Horahora Playcentre - 06/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Horahora Playcentre

How well placed is Horahora 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.


Horahora Playcentre is open for two sessions each week for up to 19 children between birth and school age. Most children are Māori and whakapapa to hapū in Northland. In addition, SPACE Northland offers two sessions each week for a group of parents and their infants.

The Playcentre philosophy values parents/whānau as the first and best educators of their children. They take on roles and responsibilities that contribute to the running of the centre. This structure offers opportunities for emergent leadership.

In the past two years the centre has had a significant growth in membership and has upgraded the building and outdoor area. Many parents/whānau are currently enrolled in Playcentre adult education programmes. They have responded positively to areas for development identified in ERO's 2014 report, which included strengthening curriculum and self-review processes.

The centre is part of the Northland Playcentre Association, which provides governance and management support for 31 Playcentres in Northland. The Association provides systems and adult education programmes to help members manage centres and support their children's learning. A centre support worker (CSW) regularly visits each centre. The Association also provides education support for five Playcentres in the Far North.

Playcentre Aotearoa is in the process of a national restructure. It is expected that a new regional manager and centre support personnel will be appointed towards the end of 2017.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 Playcentre reviews in the Northland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children at Horahora Playcentre have a strong sense of wellbeing and show pride in being part of their centre. They develop friendships and positive relationships with adults and other children. Older children participate in collaborative and imaginative play. Tuakana/teina relationships amongst children are promoted well.

Children have fun, are encouraged to explore resources and are able to make choices about how and where they play. Parents/whānau work with and alongside each other’s children. There are good examples of adults using open questions and rich vocabulary to prompt and extend children’s thinking and language development.

The outdoor environment supports children to explore and build their physical skills. The indoor environment is spacious and creatively presented, and provides a good range of learning resources. A specific area contains a selection of equipment suitable for infants.

Te reo me ōna tikanga Māori are integrated throughout the programme and centre environment. A key group of centre members leads and models this integration and learning. They support and enhance adults' and children's knowledge of tikanga and Māori values.

Good structures are in place to support parents/whānau to improve programme planning, assessment and evaluation in ways that align with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Group and individual learning experiences are planned for each session and recorded in a day-book. Assessment records show children's programme experiences and their learning progress over time.

Centre members work well as a team, encourage emergent leadership and share decision making. They place children at the heart of what they do and have a strong commitment to continuous improvement. Members use internal evaluation to identify what is working well and what improvements are needed. They could now record the positive outcomes for children that happen as a result of changes made.

Programme documentation shows that SPACE Northland facilitators plan flexible programmes to support parents' and infants' learning. As the SPACE programme progresses, facilitators explain the learning that happens as part of infants' play experiences. They foster parents' increased understanding of young children's learning very well. Day-book and individual assessment records show parents' increasing knowledge as they begin to record what they notice about their children's learning.

The centre support worker (CSW) is aware of the strengths and needs of the centre. Her support helps members to foster positive learning outcomes for children. The CSW provides good leadership to sustain improvement and growth. Centre members appreciate that the CSW is available to answer their questions and share information that adds to their collective knowledge.

The Association continues to provide a sound management framework to assist members in managing their centres. Centre members' leadership and increased participation in adult education courses help to sustain the Association and centre viability. The governance board works collaboratively to share information with centre members as they respond to changes, including the national restructure.

Key Next Steps

Next steps for centre members are to:

  • build the capacity of all parents/whānau to contribute to the curriculum for children and centre operations.

To enhance current practices in all Northland Playcentres, the new regional manager and support personnel should assist centre members to:

  • build their knowledge of te ao Māori, increase their bicultural understandings and promote ongoing education success for Māori children, as Māori
  • document and evaluate progress towards strategic goals
  • strengthen internal evaluation to guide ongoing improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Horahora 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 Horahora Playcentre will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

6 October 2017 

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


Woodhill, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

19 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       19
Boys      15

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent led

Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

6 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

May 2006

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.