Hinds Playcentre - 27/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Hinds Playcentre

How well placed is Hinds 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.


Hinds Playcentre is a small, rural playcentre located on the grounds of the local school. The playcentre provides two morning sessions a week for up to 20 children. The playcentre roll fluctuates with the seasonal demands of farming. The centre is experiencing a time of regrowth with new families joining the sessions.

The sessions are led by an experienced, paid supervisor with the help of playcentre members. Playcentre parents are gaining playcentre qualifications by being involved in the adult-education training programme provided by the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association.

Hinds Playcentre is one of seven playcentres in the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association. The association is made up of a group of dedicated, paid and elected members. The association provides a framework for centre management and operations, as well as parent-education programmes and personnel to support centre members in their work with children.

The Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association is experiencing a time of change as all playcentre associations throughout New Zealand merge with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation to reduce duplication and make cost savings. This restructure will mean significant changes at the local association level.

ERO's 2012 report noted areas for review and development. These included strategic and annual planning, assessment practices, and a programme responsive to Māori culture. ERO found there had been good progress made in these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of seven playcentre reviews in the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children at Hinds Playcentre have fun in their learning. They and their families show a sense of belonging to the playcentre and the local community. Children and families are welcomed and supported.

Children are settled in their play and play well together. They have clear ideas about what they want to do and confidently make choices from a wide range of interesting and well-presented resources. Infants and toddlers are the immediate responsibility of their caregiver when attending playcentre. There is an area provided with suitable resources for this age group. In addition, very young children freely explore all areas of the playcentre and join in the activities.

Adults have positive, nurturing relationships with children. They are responsive to children's ideas and follow their lead as they play. They listen to children's ideas and extend children's thinking through extended conversations.

Children benefit from an interesting and varied programme. This includes opportunities for:

  • learning about sustainability and science

  • meaningful early literacy and mathematics experiences, such as baking

  • imaginative play

  • developing their physical and social skills

  • interesting outings to help grow a sense of belonging within the community.

The supervision team and parents are building their capability in helping children to develop knowledge and an understanding of the cultural heritages of both parties to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This includes celebrating significant events such as Mātariki, using simple te reo Māori with the children and including Māori perspectives meaningfully in play activities. They should continue to build their confidence in this area.

The supervisor is skilled and experienced, and is a good role model for parents. She is effectively implementing and refining new systems for planning arising from the association's improvements in this area.

The supervision team has a purposeful discussion before each session begins to set the direction for the day. After sessions they discuss what the children were interested in and what activities should be continued in the next session. These discussions and the written notes that are kept need a greater focus on learning. The next step is for the team to find ways to develop planning for individual children and share this with all parents.

The playcentre has identified that the centre philosophy has not been reviewed for some time. It is now timely to redevelop the playcentre philosophy to reflect the current parents' shared values and beliefs, commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and desired outcomes for children.

The playcentre supervisors and parents are improvement focused. They have used self review to make some positive changes. The process would be further improved by using evaluative questions and developing and using indicators (criteria showing what good practice looks like) at all the stages of a review. The supervision team and parents need to develop a schedule to ensure they review key aspects of the playcentre's programmes and practices over time.

There is relevant and purposeful strategic and annual planning that clearly shows the key priorities guiding the playcentre's direction. These plans should be regularly monitored.

The parents meet regularly to oversee the smooth running of the playcentre. All parents are encouraged to complete the adult-education programmes so there are enough qualified adults to run the sessions. This is an ongoing priority for the playcentre.

The Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association responded well to the issues and trends emerging from the 2012 ERO reports for its playcentres. The board is very supportive of the playcentres and provides additional support in response to their needs. It should ensure it receives evaluative reports on key aspects relating to centre support and supervisor support roles.

The board has a strategic plan with purposeful actions to help guide the association's work. This should be more formally monitored. Board members meet regularly to discuss key aspects of the smooth running of the association. They are working proactively to assist the smooth transition through the New Zealand Playcentre Federation changes. The board has an expectation that each playcentre will have its own annual plan, though these are not always in place. The association's appraisal system for the supervisors has been reinstated and needs to continue to be embedded.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for the association are to:

  • monitor the board's annual plan and support all playcentres to prepare annual plans

  • ensure it receives evaluative reports on key aspects of playcentres' operations.

The playcentre supervisors and parents at Hinds Playcentre, with the support of the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association, need to:

  • review the playcentre philosophy to include their desired outcomes for children

  • further develop self review

  • continue to refine assessment, planning and evaluation practices

  • continue to build the bicultural programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Hinds 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.

In order to improve current practice the risk-management systems for outings need strengthening. The playcentre association needs to ensure that the building is heated to meet the recommended temperatures, in particular during winter.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

27 September 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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 8

Boys: 6

Ethnic composition







Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent Led

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

27 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

March 2009

Education Review

March 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.