Gore Playcentre - 04/04/2014

1 Evaluation of Gore Playcentre

How well placed is Gore 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.


Gore Playcentre is located in Gore close to nearby schools. An experienced educator with parent help provides four extended-morning sessions per week for up to 25 children aged from birth-to-five years.

In 2013, the number of children attending the centre has increased because of the way the parents have actively promoted the playcentre. They have established meaningful relationships with community groups. There is now a big group of infants and toddlers and an increasing number of children continuing to stay at the centre for some sessions until they start school. The centre has plans to provide an extension programme for these children. On turning 5, children have the choice of attending one of seven schools in and around Gore.

The playcentre has made good progress since the September 2010 review. This includes a greater focus on learning in the programme.

This review was part of a cluster of 17 reviews in the Southland Playcentre Association (SPA).

The Review Findings

A key feature of Gore Playcentre is the supportive and friendly relationships between the children, educator and parents. Families of all backgrounds are made to feel very welcome. Adults know all the children well.

There is a sense of whanaungatanga and belonging in the centre. New parents, including families with babies are well supported. There has been a deliberate effort by the educator to involve fathers in the programme encouraging them to stay for parent help, leading playcentre excursions and maintaining the grounds.

ERO observed confident children who were settled and played well together in a calm, relaxed environment. Children benefit from the way the adults are attentive and immediately respond to their requests as they work alongside them. Adults have good conversations with children which help them develop skills, such as learning to use equipment independently. Adults celebrate children’s successes.

The very large outdoor area has a range of challenging equipment to support children’s physical development and skills. Children have easy access to resources that extend their play ideas. Some areas of play in the centre have been reviewed and improved to give children greater choice and opportunities for learning. For example, improvements have been made to the carpentry and family play areas.

Children enjoy a wide range of learning experiences. The group programme is developed by the educator and parents and reflects their priorities for children’s learning. For example, in 2013, children have learnt about the local community, skills for healthy living and keeping safe.

Through self review, the parents have improved the way they provide for children aged under two. New equipment and resources have been purchased. There is now a designated safe, comfortable place for babies and non-mobile infants.

The educator values and actively uses the skills and interests the parents bring to the playcentre. She supports parents and shares her expertise with them. Parents told ERO that they are now more confident to support their children’s learning. Before each session, parents discuss children’s goals and the strategies they will use to support children's learning.

The parents have developed their own playcentre philosophy in line with the SPA philosophy. This is evident in action, especially in the way adults follow the children’s lead and develop children's interests.

Parents have developed a useful strategic plan to guide their centre’s progress over the next two years. They are proactively looking at ways to ensure the sustainability of the playcentre and to be more visible in the community. A volunteer administrator in 2013 has enabled the parents to be more involved in their children’s learning.

The SPA provides strong support to the playcentre through:

  • ongoing adult education
  • twice termly visits from the playcentre liaison officer
  • advice and guidance from a Māori liaison officer
  • property and maintenance advice
  • additional funding as required
  • help to meet relicensing requirements
  • a policy and strategic planning framework
  • sound governance practices.

The SPA provides strong leadership to guide the future direction and ongoing improvement of all its centres. This includes the way association team members foster emergent leadership. Currently there are high numbers of people participating in playcentre training. The association has identified, and ERO agrees, that its next step is to improve its knowledge and understanding of self review. It then needs to support playcentres to implement effective self review.

Key Next Steps

The educator and parents have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps for Gore Playcentre are to continue to:

  • ensure planning, assessment and evaluation has a strong focus on learning
  • seek ways to strengthen the Māori dimensions in the playcentre
  • build their knowledge, understanding and use of self review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Gore 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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.

The playcentre acknowledges that they need to make risk management plans for outings more rigorous.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

4 April 2014

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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 18

Girls: 14

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

4 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2011


Education Review

May 2007


Assurance Audit

May 1988

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.