Greenhithe Playcentre - 07/03/2014

1 Evaluation of Greenhithe Playcentre

How well placed is Greenhithe 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.


Greenhithe Playcentre is a well established centre that runs as a parent co-operative. The centre practices are based on playcentre philosophy of families learning and growing together. The centre is open for five sessions per week and caters for children from birth to school age. Since the 2010 ERO report, the old Greenhithe Playcentre building has been replaced with a purpose-built facility, the outdoor play area has been remodelled, and centre resources have been upgraded.

The playcentre is part of a very vibrant community in Greenhithe. It is an active part of the education network that includes the local school. There have been times when children from diverse cultures have attended, with the current role comprising mainly those of New Zealand European ethnicity. The members are developing their understanding about children’s cultural backgrounds and how to share and promote these in the programme to affirm and celebrate diversity. Both men and women members are involved in the operation of the playcentre and have opportunities for leadership.

The centre operates as part of the North Shore Playcentre Association. The association is the umbrella organisation for 21 playcentres situated in North Auckland. Many of these centres are semi-rural. The association manages and distributes funding to the centres and provides a training programme for parents/whānau to achieve playcentre qualifications. It also has good systems to support centre members to manage the playcentres and to provide educational programmes for children. The association is currently reviewing many aspects of its operations to help reduce the administrative workload for its members.

This review was part of a cluster of seven reviews in the North Shore Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Greenhithe Playcentre is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The centre has a dedicated group of members who are committed to maintaining ongoing learning through course training and workshops. This knowledge enables them to provide a high quality child-focused programme that effectively meets the learning needs of children and the aspirations of parents. Course three qualifications are promoted as a long-term goal to raise the quality of sessions, and to retain members’ interest and involvement in the playcentre.

Children are engaged and settled in the programme. They are co-operative and imaginative in their play. Well developed language and social skills enable them to interact capably with adults and with each other. Interactions are at the children’s pace and are focused on extending their interests. Opportunities are provided for children to develop their thinking and problem-solving skills. Centre members work skilfully alongside children encouraging their independence and providing practical support as needed. Children’s ideas are respected and incorporated into programmes.

The learning environment is richly resourced and provides a wide range of indoor and outdoor experiences for children to enjoy. The complexity of equipment and the layout of the learning environment allow members to offer programmes that challenge infants, toddlers and older children’s learning.

Biculturalism is also evident in the programme and is reflected in displays, resources and activities that value Māori culture. A bicultural partnership with Māori whānau is evident in association operations. The management team has a strong commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to building both adults’ and children’s familiarity with te reo and tikanga Māori. Over time programmes have been developed to celebrate the various cultures, values and languages of children who have attended.

Members have consistent input into planning a useful curriculum based on what they collectively observe of children’s interests during sessions. Regular evaluation of the quality of sessional and term planning enables the continuity of group and individual learning opportunities. Ongoing LEAP (learning, evaluation, assessment and planning) meetings have ensured that the curriculum is extended from one session to the next, providing continuity of learning for children.

There has been a successful focus on retaining four year old children’s attendance at playcentre. ‘Big Kids’ sessions, designed to extend children’s development, give older children opportunities to interact with their own age group and prepare for them for their transition to school. Members have established meaningful relationships with the local school and some neighbouring schools. Graduation traditions provide children with a sense of anticipation and celebration around progressing to the next stage of learning as they prepare to go to school.

Self review was identified as being well established and comprehensive in the 2010 ERO report. Since that time self-review processes have continued to be practised. However, current members have just begun to document these self-review processes more consistently. The establishment of a comprehensive self review folder could now be used to help maintain and improve practices over time.

The association management team takes responsibility for specific tasks relating to the function of the association. Management team members are committed to and enthusiastic about their involvement in playcentre. They actively foster emergent leadership to help sustain the association and demonstrate the professional leadership necessary to help the association respond to change, make decisions and manage issues as they arise. The North Shore Playcentre Association provides effective support to help this playcentre remain well placed to provide positive learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre members agree that members should continue to consider how to best sustain centre knowledge and practices across the new playcentre team.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Greenhithe 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 Greenhithe Playcentre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

7 March 2014

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Greenhithe, 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 18

Boys 14

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Review team on site

October 2013

Date of this report

7 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2010


Education Review

August 2007


Education Review

June 2004

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.