Wainuiomata Playcentre - 09/09/2013

Evaluation of Wainuiomata Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

A core group of relatively new, committed members have begun Playcentre training but are not yet sufficient in number to function as an effective self-managing collective. A centre support person provides regular and valued support for the members. A more formalised approach by the association should strengthen the capacity of this service to be self managing. It should also help ensure its sustainability in this close community.

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


Wainuiomata Playcentre is one of 18 administered by the Hutt Playcentre Association (the association). Bicultural partnership is integral to the way the association operates. An executive committee provides guidance and support for centre members. This includes leadership for strategic planning, financial management and policy development, and for decisions related to the education programme, property and equipment. A kaitautoko, a centre support person employed by the association, visits and provides professional advice, feedback and role modelling to strengthen practice and promote improvement. The recently commenced review of the association’s structure, supported by an external consultant, is aimed at improving the operation and ensuring the sustainability of the playcentres.

Four mixed-age sessions are run each week, led by a paid supervisor. The majority of parents stay with their children for each session. High numbers of members are at the early stages of training. A challenge has been to secure parents’ commitment to training and collective management.

The centre philosophy emphasises the importance of fun, safety and happiness, and the inclusion of everybody regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. A number of different ethnic groups are represented at the centre.

The playcentre is on the grounds of a local primary school. There have been major renovations since the August 2009 ERO report. Relicensing under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 occurred this year.

This review was part of a cluster of nine playcentre reviews in the Hutt Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Members’ inclusive approach welcomes new families. There is a strong sense of community evident. Parents bring diverse knowledge, language and perspectives to the centre and these are valued. Adults are consistently positive and caring towards children and respect their play and learning. The tone of sessions is busy and settled, with a sense of fun.

The open, inviting environment supports children’s motivation to explore and try things out. A wide range of resources, including a generous selection of literacy, numeracy and natural materials, is freely available for children. Music activities are especially enjoyed by the children. The outdoor area supports a variety of physical play. Photographic and work displays provide good opportunities for children to reflect on their learning and participation.

The supervisor gives careful consideration to ways of extending learning and providing appropriate resources. She makes it a priority to get to know all the children, their backgrounds and interests. Good provision is made for children with special development needs. Infants and toddlers are valued members of the playcentre community and are well supported to participate in the programme.

A Māori perspective is evident in the centre environment and programme. Parents and children are learning about karakia and waiata. Some provide good models for others in relation to this aspect of practice.

Children’s transition to primary school is well facilitated by the centre’s location in school grounds. There is a close relationship with the new entrant class and reciprocal visits are undertaken, both formally and informally.

The supervisor has appropriately supported development of a formal approach to planning for learning. Children have profile books which record their participation in playcentre activities. A small group of committed parents work to record daily happenings and plan for later sessions. It is hoped that as parents move on to further Playcentre study, growth in knowledge and confidence will help them contribute more purposefully and collectively to planning for children's learning.

Paid supervisors have provided support and continuity for the programme and operation of the centre in the absence of available members. Collective and effective management has not been a feature of this service in recent times. A core group of relatively new members are showing willingness to take on management roles and responsibilities. Others are building their confidence to work as part of a team to provide early learning experiences.

The association has a proactive approach to governance. It effectively works alongside members to support self management. Centre members have yet to make good use of association systems and processes to ensure legislative requirements are met, good practice is sustained and improvement is promoted.

Key Next Steps

There is a need for extra support to help families understand Playcentre philosophy and expectations. Plans should be put in place to develop their:

  • understanding of children’s early learning linked to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and play-based learning
  • participation in planning and implementing the programme
  • emergent leadership and collective management skills
  • understanding of legislative requirements
  • shared understanding of self review to improve decision making.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wainuiomata 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to health and safety and personnel management. Hazard checks are not documented as required by the association. Supervisors have not been appraised.

To meet requirements, the service must improve its performance in the following areas:

1. equipment, premises, and facilities must be regularly checked for hazards to children and documented as part of a hazard identification and management system [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008: HS12]

2. suitable human resource management practices must be implemented, including a system of regular appraisal. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008: GMA7]


That members, in collaboration with the association, develop an action plan to guide them in:

  • re-establishing collective self management and raising new members’ awareness of expectations in relation to Playcentre membership
  • understanding legislative requirements and ensuring these are met, particularly with respect to health and safety.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

9 September 2013

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 15 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 27, Girls 13

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


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 2013

Date of this report

9 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

August 2009


Supplementary Review

November 2007


Education Review

August 2006

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.