Deanwell Playcentre - 10/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Deanwell Playcentre

How well placed is Deanwell 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.


Deanwell Playcentre is a parent cooperative early childhood service situated in the Hamilton suburb of Deanwell. It operates under the umbrella of the Waikato Playcentre Association and caters for children aged from birth to 6 years. It is licensed for 30 children, including 15 children up to the age of two. The current roll of 15 children come from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. In response to parent demand the centre has recently increased the number of sessions to three per week.

The centre leadership team includes a president, treasurer and secretary, all of whom are volunteers. The Waikato Playcentre Association provides a centre support worker, (CSW), who visits the playcentre on a regular basis to support the work of the volunteers. The centre operates a mixed-age group programme where all children play together regardless of age. Parents at the centre are active in gaining the qualifications offered by the association. This increases their understanding of how children play and learn. The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO. They have made good progress in responding to the recommendations of the 2012 ERO report.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation and the Waikato Playcentre Association (WPA) continue to provide effective governance, strategic direction, management support and adult education programmes for the centre. This support and training is underpinned by the WPA philosophy 'Whānau tupu ngātahi - families growing together'. The centre has developed its own philosophy also which is strongly aligned to that of the association.

The association’s strategic commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi is evident in its bicultural leadership model. High value is placed on productive partnerships with Māori whānau, and funding is made available for related professional development. The association’s commitment to Ka Hikitia has resulted in clear expectations for continuing to build members’ understanding, confidence and competence in te ao Māori.

This review was part of a cluster of 8 playcentre reviews in the Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children pursue their interests and are joined by adults who foster their learning and oral language development. With the support of adults, they access resources and enthusiastically engage with the play equipment, both indoors and outdoors. There are many opportunities for them to explore and extend their physical skills in the outdoor environment.

Parents have established a warm, welcoming centre culture where manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are strongly evident. Children and adults participate in the growing, preparing and sharing of kai that enhances a sense of belonging and wellbeing for children and their whānau. Families of diverse cultures are actively included as part of the centre family.

The use of te reo Māori is highly evident and aspects of tikanga Māori are promoted. The centre actively participates in Māori cultural events organised by the association, such as Matariki and the annual hāngi. The importance of making whakapapa connections is acknowledged and followed up for all new families.

The centre programme is strongly underpinned by the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. There is a good balance between child initiated and parent led activities. Art and creativity, extending physical coordination and skills, participating in waiata and music, and learning about the local community and children's place within it are evident within the curriculum. Literacy and numeracy are naturally integrated throughout all learning activities.

Through their commitment to ongoing upskilling via playcentre development programmes, parents have a good understanding of how children learn through play. They use Te Whāriki as a basis for identifying and responding to children's learning. A recent focus on appropriate activities to support and extend older children has led to improved outcomes for this group. Positive relationships with the adjacent primary school are enhancing children's transition to school.

Parent members engage in meaningful discussions about children's learning at end-of-session evaluations and centre meetings. They plan to extend and add complexity to children's play in response to children's current interests. Despite the challenges of time and resources for busy parents, there are examples of high quality records of children's learning and development.

Parents use a range of spontaneous and strategic self-review to bring about ongoing centre improvement. Their current self-review topic on the role of the adult in playcentre is relevant and already leading to improvement.

Centre leaders have overcome challenges in working as a team and, with the support of the CSW, they have responded positively to professional development in effective relationships and communication. They now give and receive positive feedback, collaboratively organise, problem solve, complete playcentre tasks, and effectively promote the playcentre in the wider community. This has led to a recent increase in membership and clearer understandings and expectations, and ensured that the centre is sustainable for the future.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and ERO agree that they should:

  • continue to strengthen parent capacity in te reo Māori so that they can have short, authentic conversations with their children in Māori

  • explore the curriculum with an emphasis on local Māori history and surrounding areas

  • continue to enrich the programme for children in the area of healthy food and healthy eating

  • continue to deepen members understanding of effective self-review processes

  • use self review to make ongoing improvements to the presentation of the indoor environment, including the provision of quiet spaces for infants.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

10 June 2016

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 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 6 Boys 10

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

10 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2012

Education Review

June 2009

Education Review

May 2006

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.