Clarkville Playcentre - 29/08/2019

1 Evaluation of Clarkville Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Clarkville Playcentre requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Clarkville Playcentre operates as a parent cooperative under the governance and management of the Playcentre Federation, Upper South Island Region. This centre is licensed for up to 25 children, including 10 children under two. The centre is open four mornings a week. The centre has a large outdoor area.

The playcentre employs a coordinator. Parents are rostered to help at each session. The Upper South Island Region employs a centre support person and an administrator who regularly visit the playcentre to support the parents and coordinator.

The centre's philosophy emphasises children and parents learning together and children becoming competent and confident learners and communicators. The 2016 philosophy also states that the centre will provide a safe and stimulating environment.

The centre coordinator has been employed at the centre for a number of years. Roll numbers are increasing. Nearly all children attend the playcentre one day a week and also attend other centres.

The playcentre has made limited progress to meet the recommendations in the 2014 ERO review. The only recommendation in the 2014 report met is to fill all office bearer positions. The recommendations that have not been met include, improving the quality of adult to child interactions, bicultural understanding and practices, internal evaluation and operating effectively as a parent cooperative.

In this review, ERO also identified a number of health and safety concerns. Assessment, planning and evaluation have also been identified as areas for improvement.

This review was part of a cluster of eight Playcentre reviews in the Playcentre Federation, Upper South Island Region.

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

The Review Findings

Children confidently select from a wide range of well-presented activities and resources in the indoor and outdoor areas. Adults place a strong emphasis on providing a natural environment and excursions into the wider community.

The Upper South Island Region has recently become more involved in the centre. Parents have begun to participate in the parent education programme. An internal evaluation workshop is helping adults begin to understand internal evaluation and its value in improving the quality of learning for children and adults.

Assessment, planning and evaluation is variable and depends on the parent's understanding and commitment to the process. Parents are invited to set goals for their children but there is little planning or useful monitoring of children's progress. The children's learning and the ways adults support learning are not well documented or clearly evident in the programme. Assessment, planning and evaluation processes and practices are not aligned sufficiently to Te Whāriki 2017.

The parent cooperative has yet to develop ways to regularly include and progress te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme.

Operational systems and practices to support the ongoing operation and improvement of the parent cooperative are either incomplete, new, or not well implemented. The centre now needs to:

  • focus the roles and responsibilities of the coordinator and parents more explicitly on children's learning and wellbeing

  • develop a process to implement, monitor and report against the centre's 2019 strategic plan

  • create a 2019 appraisal agreement for the coordinator

  • review and revise the centre's 2016 philosophy to ensure it reflects the centre operations and programme in 2019.

The playcentre does not have robust systems and practices for children's health and safety. These include the supervision of children, maintaining sleep records and excursions from the centre.

Key Next Steps

The Upper South Island Region, the playcentre and ERO agree that the conditions to support outcomes for children must improve. For this to occur the Upper South Island Region must provide more regular and ongoing support to increase the adult's knowledge and commitment so they can:

  • operate as an effective parent cooperative

  • make better use of the strategic plan, internal evaluation, the coordinators appraisal and the parent education programme to improve the quality of children's learning and wellbeing

  • develop a deeper understanding and knowledge of Te Whāriki 2017 to improve assessment planning and programme evaluation processes and practices

  • integrate te ao Māori into all aspects of centre life and documents

  • ensure the coordinator participates in regular appraisal.

Upper South Island Regional Governance

There continues to be significant change occurring with the playcentre's governance and management at regional and federation levels.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Clarkville 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to health and safety, and governance and management. To meet requirements the centre needs to:

  • ensure supervision of children in the indoor and outdoor areas, particularly the tennis court where children always need direct adult supervision

  • maintain records of the time each child sleeps and when checks are made by adults

  • ensure parents give prior written permission for their child's participation in excursions as well as the proposed adult to child ratio

  • maintain an ongoing programme of internal evaluation

  • undertake regular appraisal of the coordinator.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, - Reg 46; HS9; HS 17; GMA7, CMA6

Recommendations to improve practice

To improve practice the centre needs to:

  • provide a safe, comfortable space for infants not walking to lie, roll and be protected from mobile children
  • extend the risk management for excursions to include the steps to be taken to manage potential risks.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

29 August 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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 21, Girls 16

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

29 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

July 2010

Education Review

March 2007

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.