Lepperton Playcentre - 02/04/2014

1 Evaluation of Lepperton Playcentre

How well placed is Lepperton 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.


Lepperton Playcentre is a community-based service located in rural North Taranaki. The playcentre is situated adjacent to the local school and operates three mornings per week. Up to 30 children from birth to school age can attend each session. The current roll is 31 children. There has been a significant influx of new families in recent months.

The playcentre is one of 17 parent led services governed by the Taranaki Playcentre Association (the association) umbrella. The governance of these centres has recently reverted to a structure where all centre representatives contribute to association decisions and priorities.

The centre and association philosophy values children and families learning alongside each other in a safe, nurturing environment.

Regular visits by association personnel provide advice and guidance for bicultural, centre and property support. Positive relationships between playcentres and those in support roles are evident. Parents undertake playcentre training with support from association personnel.

This review was part of a cluster of 14 playcentre reviews in the Taranaki Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children and families show a positive sense of belonging. Children play cooperatively alongside each other, and are familiar with and responsive to playcentre routines and expectations. Parent educators engage children in conversations that support language and thinking. Members involve themselves in children’s play encouraging them to express their ideas. High adult to child ratios assist positive and productive interactions that are responsive and affirming.

Toddlers and babies are well catered for and demonstrate confidence with parents, other adults and children. The environment is structured so babies and toddlers have appropriate spaces to play and explore their world.

Members are encouraged and supported to take on leadership roles. Collaborative leadership that demonstrates a commitment to the association philosophy and the principles of the early childhood curriculum is evident.

Lepperton Playcentre and the association have annual plans that inform operational decisions. However, there are few links between the association and individual playcentre goals. The association’s strategic vision is yet to effectively focus on priorities for improving teaching and learning.

The 2011 ERO report identified the need to improve parent educator’s planning and evaluation practice and strengthen use of te reo and te ao Māori in programmes. While some work has been undertaken by members, these areas still require attention. The association has planned professional development for parents in 2014 on planning and evaluation. ERO agrees that this is timely, as the playcentre has yet to effectively implement current approaches to assessing and planning for children’s learning.

The association has a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi, and for this to be clearly shown in the environment. While there are some Māori words on display around the centre, consideration needs to be given as to how to increase bicultural presence visually from a child’s perspective.

The playcentre is on the same site as Lepperton Primary school. This proximity enhances children's transition to school. The playcentre parents and children have close contact with the new entrant teacher.

Parent educators’ understanding of how to effectively implement self review for improvement is in the early stage of development.

Key Next Steps

The centre has yet to fully address areas for development identified in the previous ERO report. Playcentre personnel would benefit from external support to improve and develop their understanding of:

  • identifying more clearly the learning that is occurring for children and documenting next learning steps in children’s assessment records. This should include how this information is used to plan for, and extend individual children's learning
  • improving self review to more clearly show the impact of adults’ practices and learning on outcomes for children.

The association would benefit from external support to strengthen and improve its understanding in:

  • annual and strategic planning that better informs priorities for teaching and learning
  • relevant approaches to assessment, planning and evaluation
  • fostering opportunities to enable Māori children and whānau to enjoy success as Māori
  • supporting members understanding of teaching and learning; and regulatory requirements
  • current self-review approaches.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

2 April 2014

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

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 16

Girls 15

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2

1 : 3

Better than minimum requirements


Over 2

1 : 3

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

2 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2011


Education Review

May 2007


Education Review

March 2004

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.