Tikipunga Playcentre - 06/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Tikipunga Playcentre

How well placed is Tikipunga Playcentre 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.


Tikipunga Playcentre operates as a designated SPACE (Supporting Parents Alongside Children's Education) centre. SPACE sessions provide parent education and social support for families who start the programme when their child is between three weeks and four months of age. The current roll includes 10 Māori children, many of whom whakapapa to Ngāpuhi hapū.

Each SPACE programme runs for 30 weeks. There are four sessions each week for different groups of parents/whānau and their infants. In addition, the centre offers a ten week (Bridge) programme that enables parents to complete Course One of Playcentre training. An experienced team of facilitators leads the SPACE sessions with the help of support persons. ERO observed a SPACE session and a Bridge session as part of this evaluation.

SPACE Northland is affiliated with the Northland Playcentre Association and has a partnership agreement with the NZ SPACE Trust to provide SPACE programmes in Northland Playcentres. A governance board and coordinator oversee the management of SPACE Northland. The SPACE purpose of strengthening families through respectful parenting support aligns closely with the Playcentre philosophy of children and families learning and growing together.

Playcentre Aotearoa is in the process of a national restructure. It is expected that a new regional manager and support personnel will be appointed towards the end of 2017. This restructure is likely to impact on SPACE Northland operational systems.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 Playcentre reviews in the Northland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

SPACE facilitators warmly welcome parents/whānau and their babies. An informal gathering that includes waiata, helps to settle adults and children into each weekly session. This routine is a valuable opportunity for parents/whānau to share new information about their baby's development.

Parents and facilitators develop positive relationships. They work together to support each other and to contribute to infants' early learning experiences. Facilitators respond well to parents' questions. Resources and equipment cater specifically for infants and toddlers up to two years of age.

Toddlers who attend the Bridge programme demonstrate a sense of wellbeing and belonging at the centre. They are confident to initiate social play with other children. These children are well supported by their parents/whānau and facilitators to make choices for themselves. Parents/whānau and their children visit a mixed-age Playcentre session with facilitators, so parents can see how they could continue learning with their children at Playcentre.

Facilitators are highly skilled. They model positive ways to interact with infants and young toddlers. Facilitators work alongside individuals and groups of parents to guide an increased understanding of children's play-based learning. These effective practices contribute to parents' increasing knowledge and participation in sessions. Facilitators include stories and basic te reo Māori as part of the programme.

Facilitators plan SPACE and Bridge programmes that link to Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum. Session plans are flexible and build on previous content and discussion. As each SPACE programme progresses, facilitators explain the learning that happens as part of children's play experiences. Facilitators recognise parents' growing confidence and encourage them to write down what they notice about children's learning. Day-book records show that facilitators foster parents' increased understanding of their children's learning very well.

Facilitators provide strong professional leadership to sustain ongoing improvement. They are dedicated to the values and intent of the SPACE and Bridge programmes. Long-term and annual goals inform the direction of the service. Facilitators use internal evaluation to make improvements in response to their own reflections and parent/whānau feedback. The SPACE Northland governance board has a sound management framework based on Playcentre policies that include procedures adapted for SPACE programmes.

Key Next Steps

Next steps for facilitators are to:

  • increase their use of te reo Māori and integration of tikanga Māori to increase the knowledge of all children and adults and to help promote education success for Māori children
  • work alongside families to implement a curriculum that celebrates the languages and cultures of all children at the centre
  • document and evaluate progress towards strategic goals
  • strengthen internal evaluation systems to guide ongoing improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tikipunga 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Tikipunga Playcentre will be in three years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

6 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


Tikipunga, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 29 Boys 24

Ethnic composition

other European


Percentage of qualified teachers

SPACE facilitator led

Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

6 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2012

Education Review

January 2007

Education Review

February 2004

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.