Playschool 3

Education institution number:
Service type:
Homebased Network
Not Applicable
Total roll:

Unit A2 72 Apollo Dr, Albany, Auckland

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1 Evaluation of Playschool 3

How well placed is Playschool 3 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.


Playschool 3 is one of eight networks offering home-based education and care that operate under the umbrella of Playschool Education. The main office is located in Auckland. The service, which is owned and managed by the director has been in operation for 10 years, and now includes home-based networks in a variety of places throughout the North Island.

The service employs support personnel and a team of programme coordinators who regularly visit all of the children in the service and support the educators in their practice. Programme coordinators are fully trained teachers and bring a variety of early childhood education experience to their role.

The service is developing new systems to be implemented during 2017. These systems are intended to support effective day to day operations and children's learning. The service caters for a diverse community. Parents are the employers of the educators.

This review was part of a cluster of five reviews of Playschool networks. Three of these networks were part of the 2013 ERO review.

The service offers a variety of education and care options. Families are able to choose between au pair, whānau members or nannies. Whānau members provide care in their own homes for their whānau and grandchildren, and nannies work with children in the children's homes. A sister company aligned with Playschool engages au pair from overseas to live with families and to work with their children. The majority of au pair live for up to a year with the families and management use effective systems to manage smooth transitions between au pairs.

Playschool 3 is licensed to cater for 80 children from local communities between birth and school age. There are currently 60 on the roll. The majority of children enrolled are Pākehā and Chinese. There are a small number of children who identify as Māori or Pacific. Most of the educators are au pair and grandparents. Au pair stay with the families for up to 12 months.

The Review Findings

Management has a clear philosophy and focus on providing quality education and care for children and support for families. Documentation indicates that programme coordinators have good knowledge about families/whānau and their children. Their regular monthly visits are used to model good teaching and give encouragement to support educators' professional growth. Programme coordinators expect educators to include aspirations expressed by families/whānau in the programmes they provide for children. They support educators to increase resources, experiences and opportunities as ways of engaging children in learning through play. The service helps to fund extra community-based experiences to further support children's learning.

The manager and her team provide regular opportunities for productive professional development that has led to the present changes in the organisation. These include a stronger and positive focus on te Ao Māori, and internal evaluation. The building of emergent leadership has been a very positive aspect of recent service operations.

As a result of intensive internal evaluation over the last year, management and the team of programme coordinators have redeveloped many of the resources and guiding material used for managing the work of the service. The service gathered multiple voices to guide these changes. The new manual for educators includes a series of training modules for educators completed over a year. There is a greater focus on extending learning for children and strengthening the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in written and spoken forms.

During 2017 children will be provided with new portfolios for educators to record learning stories and comments about what they observe of children's learning. Programme coordinators and whānau are encouraged to contribute to the children's learning journey. New documentation shows the potential to continue to streamline care and safety procedures.

The newly developed appraisal system for educators has the potential to help identify areas for support and development. A renewed appraisal system for Programme Coordinators meets the requirements of the Education Council. This should be now be embedded in practices. Review dates for making judgements about the effectiveness of these new developments are in place. The work undertaken by the team is a positive step in the growing professionalism of the service. The appraisal process for the service curriculum manager needs to be strengthened to ensure a robust and meaningful process is in place.

Key Next Steps

ERO and management agree that the key next steps for the service are to:

  • introduce new documentation to educators, support the embedding of new recording systems and evaluate the effectiveness of these processes in due time
  • provide increased time for programme coordinators to undertake this work
  • continue to increase educators' responsibility for decision-making in the curriculum
  • consider ways to include Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and practices in management documentation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Playschool 3 completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 Playschool 3 will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 February 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 Home-based Education and Care Service 


Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 40 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Boys 31, Girls 29

Ethnic composition











Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

January 2017

Date of this report

22 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

December 2013

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Playschool 3 is one of three networks operating as part of the Playschool home-based service in Auckland. The service provides education and care for children up to six years of age. Each network aims to provide enjoyable learning opportunities for children within a natural home environment. Home based educators (including au pairs and nannies) are supported to provide educational programmes for children by a team of coordinators who are qualified and registered early childhood teachers.

Children benefit from positive interactions with adults who care about them and respond to their needs and interests. They have opportunities to participate in a variety of learning experiences in homes, the wider community and at the service’s planned outings. These outings allow children to experience a wider curriculum and encourage the development of social skills.

Educators are well supported by regular visits from coordinators who model ways to further engage children in play. The service provides resources designed to provoke children’s curiosity and interest. Families are able to borrow equipment that supports the extension of children’s play. Coordinators maintain records that document children’s participation in the programme.

Effective communication and warm relationships contribute to a shared sense of belonging between children, families, educators and the service. Coordinators are particularly responsive to the cultural backgrounds of Chinese families. Service managers and ERO have identified the need to develop and implement bicultural practices that reflect the dual heritage of Aotearoa/New Zealand, across the organisation.

The service has experienced significant growth since its establishment in 2008. Managers have developed an organisational framework to guide operations and practice. A process for self review has been established. ERO and service managers agree that self review could be used more effectively to promote quality outcomes for children.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children.  Therefore ERO will review the service again within three years.

2 The Focus of the Review

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults. 

The Quality of Education


Playschool 3 is one of three Playschool networks that operate throughout the wider Auckland area. The three networks are supported by six coordinators. Playschool 3 provides support for educators located mainly in west Auckland.

This is the first ERO report of the service since it was established in 2008. The service has experienced significant growth in that time. During the course of the review ERO visited 18 homes across the three networks. Management, parents, educators and coordinators all contributed to the findings of this review.

Areas of good performance

Relationships between adults and children are caring, respectful and child-centred. Coordinators model professional practices and develop warm, personal relationships with educators and families. They prioritise trusting relationships as a foundation for successful learning.

Au pairs, nannies, educators and coordinators know children very well and use this information to provide programmes that are based on children’s interests and stages of development. They respect different cultural perspectives regarding the role of play in children’s learning. Coordinators find ways to build educators’ understanding of the role of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, in children’s learning.

Coordinators work well together to enact the service’s philosophy. They collaborate and share ideas that will promote children’s learning. Educators value the input of coordinators in setting learning goals for children. Coordinators support educators to plan ways to support children to achieve these goals. Service managers have plans to provide a formal professional development programme for educators.

Open communication between parents, educators and coordinators is a positive feature of the network. Coordinators provide families and educators with ongoing support and guidance through visit notes, emails and phone calls. Families and educators value the knowledge and expertise of coordinators. 

Areas for development and review

Service managers and ERO agree that key areas for development are to:

  • develop shared understandings of how best to document and promote children’s learning through effective planning, assessment and evaluation practices
  • link coordinator appraisal systems to the Registered Teacher Criteria and set appropriate goals to develop their coordinator practice.
  • further develop self review processes to focus on education and improved outcomes for children
  • establish strategic and annual planning that identifies long term goals to guide service direction and reflect the service’s philosophy.

The service management acknowledges that developing bicultural practice is a priority. This includes increasing the extent to which management practices and educational programmes reflect and build understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori.

3 Management Assurance on Compliance Areas


Before the review, the management and staff of Playschool 3 completed an ERO Home-Based Education and Care Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum standard
  • premises and facilities standard
  • health and safety practices standard
  • governance management and administration standard.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance. To meet requirements the service must:

  • ensure that policies and procedures align with service practices and expectations
  • implement a system of regular appraisal for educators
  • ensure that procedures for monitoring children’s sleep are consistently implemented.

Licensing Criteria for Home-based Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA 5, GMA6, HS 8. 

4 Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children.  Therefore ERO will review the service again within three years. 

Dale Bailey
National Manager Review Services
Northern Region

6 December 2013 

About the Service 



Ministry of Education profile number


Service type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      42
Girls       40

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Cook Island


Review team on site

October 2013

Date of this report

6 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports