Hora Hora Playcentre - 18/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Hora Hora Playcentre

How well placed is Hora Hora Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Requires further development.

ERO has concerns that centre members at Hora Hora Playcentre are not receiving effective and sustainable governance support. Many health and safety issues were identified.

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


Hora Hora Playcentre is situated near Maungatautari, south of Cambridge. It is licensed for 20 children, including 10 up to the age of 2 years, in a mixed-aged setting, two morning sessions a week. There are currently 10 children on the roll.

The playcentre is a parent-led co-operative, catering for rural families in the area. All parent members are currently engaged in playcentre training courses. Parents share leadership positions in the centre and all committee roles are filled.

Through the shared philosophy, the centre aims to provide a quality learning environment for children that supports child-initiated play and learning alongside supportive adults.

The playcentre is a member of The New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF).The East Waikato Playcentre Association (EWPA) is responsible for the governance of the centre. This includes strategic direction, management support, documentation and adult education programmes. The current restructuring of the NZPF and the explained dissolution of the EWPA in November 2017, is contributing to uncertainty with governance, professional support, funding and sustainability.

The centre has had fluctuating roll numbers over the past few years and closed for a period after the 2010 ERO Review. It re-opened in November 2015 and this is the first ERO review since the centre was re-licensed in March 2016.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from learning opportunities that reflect their interests and have a voice in leading their learning. They readily access high-quality resources in a mixed-age session. Children learn to negotiate and problem solve. The curriculum has a planned area of interest for each session. Features of the programme include:

  • trips and excursions into the wider community

  • positive relationships with the adjacent school and supported transitions to school

  • children actively choosing from a wide range of areas of play and resources

  • strong evidence of children’s interests from home contributing to their learning.

Children benefit from positive, trusting and respectful relationships with each other and adults. This contributed to settled and confident children. Te reo Māori is being strengthened in the centre with the introduction of karakia, waiata and some basic words and phrases being used. Adults know the children well and listen carefully to them. Children up to the age of two years have their individual care needs met and routines are well established. Adults are responsive to their non-verbal communication skills. Appropriate resources and a specific well-developed area have been provided for these younger children who experience positive outcomes as successful learners.

A record of children's learning is kept in individual portfolios. These records reflect the varying levels of understanding and training of parents. Members require further support to strengthen assessment of learning to enable them to identify learning dispositions, learning outcomes and show continuity of learning over time. Currently members are accessing playcentre course work through another playcentre association.

Key Next Steps

While centre members demonstrate a strong commitment to sustaining the service. They report a downturn of young families in the community. The centre is unable to always claim operational funding for sessions if they do not have enough suitably qualified members on site. Members hold regular meetings together, sharing their knowledge and skills and make decisions about centre operations. They have developed a strategic and annual plan. Further professional support from the EWPA is required to help leaders strengthen the strategic plan and gain an understanding of self review with a focus on learning outcomes for children. Through their actions, parents are modelling lifelong learning for children.

The EWPA provides up-to-date policies and procedures. Management now needs to ensure that training and support is accessed to fully implement these policies, with an urgent focus on health and safety. This is required to keep children and adults attending the playcentre safe. With the EWPA due to dissolve its operation in November 2017 and uncertainty over the planned restructure of the NZPC Federation in March 2018, ERO does not have confidence that sufficient and timely support will be in place for the playcentre members to address the issues identified within this report.

The governing body must urgently provide professional support to parents to strengthen:

  • strategic and annual planning, with a focus on learning outcomes for children

  • an understanding of effective self-review processes

  • assessment for children's learning

  • enacting the EWPA policies and procedures with a focus on health and safety.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Hora Hora Playcentre 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified important areas of non-compliance relating to maintaining a safe centre environment. To meet requirements the service needs to be provided with the EWPA sessional hazard check and use this regularly to check equipment, premises and facilities for hazards. All practicable steps should be taken to eliminate, isolate or minimise hazards.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS12. HS6]

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 Hora Hora Playcentre will be within two years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

18 October 2017

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


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 7 Boys 3

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

18 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

First review since re-licensing March 2016

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.