Alicetown Playcentre - 18/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Alicetown Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Alicetown Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children. 

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


Alicetown Playcentre is one of 17 centres administered by the Hutt Playcentre Association (the association). The association is made up of elected volunteer representatives from its member centres. It provides the parent committee at Alicetown Playcentre with governance and management support. A kaitautoko, a centre support person is employed by the association to provide guidance.

The playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children five days a week. This includes 15 children up to the age of two. Two extended sessions are held on Mondays and Fridays. These focus on achieving the aspirations families and whānau hold for older children.

Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Each session is supported by a team of parent educators who hold playcentre training certificates. When necessary they employ a supervisor with the level of training that meets the legislative requirements for group supervision.

Almost all centre members are involved in the adult education programme provided by the association. The centre has sustained good numbers of parents taking advantage of this opportunity for active involvement in their child's education.

The service and the association have a positive reporting history with the ERO.  Effective centre practice, identified in the June 2013 ERO report, has been sustained.

This review was part of a cluster of eight services within the Hutt Playcentre Association. 

The Review Findings

Children’s active exploration through play and learning is well supported by attentive parent educators. A positive tone and inclusive practice permeate the centre promoting children’s social skills development and confidence. Respectful relationships positively contribute to their sense of belonging and wellbeing.

The service’s philosophy strongly reflects the playcentre philosophy of parent led education, free play and the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. A strong culture of care, respect and shared responsibility for leading children's play and learning is evident. 

Assessment, curriculum planning and evaluation practices provide adults with useful information to help them plan programmes responsive to children’s interests, strengths and if required identified needs. Attractive profile books celebrate individual children's progress showing their developing skills, knowledge and attributes.

Children are physically active and curious explorers. They participate enthusiastically in a varied range of well-planned and spontaneous activities. The youngest children are embraced and nurtured within a culture of care. Literacy, mathematics, science activities and concept learning are integral parts of children’s playcentre experience. The inclusion of te ao Māori and of all children's cultures, languages and identities in the curriculum, continues to evolve.

The association is an improvement-focused organisation committed to providing timely and relevant support for its member centres. The June 2013 ERO reviews found the support provided at centre level by kaitautoko was appreciated and useful. ERO also recognised that formalising this arrangement to promote a more effective approach to responding to the needs of individual centres was a next step for development. An evaluation of the effectiveness of changes to kaitautoko practice for improving outcomes for centre members and children is planned for.

At Alicetown playcentre the parent-led committee and supervision groups include diverse enthusiastic parents and whānau who bring valuable skills and knowledge to their roles. The high levels of involvement of the centre's community and a collective sense of responsibility to children provide positive platforms for learning.

The previous ERO report identified that centre leaders would benefit from association support to further develop strategic planning and self review practice. The dual purposes of self review for accountability and improvement are understood and increasingly guide ongoing decision making. The association should continue to support the centre to develop strategic and annual planning that contribute to effective internal evaluation. 

Key Next Steps

The association:

  • must implement rigorous annual appraisal for the kaitautoko and identify professional development to support them in their leadership roles
  • should build kaitautoko knowledge and capability to undertake effective internal evaluation. This should include a focus on providing centre members with evaluative feedback that assists them to further develop aspects of the curriculum and centre practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Alicetown 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.

Action for compliance

ERO identified an area of non-compliance relating to governance and management practices. To meet requirements the association needs to improve its performance in the following area:

  • fully implement a system of regular appraisal 
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7] 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

18 May 2016 

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 


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 23, Boys 21

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

18 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

August 2009

Education Review

June 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.