Ashurst Park Playcentre - 06/10/2015

1 Evaluation of Ashurst Park Playcentre

How well placed is Ashurst Park 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.


Ashurst Park Playcentre is located next to Te Rapa Primary School, which is in Hamilton’s north-eastern suburbs. It is licensed for 25 children including up to 15 under two years old. At the time of this ERO review, 20 families and 28 children are enrolled at this playcentre, three children identify as Māori, and several are from other non-European backgrounds. There are four sessions per week for 0 to 6 year olds and one session per week for children over three.

The centre operates as a parent cooperative under the umbrella of the Waikato Playcentre Association (WPA). The New Zealand Playcentre Federation and the WPA continue to provide effective governance and strategic direction for the centre. Members also benefit from the ongoing guidance and support of centre support workers, and adult education courses. This support and training is underpinned by the association’s philosophy 'Whānau tupu ngātahi - families growing together'. The association’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi is evident in its bicultural leadership model, support for Māori whānau, and funding to support members to include te reo and tikanga Māori in learning programmes.

Members of this playcentre responded positively to the findings of the previous 2012 ERO report. They have reviewed and strengthened planning and assessment processes, and created a designated area for infants and toddlers when needed. There has been a sustained focus on developing and maintaining bicultural practices within the programme, which has been well supported by WPA personnel.

The playcentre’s philosophy of parents as first educators enjoying learning and play together is very evident in the programme. All parents are enrolled in playcentre education courses. Children enjoy a cheerful, welcoming home-like atmosphere where they are empowered to be confident, capable learners.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentre reviews in the Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from high quality positive interactions with adults and one another. Adults continually respond to children’s interests, tune into their ideas, and extend their thinking. They provide interesting exploration activities and use open-ended questions to promote children’s conversation skills and build vocabulary. Adults take time to listen actively and look for deeper meaning in children’s thinking and understanding. High adult-to-child ratios facilitate opportunities for rich oral language to occur throughout the programme. Self management and independence are valued and fostered.

Te reo Māori is increasingly used by all parents. Children understand and respond to simple te reo Māori phrases. Tikanga Māori is well integrated within the culture of the playcentre. Members are reviewing resources to ensure that bicultural perspectives are engaging for children. Te reo Māori is a planned component of session evaluations. The playcentre benefits from strong support from the WPA kawanatanga in their continuing development of te reo and tikanga Māori.

Infants and toddlers are very well nurtured and respected. Resources in their designated area include sensory and home-play equipment. They are also encouraged to explore within the wider playcentre environment where there are many opportunities for interactions with siblings and older children. Adults respond respectfully to children’s verbal and non-verbal cues. Older children support young children in their self-initiated play and exploration. Playcentre parents provide strong support for mothers with babies and very young children.

Parents and children lead and contribute to the centre’s programme, which is based on children’s interests and parents’ aspirations. Home interests are continued at playcentre and vice versa. Literacy, numeracy and science concepts are evident in play and learning activities. These are further developed in the older children’s session. Regular excursions to places of interest provide authentic learning contexts for children. Family cultures are valued and shared.

Assessment, planning and evaluation have been considerably strengthened as a result of self review, professional development, playcentre course work and peer support. Portfolios demonstrate progression of children’s learning and development. Members systematically evaluate emerging interests and teaching practice at the end of each session, and use evaluations to guide ongoing planning.

The playcentre environment effectively promotes and celebrates children’s learning. The indoor area is print-rich and has accessible real-life resources that encourage sustained engagement. The outdoor area is spacious and well organised to promote physical challenge, construction and social play. Natural resources are available and used.

Centre leaders demonstrate high levels of trust empowering members to negotiate, solve problems, and reflect critically on the programme. Parents take responsibility for ensuring that the playcentre is well organised and runs smoothly. Members contribute and further develop their skills and expertise. Playcentre course work is actively encouraged and develops both teaching and parenting skills. Self review is ongoing resulting in positive outcomes for children. The CSW provides regular affirmation and feedback to centre members about their practices and compliance with ECE requirements.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps identified by centre members are to:

  • review and further develop processes to support transitions into the playcentre and to school
  • further develop members’ understanding of assessment to include the identification of learning dispositions, and the use of agreed indicators for describing oral language development.

In addition, at WPA level there is a need to review and strengthen:

  • CSW reports that are linked to licensing criteria and strategic aims of this centre
  • the appraisal system for paid supervisors that includes a clear job description and specific feedback aligned to expectations for teaching and learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

6 October 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Pukete, Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 18

Girls 10

Ethnic composition



Other European

Other groups





Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

6 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012


Education Review

June 2009


Education Review

May 2005

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.