Children's Play and Recreation Centre - 08/05/2019

1 Evaluation of Children's Play and Recreation Centre

How well placed is Children's Play and Recreation Centre to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Children's Play and Recreation Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


The Children's Play and Recreation Centre is a licensed early childhood service in Dunedin Hospital. Its overall aim is to provide a safe and secure learning environment for children while they are in hospital. The playroom is open to children and parents 24 hours a day.

Two full time Hospital Play Specialists (HPS) operate the service during the week. Additional staff run the service at the weekends. All staff are registered early childhood teachers. They are experienced in the HPS role and the full time teachers have gained their HPS professional qualifications. The HPS work with children and their families on the wards and in the playroom. They work closely with the health professionals within the hospital. The HPS service is part of the Women's and Children's Health service of Dunedin Hospital, Southern District Health Board and is well supported by the hospital managers.

The centre has made good progress with most of the next steps identified in the 2016 ERO report. The next steps in this report are progressions of the work achieved.

The Review Findings

Children have safe and interesting places to play, relax and spend time with their families during their time in hospital. HPS demonstrate a strong focus on the wellbeing of children and their families. They quickly get to know the children's interests and use these contexts to respond successfully to the different needs.

HPS establish positive, reciprocal relationships with children's whānau. Meaningful plans are put in place for individual children to provide for a consistent approach across the HPS team and with parents. Continuity of learning is seen in the plans for children who are in the ward for longer periods of time. Children's languages, cultures and identities are valued and respected.

The recently developed planning approach centres on each child's wellbeing and interests. HPS then plan the strategies that will best support the intended outcomes. They could better document the impact of these strategies in the evaluation section. Appropriate links are made to the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki (2017). Improved planning is effectively guiding HPS practice to better meet the needs of children.

The HPS are improvement focused. They are in the early stages of using a useful process to guide their internal evaluation for improvement. The strategic plan clearly sets out the development priorities for the centre. ERO's evaluation identifies that short term planning would be useful if it provided more detail of who will complete what actions within a prescribed timeframe.

Other key factors contributing to positive outcomes for children include the:

  • collaborative working relationships within the HPS team, and with the multi-disciplinary team and Invercargill HPS
  • good communication systems within the HPS team and hospital staff to ensure necessary people are aware of expectations and ongoing developments regarding children's needs and progress
  • strengthened appraisal procedure that allows HPS to be more focused on improving their teaching for better outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The managers, HPS and ERO agree that key next steps are to:

  • establish the centre's valued outcomes for children to inform aspects of planning
  • extend evaluation practices to know about the impact of planning and teaching on outcomes for children (at individual level and the Play Room programme) and use this information to know how well the centre's valued outcomes for children are being achieved
  • develop short-term planning to show how the strategic goals are to be achieved and how appraisal, professional learning and development, and internal evaluation align to these goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Children's Play and Recreation Centre completed an ERO Hospital-based Education and Care 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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

8 May 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

Hospital Based Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for / notional roll

10 children, including up to 6 aged under 2

Number of hospital play specialists in the service


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

8 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2016

Education Review

November 2012

Supplementary Review

May 2009

3 General Information about Hospital-based Service Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for a hospital-based service education review is ‘How well placed is this service to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing?’

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 contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing

Pou Ārahi– how leadership is enacted to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing

Mātauranga– whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing

Tikanga whakaako– how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity, contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness ofarotake– self review and ofwhanaungatanga– 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 have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service responds to children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to two years of age.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to the methodology for ERO reviews in Hospital-based Education and Care 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 contribute to children’s learning and wellbeing and are useful to the service.