Eden/Epsom Playcentre - 25/05/2015

1. Evaluation of Eden/Epsom Playcentre

How well placed is Eden/Epsom 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.


Eden/Epsom Playcentre operates as a parent cooperative where learning programmes for children are implemented by the families who are centre members. The centre has been open for 62 years and provides for an increasingly diverse cultural community. It offers five mixed-age sessions each week for children up to six years of age.

Centre practices are based on the Playcentre philosophy of families learning and growing together. Very good training levels have been sustained over time. Currently, 20 members have Course 2 or 3 Playcentre qualifications.

Good quality practices identified in ERO’s 2008 and 2012 reports remain evident. These include adults supporting children’s learning effectively, maintaining an attractive environment and collaborative decision-making processes. In the past three years, a group of experienced and newer members has worked together to further enhance the quality of teaching and learning, curriculum implementation and long-term planning systems.

Eden/Epsom Playcentre is part of the Auckland Playcentres Association which provides Playcentre adult education, frameworks of policies and procedures and support from Association personnel. The Playcentre contributes to the make-up of the association and has representatives at Association level.

At present the Playcentre Federation is undertaking a restructure with the aim of maintaining the viability of Playcentres throughout New Zealand. This is likely to change the current structure of the Auckland Playcentres Association.

This review was part of a cluster of nine Playcentre reviews in the Auckland Playcentres Association.

The Review Findings

Infants and toddlers experience a calm, settled and well-resourced environment. They are encouraged to explore, make decisions and to learn alongside other children and adults. Older children involve themselves in meaningful and focused play. They play cooperatively with each other and express their thoughts and ideas. Children participate in sustained play and are supported to take responsibility for their learning.

Respectful and reciprocal relationships between adults and children are a feature of the programme. Adults work as a team to support and meet the needs of all children. They listen to children, respond to requests for additional resources and work alongside them to enhance their learning. Experienced members model high quality interactions and support newer members to develop their understandings about children’s learning.

Centre members are committed to strengthening the bicultural nature of the programme. They are building adults’ and children’s familiarity with, and use of te reo and tikanga Māori through waiata and simple phrases. They plan to increase the extent to which diverse cultures and languages are visible in the environment and included in the programme.

The learning programme is underpinned by the Playcentre philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Adults are highly responsive to children’s emerging interests. They contribute their ideas and strengths to enrich children’s experiences. Systems to inform planning and evaluation processes are used effectively. Children’s learning is recorded in well-presented and easily accessible individual portfolios. Portfolios capture the delight children and adults have in their experiences at the centre.

The centre is well managed. Centre members work collaboratively to promote a high level of engagement and belief in the centre’s vision. They are regularly involved in Playcentre adult education and professional development. Established mentoring and ‘buddy’ systems have resulted in a motivated, confident group of families who are strategic and reflective in their approach to centre development.

Strategic and annual plans provide long-term direction and guide centre improvement. Planned and spontaneous self review is focused on children’s learning and the ongoing sustainability of the centre. Processes to support the privacy of children and families have been reviewed and agreed practices have been established. Members are confident to seek support from Association personnel if needed.

The Association’s strategic plan provides a guide for governance and is regularly monitored. Management and governance processes are well established. The Association provides assistance for centres and appropriate Playcentre training courses. It provides regular visits every term from a curriculum and programme supporter. Association office holders are highly committed to Playcentre philosophy and to maintaining Playcentre as a valuable early childhood education option for parents/whānau.

Key Next Steps

Centre members and ERO identified that to enhance existing high quality practices members could:

  • consider ways to support older children to plan more for their own learning
  • increase te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme and environment
  • include centre families’ diverse cultures and languages more in the environment and in the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Eden/Epsom 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 Eden/Epsom Playcentre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 May 2015

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


Mt Eden, Auckland

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 26

Boys 11

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

25 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2012


Education Review

October 2008


Education Review

October 2005

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.