Titahi Bay Playcentre - 28/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Titahi Bay Playcentre

How well placed is Titahi Bay 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.


Titahi Bay Playcentre is one of 19 parent-led early childhood centres governed and administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). The playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children, five mornings a week. This includes provision for 18 children up to the age of two at any one time.

A council of elected volunteer representatives from each of the association's member centres, oversees the association at the governance level. This work is assisted by an operations manager and general manager. An executive committee administers the adult education programme. A centre support worker is employed to visit the centre and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for the day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders.

Planning and implementing the curriculum is a shared responsibility. Each session is supported by a duty team of parent educators who hold Playcentre training certificates. A good proportion of centre members are involved in the association's training programme, many holding Course Two or above.

The association philosophy, 'Whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together', is articulated as empowering parents and children to learn, grow and play together. This underpins practice and was reaffirmed by the association and Titahi Bay Playcentre at their 2016 annual general meetings.

The May 2014 ERO report found centre leaders would benefit from improved association support to assist them to: identify priorities for development; improve internal evaluation practices; and ensure the development needs of centre-based employees working with children, are met. ERO also identified further developing assessment, programme planning and evaluation and provision of a culturally responsive curriculum through building members' understandings of success for Māori as Māori, as next steps.

The association and Titahi Bay Playcentre responded positively to the areas identified for improvement in the 2014 ERO reviews. Internal evaluation and strategic planning were undertaken by association personnel to bring about changes to both the structural and organisational culture of the organisation. Clear boundaries between governance and management were expressed and changes made to improve support to individual centres.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation, of which the Wellington Association is part, is planning a significant restructure for 2017 that includes amalgamating associations. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

This review was part of a cluster of ten in the Wellington Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

A positive tone and inclusive practice are highly evident. All children's wellbeing, development and learning is enhanced by their engagement in the well-considered, child-initiated play-based programme. They play amicably together, exploring and engaging in a range of appropriate learning activities. Attentive parent educators know well children and their preferences.

The service's youngest children are very well-supported to actively participate in the programme. Children’s social skills and developing relationships are nurtured. The principles, strands and goals of Te Whāriki and the playcentre philosophy underpin centre practice well. Parent educators have shared understanding of what they want children and families to experience during their time at playcentre and planning assists in achieving this.

In seeking continuous improvement, centre members are undertaking professional learning and development with an external provider about effective assessment, curriculum planning and evaluation practices. Members want to further enhance their knowledge and practices. The processes in place, at the time of this ERO review, provide adults with timely and useful information that helps them plan appropriate learning experiences responsive to children’s interests. Individual learning portfolios celebrate and demonstrate children's developing skills, knowledge and learning progress well.

A comprehensive internal evaluation was undertaken, during 2014, to discover how well the association and centres included te reo and tikanga Māori as part of a culturally responsive curriculum. Titahi Bay Playcentre participated in this process and carried out a further evaluation in late 2016. Strategies in place support members to build their knowledge, understanding and cultural competencies. Te ao Māori is meaningfully woven through experiences, rituals and activities and is an integral part of Māori, and all, children's early education.

Well-considered literacy, mathematics, science activities and excursions in the wider community are core components of the curriculum. Reflecting and championing Pacific learners' cultures and languages within the curriculum is evident. Including the cultures, languages and identities of all children and families is a current focus of development. ERO's evaluation affirms this.

Titahi Bay Playcentre families and whānau bring varied and valuable skills and knowledge to their roles. The high levels of involvement of the centre's community and a sense of collective responsibility for children, provides a positive platform for learning. Well-developed systems and practices support the smooth day-to-day running of the playcentre. 

The association is an improvement-focused organisation. The 2014 ERO reviews found the assistance provided at the centre level by association support workers was appreciated and supportive. ERO also recognised that formalising this arrangement to provide a more effective approach to responding to the needs of individual centres was a next step for development. The association, as part of reviewing their structural organisation, reviewed the position of centre support workers and made improvements to human resource management. Timely and relevant leadership and guidance is provided for its member centres.

The dual purpose of self review for accountability and improvement is very well understood and informs ongoing decision-making. Development planning priorities are aligned to the association vision and clearly positioned in improving teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

Association and centre leaders should continue to improve outcomes for children and families by using internal evaluation effectively to ensure the very good practice occurring is sustained and prioritised developments are achieved.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Titahi Bay 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 Titahi Bay Playcentre will be in four years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

28 June 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

30 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 29, Girls 20

Ethnic composition

Cook Island
Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

28 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

January 2008

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.