Kawakawa Playcentre - 05/11/2015

1 Evaluation of Kawakawa Playcentre

How well placed is Kawakawa 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.


Kawakawa Playcentre is a parent cooperative for whānau living in the rural district of Kawakawa. It is part of the Mid Northland Playcentre Association which provides support systems and parent education programmes. The national Playcentre organisation is in the process of a significant restructure. This is likely to have an impact on the role and structure of the local Association.

The Playcentre philosophy recognises and acknowledges parents as the first and best educators of their children. Centre members join the centre with the purpose of supporting each other, promoting their children’s learning, and enjoying time together. Centre members who have good training levels manage the operation of the centre and encourage new members to be involved.

The centre is open for three sessions a week and is licensed for 30 children including up to 8 who are under 2 years of age.

Since ERO’s 2012 review, centre members have focused on increasing roll numbers and improving the safety of the outside playground.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from warm and supportive interactions with adults and social relationships with other children. They move freely between the spacious inside and outside areas and engage in tuakana/teina roles with their siblings and other children.

Adults know each other, the children and other families very well. They recognise the importance of building and maintaining responsive relationships. They also carefully consider children's care and how to help them achieve positive learning outcomes. There is a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging in the centre environment.

Oral language skills are supported through adult conversations with children and information sharing about children’s strengths and needs. Adults work closely alongside children to support their ongoing discovery and physical challenge in play. Experienced adults are skilled in facilitating children’s exploration, and using questions to prompt their thinking.

Individual portfolios record children’s learning and development. There are some good examples of narratives where the child’s learning and progress are identified. Programmes could be strengthened by better documenting how they are planned, implemented and evaluated.

Links with the community are important to the centre. These links include relationships with the primary schools that children attend to support children’s transition to school.

Karakia at meal times and waiata sung alongside children help to build familiarity with te reo and tikanga Māori. Greater use of te reo Māori could grow through increasing the use of existing centre resources. Centre members could also consider locally provided learning opportunities for te reo Māori.

Centre members are effective in promoting and providing direction for the centre. They have set goals and established networks to raise the centre profile in the community, and are working to build support and professional practice. They are aware that self review needs to be ongoing and responsive to identified priorities, and to support strategic decisions about the Playcentre’s future direction. This process could be strengthened by aligning their strategic plan to an annual plan and measuring their progress against the centre’s goals.

Association leaders should now consider ways of providing more timely and in-depth support to meet the centre’s needs when required.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that the next steps for the Playcentre include:

  • continuing Playcentre parent education courses and reviewing Ministry of Education resources to strengthen the promotion of bicultural practices
  • continuing to review the learning environment to include natural materials, te reo Māori, and artefacts and resources to reflect the heritage of local iwi and hapū and other cultures
  • reviewing the centre’s philosophy statement to ensure it is being implemented consistently.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

5 November 2015

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


Kawakawa, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 7

Girls 7

Ethnic composition





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

5 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2012


Education Review

February 2009


Education Review

December 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.