino

Indian

Cook Island

African

Samoan

Middle Eastern

8

40

4

3

3

3

2

2

1

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

22 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

April 2012

Education Review

January 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.