Ashurst Park Playcentre - 19/06/2019

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

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

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


Ashurst Park Playcentre is a parent-led education and care service located in Hamilton. It caters for children from birth to school age and operates five mixed-age morning sessions per week. The playcentre is licensed for 25 children per session, including up to 15 under the age of two years with a current roll of 20.

During 2018 and 2019, the playcentre is transitioning from operating as a Federation with 32 regional associations to become one national body with six regional offices. In the central North Island six associations have merged into a regional hub renamed Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region that now includes 95 playcentres over a large geographic area. During this transition there is some overlap between associations and the new national regional systems and processes. Te Tiriti partnerships and self-determination for Māori is evident in some areas through Te Mahere and Roopu groups. At Ashurst Park Playcentre the president is supported by a committee of parent members. A centre administrator and centre support worker are provided by governance.

Through their national philosophy the playcentre places emphasis on whānau tupu ngatahi – families growing together. Playcentres empower adults and children to play, work and grow together and value and affirm parents as first and best educators of their children.

Ashurst Park Playcentre has a positive reporting history with ERO. Since the last ERO review in 2015, centre members have further developed processes to support transitions into the playcentre and to school. Centre leaders have increased members' understanding of assessment to include the identification of learning dispositions, and the use of agreed indicators for describing oral language development.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 playcentre reviews in the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region.

The Review Findings

Relationships between children and all familiar adults in the centre are positive and considerate. Responsive and engaged interactions promote rich learning opportunities for children. Social competency is promoted by respectful and inclusive practice. Oral language, literacy, mathematics and science are well promoted and integrated into play. Processes are in place to support children with additional needs. Children benefit from approachable and thoughtful learning relationships.

The curriculum is responsive to the needs of children. The centre is well presented and effectively resourced. The child-focused programme is planned around the knowledge of what children and their families bring to the centre. Assessments in children’s portfolios captures their learning and participation in the programme. Parents' aspirations are included into planning and children’s interests and dispositions are followed. Routines are flexible and children make choices about their learning. Children experience a curriculum that enables them to be confident and competent learners.

Centre leaders have developed a useful plan to increase te reo Māori competence of parents and children. Children have access to resources that reflect te ao Māori. Members are supported through ongoing playcentre training to increase their knowledge of te ao Māori. Extending the use of te reo Māori is an ongoing priority for centre members.

There is effective support in place to build the capability of members to promote positive learning outcomes for children. Roles and responsibilities are well defined in job descriptions. Well-developed induction process and parent education programmes support parents as children’s first teachers. Collaborative self review promotes change and improvement, leading towards a richer curriculum. Well-developed strategic and annual plans focus on improved outcomes for children. They clearly align to the Federation’s strategic goals.

The Playcentre Federation provides good-quality governance. Useful strategic and individual annual plans guide the playcentre direction. Regular communication and support between the Federation and regions throughout the restructure has supported a continued business as usual approach. There is a strong focus on Māori as priority learners from the Federation strategic plan, and in the centre plan.

Current policies and systems are in place until new systems implemented by the Federation are rolled out nationally. The playcentre philosophy, vision and documented strategic goals have been set. There is now a need to measure the impact on outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for the playcentre are to continue to strengthen the planning and evaluation of children’s learning by:

  • using the learning outcomes of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, to support parents to identify children's progress of learning over time
  • strengthening the use of te reo and tikanga Māori during sessions.

In order to improve and strengthen practice the Central Region Aotearoa Playcentre regional leaders should continue to:

  • develop, implement and monitor strategic and annual regional plans and evaluate and report on the effectiveness of these

  • monitor internal evaluation systems and processes so that alignment to strategic and annual planning meets regulatory requirements.

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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

19 June 2019

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

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 11 Female 9

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

19 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

June 2009

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.