Lepperton Playcentre - 13/02/2017

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 one of 17 parent-led early childhood centres administered by the Taranaki Playcentre Association (the association). A management team of elected volunteers oversees operation at governance level and provides the adult education programme, guidance and support for members.

The playcentre is situated within the local school grounds and operates three mornings per week. Up to 30 children, from birth to school age, can attend each session. The current roll is 39 children and six identify as Māori.

Centre supporters are employed by the association to regularly visit playcentres. Their role is to 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.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is planning a significant restructure for 2017 that includes amalgamating all Playcentre Associations. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

The playcentre philosophy of parent-led education and child-initiated play is valued by centre members and enacted in practice. The principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpin practice to promote positive outcomes for children.

The service is currently attracting families with very young children and provision for the services youngest children has been a focus for development. Most parents take advantage of the adult education training programme provided by the association. This active involvement in their child's education is contributing to improved centre practice.

The April 2014 ERO report identified improvement was required in strategic and annual planning, self-review practice and teaching and learning. The report also identified the curriculum response to promote Māori children's culture, language and identity as needing strengthening. Good progress has been made in these areas. 

The Review Findings

Children play amicably alongside their peers, they actively explore and engage in a range of appropriate learning activities. Attentive parent educators who know the children well are nearby to support and encourage ongoing engagement where needed.

A positive tone and inclusive practice is evident. Children’s social skills and developing relationships are well-supported by adults. Interactions are warm and respectful. These factors contribute positively to children’s sense of belonging and wellbeing.

The playcentre philosophy of parent-led education and child-initiated play is reflected in practice. The principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpin practice. A culture of care, respect and collective responsibility for supporting children's holistic development is evident.

The parent-led committee and supervision teams are made up of parents and whānau who bring valuable skills and knowledge to their role. They demonstrate a commitment to supporting the playcentre movement. This is reflected in the increasing numbers taking on training and leadership roles.

Assessment, curriculum planning and evaluation continue to improve. Practices support adults to understand learning pathways for individuals and groups of children. Useful information is created that assists members to plan activities and experiences responsive to children’s interests, strengths and desires. Their learning portfolios celebrate progress well and capture their developing skills, knowledge and attributes. Strategies are in place to support newer members to contribute to the programme.

Literacy, mathematics and science activities are an integral parts of children’s early education. The youngest children are embraced and nurtured within a culture of care.

The association Māori representative of Puriri Whakamaru o Taranaki, supports centre members to gain further understandings of te ao Māori and this aspect is developing well as an integral part of the curriculum. Association and centre leaders should use strategic planning and internal evaluation to ensure the good practice occurring is sustained and continues to be built on.

Planning priorities are aligned to the service vision and focused on improving teaching and learning. The dual purposes of self review for accountability and improvement are understood and increasingly guide ongoing decision making.

The centre support person provides written reports that generally affirm environmental developments and programme practices. These reports should more deliberately focus on outcomes for children and next steps for centre members to improve teaching and learning. This should include a focus on providing centre members with evaluative feedback that assists them to sustain and further enhance the good practice already occurring.

Appraisal for centre supporters requires strengthening. The process should include more focused goals that build their capability; and more regular and targeted feedback and feed forward about practices that enhance outcomes for children and their families.

Lepperton Playcentre Key Next Steps

Centre members should continue to:

  • learn about and undertake effective internal evaluation.

Association Key Next Steps

The association should:

  • improve appraisal for the centre support people to support individual needs and identify professional development to support them in their leadership roles

  • build centre support staff knowledge and capability to undertake effective internal evaluation.

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

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

13 February 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



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 24, Girls 15

Ethnic composition





Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

13 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

June 2011

Education Review

May 2007

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.