Island Bay Playcentre - 30/05/2014

1 Evaluation of Island Bay Playcentre

How well placed is Island Bay 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.


Island Bay Playcentre is one of 20 parent-led early childhood centres administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). A council oversees operation at governance level and an executive committee provides the adult education programme, guidance and support for members. Two centre supporters are employed by the executive to visit playcentres and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Parents share the duties associated with implementing the programme.

Playcentre philosophy recognises parents as the best first teachers of their children and emphasises the importance of child-initiated play in mixed-age sessions. Acknowledging Te Tiriti o Waitangi is an integral part of this philosophy.

Island Bay Playcentre is a long-established early childhood service. Members place high value on maintaining a strong sense of community so families can grow and learn through play together. Five mixed-age sessions and one piri pono session, for children aged two and under, are held each week. The roll is full and a waiting list is in place. The age bands of children are evenly represented.

The majority of members hold playcentre course two, or higher, qualifications. This enables them to run all sessions as a parent group with more experienced members taking a coordination role. All members are expected to share responsibility for management through working in teams attached to office roles.

Since the September 2010 ERO review, this service has been relicensed under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. Ongoing renovation of the building has supported this process. The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

This review was part of a cluster of 20 reviews of centres in the Wellington Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

A real sense of family and community is evident. There is an ongoing focus on building positive and enduring relationships in the centre and beyond. Members are friendly and welcoming. Children are settled, cooperative and happy learners. Continuing to strengthen inclusive practice should support effective provision for a diverse range of learning needs.

Members maintain good levels of purposeful engagement with children. They are responsive, allowing children to take the lead and supporting them to explore and learn through their play. Literacy and numeracy are integrated into the programme in meaningful, playbased ways. Children’s language development is fostered.

High ratios of adults to children promote opportunities for one-to-one interaction. Good levels of sustained and independent play are evident. Members should continue to work on promoting child-initiated play and experiences that support children to persevere in their choice of activity.

Children are able to access a range of learning materials. Indoor play spaces include large work areas. The outdoor environment provides a range of physical and sensory play experiences. Members regularly reflect on the quality of the learning environment.

There is a continuing focus on the development of the outdoor play space. Maximising children’s access to the learning materials available should strengthen opportunities for exploration and broadening of their interests.

Parents are committed to establishing a more bicultural perspective in the programme. Members show commitment to integrating te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into their work with children. A strategic goal includes actions to strengthen practice and links with the local Māori community.

Long-established links with the adjacent primary school are valued and actively maintained. These provide good support for families making the transition from playcentre to school. Poroporoaki support children leaving the centre and strengthen the liaison between the two services. School visits are undertaken to meet the needs of individual children.

Careful consideration has been given to providing challenge and promoting a real sense of teamwork to support older children’s participation at playcentre. Continuing to develop understanding of the links between early childhood and primary school programmes should help members to build their approach.

There is good provision for infants and toddlers. They are well supported to explore the play spaces and learning materials. There is a variety of resources specifically for their use. Their needs at playcentre are discussed daily at session evaluations.

Piri pono sessions provide good opportunities for parents of very young children to develop their understanding of playcentre and early learning. Members agree that planning for the learning of children in this group needs to be strengthened.

Since the 2010 ERO review, professional development has been undertaken to enhance members’ approach to planning for learning. Development is continuing. Session-planning meetings enable parents to share their aspirations for, and the developing interests and strengths of, their children. Daily session-evaluation meetings include purposeful discussion about individual children’s learning and participation.

A visual approach to recording what happens each day in sessions supports continuity of some activities over time. There is an ongoing focus on supporting new members to notice, recognise and respond to children’s learning.

Evaluation of sessions should be improved to better plan for the significant learning of individuals. Refining assessment records so children’s progress in learning is more of a focus, would also be a suitable development step. Increasing the visibility of children’s termly goals should strengthen the focus on meeting individual needs.

Adults take pride in being part of a learning community alongside their children. A core group of experienced members takes leadership roles that effectively support the participation and emergent leadership of others. High levels of cooperation and collaboration are evident. Members are reflective and committed in their roles.

Understanding of self review to promote improvement is developing, with some links to strategic goals evident. Leaders agree that further work is necessary to support common understanding and a collaborative approach to its use.

The association provides a range of support and training for members. The centre supporter provides regular and valued face-to-face feedback and aid as needed. A more evaluative approach based on identified priorities, and growing members’ practice, should better promote and sustain improvement over time.

Comprehensive, up-to-date written policies and procedures guide office holders in their management roles, and members in planning and implementing an appropriate programme.

The association is both improvement and future focused. The systematic review of, and plan to, restructure governance and management are being carefully worked through to support a new and more sustainable future for the organisation and individual centres.

Key Next Steps

Members should:

  • explore ways of strengthening child-led learning
  • continue to strengthen the bicultural perspective in the learning programme
  • strengthen their approach to assessment, planning and evaluation.

The association should:

  • continue to develop centre support processes based on identified needs and priorities
  • support members to develop their understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership
  • provide leadership to members to help them define their understanding of success for Māori, as Māori
  • support members to strengthen their understanding and use of self review to promote improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Island Bay 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 members should:

  • include earthquake hazard checks in their daily routines
  • review procedures relating to the administration of long-term medication for children.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

30 May 2014

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Island Bay, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

29 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 34,

Boys 32

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Cook Islands Māori




Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2

1 : 1

Better than minimum requirements


Over 2

1 : 3

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

30 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

September 2010


Education Review

November 2007


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.