Blenheim Playcentre - 21/08/2013

1 Evaluation of Blenheim Playcentre

How well placed is Blenheim 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.


Blenheim Playcentre is part of a cluster of five parent-led centres that operate under the umbrella of the Marlborough Playcentre Association (the association). It is located on the grounds of Whitney Street School in central Blenheim. The centre offers five morning sessions each week and is licensed for 30 children up to five years of age, including 15 aged up to two.

The centre is well supported by the association. Support workers, team leaders, tutors and facilitators provide professional advice and guidance for team members. They model effective planning skills and teaching strategies. Clear overarching policies support centre operation. The association is responsible for the recruitment, appointment and appraisal of all paid staff.

The centre's philosophy of 'child-initiated free uninterrupted play' and strong networks for families is evident in the programme. Members support each other and learn together. Parents are valued as first educators and all parents have, or are working towards, playcentre qualifications.

Since the June 2010 ERO report the team has effectively responded to the areas for improvement.

The Review Findings

Children and parents are warmly welcomed. Children confidently engage in play in a very well-resourced environment. They are able to experiment, be creative, use their imagination and develop a range of physical skills. Children play cooperatively and learn alongside, and from each other. Younger children are well supported by older children.

Interactions are respectful, nurturing and supportive. Adults engage in conversations with children to extend their play. Children are confident to approach adults to inquire and share their achievements. Children and parents have fun together.

A specific area for children up to two provides a safe space for them to play with resources appropriate to their age.

The programme is responsive to children's emerging interests. It is clearly linked to the strands and principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children are able to follow their own interests and strengths. These form the basis for group learning themes and excursions. Literacy and numeracy skills and science concepts are introduced.

Parents discuss each session to evaluate the programme and use of play areas. This enables children's emerging interests and learning to continue from one session to the next.

Profile books and learning stories capture children's involvement and engagement in centre activities. Special moments are celebrated. Team leaders model how to write learning stories and this is increasing parents' confidence to record and extend their child's learning. Team leaders acknowledge that continuing to develop all team members' understanding of assessment and evaluation is an on-going focus.

Inclusive bicultural practices are evident. These are reflected through some use of te reo Māori, waiata and karakia and a good range of resources. Increased confidence in the use of te reo Māori has been identified by the team as an area for further development and is a current focus of self review.

Parents are encouraged and assisted to take on leadership roles. A collaborative approach values parents and the knowledge and skills they bring to the centre. Parents working towards a playcentre qualification are well supported and their achievements celebrated.

A comprehensive strategic plan provides clear direction and focus. A sound framework for self review is in place. It informs decision making and is focused on improving outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Team members and ERO have identified that there is a need to continue to:

  • strengthen their confidence in using te reo me nga tikanga Māori
  • develop assessment and evaluation knowledge and skills.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie
National Manager Review Services (Acting) Central

21 August 2013 

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

30 children, including up to 15 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23, Girls 22

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

21 August 2013

Most recent ERO reports


Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

April 2017

Education Review

April 2004

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.