Belmont Playcentre - 02/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Belmont Playcentre

How well placed is Belmont 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.


Belmont 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 governance and management support for the parent committee at Belmont Playcentre. A kaitautoko, a centre support person is employed by the association to provide guidance.

The playcentre is licensed to operate mixed age sessions for 30 children four days a week. This includes 15 children up to two years of age. One extended session for older children is provided weekly. At the time of the review there were two Māori children enrolled.

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

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

The Review Findings

Children's active exploration through play and learning is well supported by attentive parent educators. Respectful relationships positively contribute to children's strong sense of belonging.

The service's philosophy strongly reflects the playcentre philosophy of children learning through play in a parent-led service. It is reflective of the principles and strands of Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum. A culture of care, respect and shared responsibility for supporting children's play is evident. The values aspired to are "community, friends, learning and play". This reflects members' commitment to specific, well considered priorities. 

Children participate enthusiastically in a wide range of planned and spontaneous activities. They are able to lead their own learning. They benefit from the skills and interests of members who willingly share their strengths to extend the programme. Excursions provide an extension to children's interests. Additional activities are made available to engage, challenge and support children to be successful.

All children are very well supported. Adults have shared understandings of how to respond to individuals. A positive social and emotional climate results from the responsive curriculum.

Bicultural practice is evident. Children's language, culture and identity continues to be explored and planned for by members to promote positive outcomes.

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. Some members need additional support in identifying the significant learning evident for the child.

Members effectively engage in well considered review and evaluation activities to assist them to know about how their actions and practices impact on children. Outcomes of reviews are valued by members and are used to inform next steps and ongoing development.

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

The June 2013 ERO report identified that members should strengthen the approach to assessment planning and evaluation. It also reported a need to further develop understanding and use of internal evaluation. These aspects of practice have been positively and systematically addressed.

Key Next Steps

The association:

  • must implement rigorous annual appraisal for 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 enhance aspects of the curriculum and centre practice. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Belmont 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.

To meet requirements, the association needs to ensure the service is effectively governed and managed in accordance with good management practices by:

  • fully implementing 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 Belmont Playcentre will be in three years. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

2 June 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

39 children

Gender composition

Boys 20, Girls 19

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

2 June 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.