Brightwater Playcentre - 11/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Brightwater Playcentre

How well placed is Brightwater Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Brightwater Playcentre operates under the guidance of the Nelson Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative. Parents are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the programme and centre operation. A feature of Nelson Playcentres is the provision of a whānau room. These rooms are well used by parents to rest, socialise, care for very young children and participate in training.

The playcentre operates four morning sessions a week. The supervisors hold playcentre and early childhood teacher qualifications. Many of the parents have also completed a number of the playcentre parent training courses.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the centre staff and parents have made significant progress in meeting the recommendations in the report. These related to centre self review, child assessment and planning.

This review was part of a cluster of 14 reviews in the Nelson Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are leaders of their learning. They make very good use of the well presented and resourced learning environment to decide what they want to learn and who will be part of this learning. Older children involve younger children in their play and help adults to care for them.

Adults are very responsive to children. They focus on what children are interested in and what they want to learn. They listen carefully to children, ask searching questions to help children think and develop their ideas. They make good use of their knowledge of the child, the family and the wider environment to help children connect their experiences in different contexts in meaningful ways.

Imaginative play, science and bicultural experiences are well integrated into the programme. Adults make good use of children’s interests, and their own skills and knowledge in these areas to increase children’s curiosity, confidence and enjoyment.

Self review has been well used by the supervisors to carefully consider the learning environment and where improvements can be made to enhance children’s learning and participation. Activity areas are appropriately linked and resourced. They are presented in ways that help children think about the resources and the many ways that they could be used in their play.

A feature is the under two-year-old area. The supervisors choose the resources carefully after self review, research and professional development. The area provides good, comfortable space for infants and their parents.

Child assessment and planning is useful and provides good direction for learning and teaching. Supervisors use a range of effective ways to gather parents' and children’s comments about the learning and how it could be developed further. Te reo Māori is often included in the learning stories and good links are made between Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, and the learning occurring for children.

The centre operates effectively as a parent cooperative. The supervisors and parents have high expectations for children’s learning and the role of adults in supporting this learning. Supervisors and parents make good use of the professional development and education courses offered by the association. They appreciate the support provided by their liaison officer to provide high quality learning for children and adults.

Key Next Steps for the centre

The association, supervisors and parents identified, and ERO agrees that the next key steps to improving learning outcomes for children include:

  • continuing to increase the inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori and the involvement of Māori families in the programme
  • involving parents more in child assessment, programme planning and evaluating the depth of learning occurring for children
  • embedding self review across all areas of centre operations and involving parents more.

Nelson Playcentre Association

The playcentres, with support from the association are increasing their interest in te reo and tikanga Māori, and getting to know Māori parents and their aspirations better. The re-establishment of Te Rōpū, a special group for Māori parents, is beginning to grow Māori parents’ confidence and pride in being Māori.

Playcentre environments are inviting, attractively presented, well resourced and spacious. Good use is made of self review to ensure the wide range of equipment and resources are regularly updated and build children’s creativity, confidence and resourcefulness. Centres often have a strong focus on literacy, mathematics and science.

Families are valued and provided with considerable support in their parenting role. Parent-education courses are held during playcentre sessions and the majority of parents attend. A high percentage of parents are progressing quickly through the education courses.

Children and parents are well supported by experienced and long-serving supervision team members, who have also been or still are playcentre parents. Supervision team members provide considerable support to parents to understand and put into practice:

  • the playcentre philosophy
  • cooperative ways of working and sharing responsibilities
  • the best ways to promote the learning and development of infants, toddlers and children.

Individual centres are well supported by the association executive and the liaison officers who have a good knowledge of children’s wellbeing and learning, and playcentre operation. They are committed to making playcentres work well for families.

The association and centres have a good range of policies and procedures to guide the day-to-day operation of individual playcentres. The liaison officers use their extensive knowledge of playcentre to ensure the centres provide high standards of health and safety, are well maintained and activities are well presented and interesting for children.

There continues to be significant change occurring in the structure of governance and management at association and federation levels.

Key Next Steps for the association

The association executive and ERO agree that the key next steps for the association to continue to provide positive outcomes for all children include:

  • sustaining and strengthening of Māori perspectives in the curriculum and supporting Māori children to experience success as Māori
  • developing ways to ensure that children of Pacific heritage and other cultures maintain connections to their cultural identity and language
  • establishing an ongoing, well understood self-review process that monitors progress in achieving the strategic goals and improving learning and teaching
  • reviewing and strengthening the appraisal process for liaison officers and supervisors to ensure all children experience high-quality learning
  • establishing strategic direction for the organisation that clearly shows the association's priorities for its long-term development and sustainability.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

11 May 2015

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


Richmond, Nelson

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

Girls 14;

Boys 13

Ethnic composition




Other ethnicities





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

11 May 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

April 2012


Education Review

August 2007


Education Review

December 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.