Airdmhor Montessori - 07/08/2019

1 Evaluation of Airdmhor Montessori

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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

Background

Airdmhor Montessori is a privately owned, stand-alone early childhood centre in Christchurch, providing a full day service for children aged between six months and six years. It is licensed for 30 children including seven under two year olds. There are separate spaces for children of different ages, with a shared outdoor garden and play area. Children come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and many are English language learners.

The owner runs day-to-day operations with support from teachers who are assigned particular roles. Staffing is stable. A high proportion of teachers hold early childhood and Montessori qualifications.

The philosophy and approach to teaching and learning is inspired by Montessori. The philosophy emphasises and includes the important role of parents in their child's learning and wellbeing, the significance of child-led play and the need for a safe, caring, and creative environment.

The centre has made some progress addressing the recommendations identified in the 2016 ERO report. Strengthening the use of te reo Māori and bicultural practices, further developing planning and evaluation processes, and further refining the strategic and annual action plans remain key areas for further development.

The Review Findings

Teachers' positive approach provides good support for children's developing competence, wellbeing, and sense of belonging. Children experience warm, respectful and caring relationships with their teachers. Their talk is encouraged, accepted and respected. They are supported to be independent and self-manage. Under two year olds experience a calm environment set up to encourage their exploration. Children of all ages are supported to engage well in their learning. 

Children have access to a broad, rich curriculum which incorporates Montessori philosophy and teaching practice, and Te Whariki (2017) The Early Childhood Curriculum. The environment is well resourced and purposefully supports children's learning. Children have opportunities to learn about te ao Māori and te reo Māori. Their diversity is celebrated. The owner and teachers provide multiple ways for parents/whānau to engage in the programme and their children's learning. The curriculum is responsive to the needs and interests of children and parents/whānau.

The centre has experienced and knowledgeable staff who know the children well as individuals and learners. Teachers notice, recognise and respond well to their strengths, interests, and capabilities. Every child is planned for collaboratively and their progress in learning is well documented. Teachers effectively follow and support child-led play and learning.

The owner and teachers use reflective practice well to investigate and make changes to the environment, routines and practices to better meet children's needs. There is a strong focus on improvement. Where external expertise is needed, the owner seeks relevant professional development to support teachers to build their knowledge and skills to enhance the service's systems and teaching practice.

The centre is in the process of reviewing its philosophy, including valued outcomes for children, and its strategic plan. Once completed, the centre should ensure that internal evaluation has a focus on investigating how well the philosophy for children's learning is enacted, and strategic goals met.

The centre's assessment and planning processes for children's learning are well established. There now needs to be ways that will ensure quality and consistency in assessment and planning. This should include acknowledging children's cultures and parents' aspirations for their learning

Programmes and practices to support te reo and tikanga Māori learning are in the early stages of development. The centre now needs to further develop and embed bicultural practices across centre operations and in documentation.

Key Next Steps

ERO's evaluation confirms and the centre agrees, that the key next steps include:

  • strengthening and extending the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme and centre documentation
  • improving assessment and planning practices and documentation, including increasing parent involvement and making children's home cultures more visible in these processes
  • developing a system for quality assurance of planning and assessment processes
  • reviewing and implementing the centre's philosophy and strategic plan and ensuring that internal evaluation investigates how well the philosophy is enacted and strategic goals met.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Airdmhor 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

7 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

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

65048

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 7 aged under 2

Service roll

49

Gender composition

Boys 25, Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Chinese
Other ethnic groups

2
16
26
5

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:5

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

7 August 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

September 2012

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.