Kawakawa Playcentre - 20/12/2018

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

Kawakawa Playcentre must address significant hazards to children's safety in the outdoor area. Further development of assessment, planning and evaluation processes are required to better promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Kawakawa Playcentre operates as a parent cooperative and is licensed for 30 children, including 10 up to the age of two years. There are currently 11 children enrolled at the centre.

The centre is part of the newly established Northern North Island Playcentre Region. Regional systems support centre members to manage their centres and to provide educational programmes for their children. Playcentre personnel also provide training programmes for parents/whānau to achieve Playcentre qualifications.

Programmes for tamariki are underpinned by the Playcentre philosophy of parents and tamariki playing and learning together.

The 2015 ERO report identified that centre members were effective in promoting and providing direction for the centre. It also noted that the programmes could be strengthened by better documenting how they are planned, implemented and evaluated. Key next steps also included continuing Playcentre parent education, and reviewing the centre's philosophy to ensure it is being implemented consistently.

Since that time, Playcentre has undergone a significant restructure, and education training courses were suspended for some time. The number of families actively involved in this centre has decreased, and parents who held playcentre qualifications have moved on. The centre faces ongoing challenges with small numbers of families attending, completing requirements, meeting Playcentre expectations, and maintaining the premises. Aspects of the playground require significant upgrading to meet current playground safety standards. Hazards to the safety of children in this environment require prompt attention.

This review was part of a cluster of 12 reviews in the Northern North Island Playcentre Region.

The Review Findings

Children are able to make choices about their involvement in a wide range of activities. They are able to experiment and take risks. Children follow their interests at their own pace, supported by adults who encourage their efforts and celebrate their achievements. They enjoy friendships with their peers and play cooperatively.

Older children support younger children in their play, taking turns and sharing resources. Children and parents benefit from being able to spend time with others and make use of the good quality resources available. They experience a sense of belonging in this child-focused environment.

The small number of families currently involved in the centre means that most of the tasks and requirements related to operating the centre fall to the supervisor and administrator. The supervisor models ways of working with children and setting activities. She works hard to complete learning stories that record children's participation in activities and their play with and alongside their peers.

The primary focus of current members is to increase the number of families involved in the centre and ensure its ongoing viability. Centre leaders understand the importance of implementing the Playcentre organisation's systems and processes. They are beginning to implement internal evaluation processes and are considering ways to strengthen links between the programme of activities they provide and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Centre members appreciate the support provided by the Playcentre Region through regular visits by the Centre Support Worker (CSW) and access to learning opportunities. However, the centre struggles to maintain the premises and cannot always meet qualification requirements. Sessions do not always qualify for funding. The centre requires support to address significant health and safety issues.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that the priorities for development are to:

  • plan strategies to support parents to engage more fully in children's learning and the operations of the centre

  • develop clear, shared approaches to assessment, planning and evaluation to ensure children's learning is more visible in curriculum documentation and in the environment

  • develop and consolidate internal evaluation processes.

The regional manager (acting) and support personnel agree that key next steps include:

  • implementing and embedding the revised Playcentre training programme

  • establishing a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of centre support systems, roles and processes.

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

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to the curriculum, premises, and health and safety. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • safety and suitability of outdoor surfaces and equipment

  • ensuring that hazards to the safety of children are eliminated, isolated or minimised.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2, PF5, HS12

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Kawakawa Playcentre will be within two years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

20 December 2018

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 6 Girls 5

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

20 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2015

Education Review

August 2012

Education Review

February 2009

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.