Aramoho Playcentre - 14/02/2017

1 Evaluation of Aramoho Playcentre

How well placed is Aramoho 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.


Aramoho Playcentre is one of four parent-led services under the umbrella of the Wanganui Playcentre Association (the association). It is licensed for 27 children, including 12 aged up to two years. At the time of this review, of the 24 children enrolled, one is Maori. The majority of children attending are aged under four.

The association president and office holders, along with a delegate from each playcentre, form the governance group (executive) for the association. The executive provides general guidance and support for members, including: leadership for strategic planning; financial management; policy development; and for decisions related to the education programme, property and equipment.

A support person, employed by the association, visits each centre and provides professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. In 2016, support from other associations has been sought and professional learning and development (PLD) accessed to strengthen operation, through the Playcentre Federation.

Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. At Aramoho Playcentre, one employed, teacher-trained coordinator supports parents and whānau to develop and implement the daily programme and manage administration requirements. At the time of this review, most centre members were relatively new. However, key office roles were filled and a strong drive to strengthen participation in the training programme was evident.

Aramoho Playcentre’s philosophy emphasises the importance of children learning through play, supported by parents working cooperatively to manage the programme and operation.

The May 2014 ERO report, identified the need to review the philosophy and for the association to support members’ understanding and use of self review. The association also needed to implement an appraisal process to support the development needs of the coordinator. Progress is evident.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is currently reviewing the organisational structure of Playcentre across New Zealand. The outcomes of this review may result in changes to operation at centre level.

This review is one of a cluster of four education reviews in the Wanganui Playcentre Association

The Review Findings

A new philosophy has been developed to support the learning programme. Good ideas and sound values now need to be enacted.

Adults are responsive, supportive and involved. Many are building their confidence working as part of a team to provide learning experiences for children. Good models for practice are provided by the coordinator and more experienced members. High ratios of adults to children promote opportunities for one-to-one interactions.

The warm culture and emphasis on building relationships and support for each other is fostering parents' confidence and willingness to become involved in Aramoho Playcentre. A real sense of family and community is developing. Members are friendly and welcoming. Children are settled, cooperative and happy learners who show enjoyment in having their parents working alongside them.

Children have free access to a wide range of learning materials that are well organised into play areas. They are given space and time to explore and investigate. The expansive outdoor environment is well set up for physically active play and adventure. Members should ensure that their participation remains strongly focused on supporting children's sustained engagement in their chosen activities.

Aspects of mathematics, literacy and creativity are well resourced and integrated into play experiences. Members' understanding of play-based learning is likely to be strengthened as they move through their training.

A revised approach to planning for children's learning has resulted from recent PLD and the need to strengthen the participation of the many new members. The process is at an early stage of implementation. The new approach makes more visible parents' ideas about the support needed for their children's learning.

Learning story evenings and out-of-session planning are also being considered to strengthen collaboration and shared understanding. If members more strongly focus session evaluations on individual children's significant learning and progress, planning for daily sessions should be more meaningful.

A commitment to bicultural practice is strongly expressed at association level. At Aramoho Playcentre, a bicultural perspective is developing. Whanaungatanga is evident. Some members are learning te reo Māori and using it well in their interactions with children. Tikanga Māori is valued and woven into the programme.

Members have identified their next steps as building a relationship with the local marae. Acknowledgement of Māori language, protocols and values in other aspects of practice such as planning and the development of guiding documents, should also be considered.

Members want to strengthen provision for older children, including support for their transition to primary school. A good relationship with the adjacent school has been built. Developing more purposeful relationships with new entrant teachers to support the sharing of information about individual children, and school and early childhood programmes, is an appropriate next step. Accessing uptodate information about good practice in supporting children's transition to school, should provide a starting point for these discussions.

Infants and toddlers are well integrated into sessions. They are encouraged to explore, play and take part in planned learning experiences with and alongside older peers. Some review has been undertaken to strengthen provision for this younger group. Members should continue to work on improving the range of resources and opportunities that specifically support these children's learning.

Recent PLD has been focused on developing members' understanding and use of internal evaluation. A useful framework has been introduced linked to up-to-date practice in the education sector. Implementation of the new approach is at an early stage.

Improved support from the association is evident. The redefined administrative role has resulted in a more systematic approach to aspects of operation such as financial management, policy review, and communication.

An appraisal process for employees is in the early stages of implementation. The approach needs to be significantly strengthened to provide effective support for the development of the coordinator and meet Education Council requirements for Practising Teacher Certificates.

To build sustainability and shared understanding of practice and operation, the association should:

  • give priority to supporting leadership and teamwork at centre level, including ensuring that guidelines are understood, kept up to date and relevant; and that appropriate succession planning and office holder induction are in place

  • introduce a more strategic and formalised approach to the centre support worker role linked to centre needs

  • ensure centre long-term planning, reporting and review processes are adequate to effectively inform decisions about association priorities for development.

Key Next Steps

The association should continue to provide support for the centre to effectively implement:

  • internal evaluation

  • planning for learning

  • the appraisal process for the coordinator

  • strengthened provision for older children, including support for the transition to school

  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based practices, through strengthening te ao Māori knowledge and understandings

  • practices that support sustainability of operation. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 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 Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 16, Girls 8

Ethnic composition





Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

14 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

November 2010

Education Review

October 2007

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.