Amberley Playcentre - 27/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Amberley Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Amberley Playcentre is well placed to provide positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Amberley Playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative, where parents are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the programme and centre operation. A centre support worker works with the parent group to support the curriculum, relationships, parent education and good health and safety practices. A centre administration team has been appointed to assist centres with administration, including health and safety.

The playcentre philosophy gives emphasis to parents as first and best teachers, and the provision of a play-based curriculum. Parents are encouraged to participate in playcentre education training to support them in their role as a parent-led early learning service.

Amberley playcentre operates three morning sessions a week. The parent-led service provides early childhood education for children aged from birth-to-school age. Infants, toddlers and young children play and learn in a mixed age-group setting.

Since the July 2014 ERO review, the parent group has made some good progress in encouraging parent involvement in documenting children's interests. They have extended internal evaluation processes to more clearly focus on improving outcomes for children. The development of bicultural understandings and practices is a current strategic focus for the parent group. The appraisal process for coordinators remains an area to further develop and fully implement.

At the time of this ERO review, the playcentre was being led by two experienced coordinators who share responsibility for supporting the parent group. The coordinators and parent group have worked collaboratively to promote the playcentre and increase the roll. Parents have been empowered to take on the office bearing positions on the committee, including shared responsibility for the president's role.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentre reviews within national organisation of the Canterbury Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The playcentre philosophy is highly evident in practice. Parents are valued as first and best teachers of their children. Parents actively participate in playcentre professional development to build understandings and skills to support the effective operation of the playcentre. They have a strong focus on children's wellbeing and promote children's learning through play.

The coordinators and parent group foster positive and respectful relationships. They warmly welcome children and their families into an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Adults are well supported by centre leaders who model a collaborative, sensitive and caring approach to working with children and families. Parents are empowered to grow and learn with their children and become valued partners in their children's learning. This includes noticing, responding to and documenting children's learning interests.

Children are actively involved in a wide range of interesting learning experiences, including creative, sensory and physical play. They are well supported to develop social skills and to care for others. Infants and toddlers play and learn with and alongside older children. Excursions into the local community enhance the learning programme offered to children.

The parent group demonstrates a commitment to developing understandings of bicultural perspectives and growing practices that are respectful of the Māori culture.

The parent group are reflective and are making increasingly good use of strategic planning and internal evaluation to support ongoing improvement and positive outcomes for children. Parent group leaders use a range of effective communication strategies to ensure that processes are collaborative and inclusive of the views of all of their valued members.

Key Next Steps

For Amberley Playcentre

The parent group has identified, and ERO's evaluation has confirmed, that the key next steps are to continue to:

  • build and embed bicultural perspectives in practices and documentation
  • develop understandings of children's learning and the way it is captured in assessment, planning and evaluation, including how this learning will be extended
  • build on all parents' understandings and use of internal evaluation.

The Canterbury Playcentre Association

The Canterbury Playcentre is undertaking major restructuring, including the amalgamation of some regions and improving systems and processes. The centre support team now has more defined roles. The centre support person provides guidance with strategic direction, internal evaluation and curriculum. The centre administration role has been developed to provide centres with administration support, including the oversight of health and safety. The centre support team provides a vital link between the parent group and Playcentre Aotearoa.

The Canterbury Playcentre Association

The Canterbury Playcentre Association is undertaking major restructuring, including the amalgamation of some regions and improving systems and processes.

The key next steps are to:

  • embed the new governance and management structure and processes, and over time, review the effectiveness of these
  • continue to support parents as first teachers and increase understandings of Te Whāriki early childhood curriculum
  • ensure the long-term strategic goal for te ao Māori is successfully implemented
  • support centre support workers and centre administration teams to work effectively, including the provision of leadership professional development
  • further develop and fully implement appraisal processes
  • update policies and procedures at centre level, including requirements of the Vulnerable Children's Act.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Amberley 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 Amberley Playcentre will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

27 June 2018

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


Amberley, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

21 children, including up to 10 aged under 2 years old

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 14

Girls: 5

Ethnic composition





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

27 June 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

July 2014

May 2010

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.