Dinsdale Playcentre - 10/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Dinsdale Playcentre

How well placed is Dinsdale 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.


Dinsdale Playcentre is a parent cooperative early childhood service operating under the umbrella of the Waikato Playcentre Association (WPA) and is affiliated to the New Zealand Playcentre Federation. They provide the centre with effective governance, strategic direction, management support and adult education programmes.

The centre's philosophy is well aligned to the WPA philosophy 'Whānau tupu ngātahi - families growing together'. This includes a strategic commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi and places high value on productive partnerships with Māori whānau.

There is a strong emphasis on parents and children learning together through play in a safe and supportive environment. The centre is has a stable roll and is licensed to cater for 25 children including 15 up to two years of age. There are a number of mixed-age sessions and a recently added tuakana session was established in response to older children’s comments and needs.

Since the 2013 ERO report the centre has made very good progress with the areas for development. Recent upgrades to the building have significantly enhanced the learning and care environment for adults and children. The centre is located on spacious and well maintained grounds.

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

The Review Findings

Babies, toddlers and young children, and their parents and whānau demonstrate high levels of enjoyment, belonging and wellbeing. There are many opportunities for all children to make choices and explore their interests alongside highly supportive and interested adults. Māori tamariki and their whānau model culturally responsive practices. Other parents benefit from learning in the presence of whānau. The cultures of all children are valued and parents share their knowledge during sessions. All children enjoy responsive care from parents and other adults. Breastfeeding mothers have quiet and comfortable spaces to feed their babies.

Young children demonstrate high levels of social skills as they include younger siblings and other children in their play. They are able to express their ideas, opinions and creativity through complex play and projects over time. Adults are skilled at recognising and responding to young children's strengths and interests. An example of this is the way adults respond to children's comments and emerging interests. A planned session to meet their learning needs and trips and excursions into the wider community are some examples of how parents extend and enrich young children's learning.

Babies and toddlers are well integrated into the programme. The natural contribution babies and toddlers make to relationships in the centre is significant. Their responsiveness to their brothers and sisters, as well as other children and adults is reciprocated and mutually beneficial for all. These crucial and early relationships promote trusting and respectful behaviours among babies, toddlers and young children. Parents and whānau carefully monitor babies and toddlers to ensure that their specific needs are met and home routines are followed as much as possible.

Funding is made available for related professional development and the association’s use of Ka Hikitia has resulted in clear expectations for members to build their understanding, confidence and competence in te ao Māori. A weekly session on te reo and tikanga Māori hosted by the centre, aims to build parent's knowledge and capability. This session is open to members from the wider playcentre community.

Adults plan, prepare and present a wide range of high quality equipment and activities before and during the session. All resources are accessible to children. The centre has become a place of choice for parents and whānau whose children have special requirements for their nutrition. Members have developed and documented a wider understanding and clear expectations for managing food in the centre. This has resulted in a highly inclusive environment for these children and they confidently participate in the life of the centre. Adults emphasise healthy food and physical activity for all children. This has had a positive outcome on the quality of food being brought into the centre.

Centre leaders have established and sustained a culture of shared leadership, which is highly effective, includes collective decision-making and engages the skills of all centre members. There is a high proportion of members with advanced playcentre training qualifications and they all participate in ongoing course work. Parents expressed appreciation for the positive and trusting interactions and relationships amongst adults and children.

There is a good understanding of self review for continuous improvement and development. This has resulted in the delegation of clear roles and responsibilities, regular policy review and improvements to monitoring and evaluation of the way children learn and how adults plan.

Key Next Steps

There is now a need to strengthen strategic planning to align with WPA strategic goals and the centre philosophy. This should contribute to the sustainability of current centre initiatives and promote positive outcomes for all parents and their children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Dinsdale 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 Dinsdale Playcentre will be in four 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

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 24 Girls 14

Ethnic composition



Cook Island Māori






Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

10 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

February 2010

Education Review

November 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.