Darfield Playcentre - 08/03/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

The centre is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.


Darfield Playcentre is one of 46 centres administered by the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The association’s education and support teams guide parents to operate the centre. The parents’ cooperative is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the centre. The centre operates for three morning sessions each week for children aged from birth-to-school age.

The centre is situated in a rural area where there is a growing population. Since the April 2009 ERO review, the centre has continued to make good progress in improving learning outcomes for children. A new centre support person has been recently appointed.

This review was conducted as part of a cluster approach to reviews in four early childhood education services within the Canterbury Playcentre Association umbrella organisation.

The Review Findings

The playcentre philosophy is strongly expressed in the quality of relationships at all levels of the centre. Children confidently engage with other children and adults. Tuakana teina relationships are clearly evident in the way older children help care for younger children. Parents have a shared vision and purpose for their involvement in the centre. They provide strong support for new parents and children and ensure they are quickly included in the programme.

Leadership is actively modelled and promoted to support children’s learning progress. Children and parents confidently use their initiative and skills to create and extend learning opportunities. The strong links between home and centre learning help to sustain and further develop children’s curiosity and problem-solving skills.

The coordinator and parents have made very good progress in their curriculum self-review practices to increase children’s engagement and enjoyment in the programme. Self-review processes are clear, systematic and well planned. This is leading to significant improvements in the programme including science, the integration of tikanga and te reo Māori and transition to school practices. The centre’s self review identifies, and ERO agrees, that bicultural practices are an area for continued development.

Children’s learning benefits from the way the coordinator uses a range of effective approaches to extend the complexity of children’s thinking. Parents make good use of the well-resourced environment to help children develop and expand their ideas. They also make appropriate use of networks and resources in the local community to build upon children’s interests.

Infants and toddlers are well catered for in the provision of resources and activities for their age group. Parents support each other to take an active interest in the learning and development of these younger children.

Children’s profile books provide a detailed record of children’s interests, learning and progress. Learning stories clearly identify the learning that is occurring for individual children and often include directions for next learning steps. In order to continue improvement in this area, the centre should consider providing a greater focus on evaluating on children’s learning and the extent to which the programme is contributing to their learning progress.

The association provides a well-developed organisational framework for centre operations. Many parents at the centre have participated in the association’s parent education programme. This is helping them to make an increasingly productive contribution to the effectiveness of the centre.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Darfield 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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

17 children, including up to 8 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 17; Girls 12

Ethnic composition

NZ Pākehā/European




Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

8 March 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2009

December 2005

May 2003

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.