Feilding Playcentre - 24/02/2015

1 Evaluation of Feilding Playcentre

How well placed is Feilding 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.


Feilding Playcentre is one of 19 administered by the Central Districts Playcentre Association (the association). This review is one of ten undertaken by ERO in the association’s playcentres during Term 4, 2014.

The centre is open for five mornings per week and caters for children from birth to six years of age. One session is planned specifically for children aged up-to-two years. Responsibility for day-to-day operations is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Two paid team leaders support parents and whānau to develop and implement the daily programme. Professional advice and feedback to strengthen members’ practice is provided by a liaison officer employed by the association.

At Feilding Playcentre there is a regular turnover of members due to families’ employment at RNZAF Base Ohakea and in the dairy industry. Continued effort is put into recruiting new members and maintaining qualification levels to ensure operational requirements can be met. At the time of this review, most centre parents are involved in Playcentre training. A high proportion of children are aged under 3 years. Recent success in obtaining financial grants has contributed to improvement of the outdoor environment and resourcing.

Playcentres' philosophy statement, 'whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together’, encapsulates the value this organisation places on families and whānau working collectively to support children’s learning.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is currently reviewing the organisational structure of Playcentre across New Zealand. The outcomes of this review may result in changes to operation at centre level.

The Review Findings

The team leaders work effectively to engage children’s interest and support their involvement in activities. High ratios of adults promote opportunities for one-to-one interactions. Increasing members’ use of specific strategies that support learning through play, should strengthen the reflection of Playcentre philosophy in the programme.

Adults view children as competent and capable of leading their own learning. Experiences are planned that effectively support children’s self management, independence and creative self expression. Children are confident, cooperative and friendly.

The playcentre environment provides good support for development of a variety of learning experiences for children. A wide range of well-organised resources are freely available for them to access and investigate. The outdoor area continues to be improved to support physically active play and adventure. Further developing displays to enable children to see their work and reflect on their achievements would be an appropriate development step.

Centre practices are inclusive and suitably supportive of families with diverse needs, backgrounds and aspirations. There is good knowledge of local agencies and strategies that promote participation of children with special needs. Team leaders express commitment to learning more about other cultures and ethnic groups to support programme development.

Infants and toddlers are valued participants in daily sessions, learning alongside older children. They are comfortable and well cared for in the mixed-age session. A suitable range of materials and activities supports their participation and interests.

The playcentre has identified a strategic focus to improve adults’ and children’s knowledge and use of Māori language and protocols in the centre. The association should give priority to supporting members to define their understanding of success for Māori as Māori.

Members’ welcome the adjacent primary school’s initiatives to involve the centre in aspects of school life. Regular visits are supporting children’s knowledge of school and how it works. As a development step, members should seek to understand the links between early childhood and primary school programmes to inform their approach to supporting children’s transition from the playcentre.

Children’s developing interests are regularly discussed and noted. Term meetings provide formal opportunities for parents to share their aspirations for their children. Individual portfolios record some special learning moments linked to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Increased participation of parents in assessment and planning for learning is encouraged. A stronger focus on identifying and supporting individual children’s significant learning and progress should strengthen the quality of programme.

Strong and committed leadership by a core group of members and the team leaders is supporting good practice and positive of outcomes for children. Mutual support and an emphasis on relationship building foster parents’ confidence and willingness to become involved. There is a need to review operational procedures and policies at centre level to ensure documentation is up to date and reflects agreed ways of working. More regular review of the philosophy should also be useful given the high turnover of parents. Promoting awareness of Playcentre in the local community should help to build the roll.

Members’ understanding and collective participation in self review is developing and resulting in positive changes to outcomes for children. Good leadership for self review is evident. Developing collective understanding of the newly developed evaluative framework for long-term review, and knowledge of best practice, should strengthen members’ approach to promoting improvement.

Useful support is provided by the association. This includes written guidelines and systems for managing finance and legislative obligations. Work is being completed to improve employment practices. Regular visits from the liaison officer assist members in their management and teaching roles. A review of the liaison officer role is being undertaken to support an improved approach.

The appraisal process, particularly for those employed as team leaders and liaison officers, needs further development. The provision of ongoing professional, constructive feedback based on observations of practice, and linked to identified needs and goals, should add rigour.

Key Next Steps

At association level, the priorities are the further development of:

  • members’ understanding of assessment, planning ,evaluation and self review
  • liaison support so it is consistently effective in identifying and responding to centre needs
  • appraisal for employees
  • members’ understanding about te ao Māori
  • understanding around the concept of success for Māori as Māori
  • strategies that promote awareness of Playcentre in the local community.

At centre level, the priorities are:

  • developing all members’ participation in assessment, planning , evaluation and self review
  • reviewing the centre philosophy
  • revising the operational framework.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Feilding 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.

To improve current practice, the service provider should ensure that children cannot access equipment that is sited on non-compliant impact surfacing.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance.

The service provider must ensure:

  • suitable human resource management practices are implemented, including a system of regular appraisal[Licensing criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7]
  • Education Act requirements for police vetting of employees are consistently met.[Education Act 1989, sections 78CB and CC]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Feilding Playcentre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

24 February 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 22,

Girls 15

Ethnic composition





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

24 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2012


Education Review

February 2005


Accountability Review

August 2001

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.