Macandrew Bay Playcentre - 13/11/2014

1 Evaluation of Macandrew Bay Playcentre

How well placed is Macandrew 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.


Macandrew Bay Playcentre is one of 35 playcentres within the Otago Playcentre Association. It is sited on the school grounds of the Macandrew Bay School.

The centre is open five days a week for three hours a day. The playcentre is a parent-led cooperative with a paid team leader. The leader has overall responsibility for implementing the daily education programme. At the time of this review there had been recent staff changes and the team leader had been in the position for only a few weeks.

Macandrew Bay Playcentre parents and children have a strong sense of belonging to the centre. Families have built strong relationships and friendships through their involvement at the centre.

Children benefit from easy access to resources and a stimulating programme that promotes and extends their learning. The small facility and outdoor space has presented numerous challenges for the committed team of parent members. The parents have managed this and the changes in staff very well.

This review was part of a cluster of 12 playcentre reviews in the Otago Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are very well supported by parents who are committed to providing quality learning experiences. Frequent one-on-one interactions between adults and children mean that children engage in their work and play with purpose and enthusiasm.

The parents know the children very well. They have developed an effective system to identify each child’s interests, abilities and next learning steps and to plan activities and experiences to support these. This includes regular excursions into the community. The children’s profile records show how their learning has been built on over time.

Parents regularly seek to understand the child’s perspective on their needs and wants and are respectful of the choices the children make. ERO observed conversations between adults and children that were supportive, affirming and effective in promoting children’s language development. Best examples were when parents used open-ended questions to extend and deepen the children’s thinking and encourage them to talk about their ideas.

As part of this review, ERO investigated how well the centre supported children’s early mathematical learning. ERO found that parents are providing good support. They investigated mathematical learning, developed resources and implemented some additional practices to support children’s learning in this area.

Other features of the centre that contribute to positive outcomes for children include:

  • how well infants are toddlers are cared for, nurtured and supported in their learning and development
  • the settled way in which older children work and play with and alongside each other
  • the way adults encourage children’s independence and self-directed play.

At the end of each day the parents reflect on how well the programme went and whether the strategies used to extend learning have been effective. This information helps determine what to provide for the next session.

The parents function well as a team and have clear individual roles and responsibilities. They are well organised and have a strong focus on learning. This includes adults and children learning together. Adults regularly discuss how to make improvements across all aspects of the service.

Key Next Steps

ERO agrees with the parent council that the next steps for the centre are:

  • to build on their use of te reo Māori and improve the integration of Māori perspectives in the programme
  • to implement plans for improvements in the environment, such as heating, storage of resources and equipment and creating additional space.


The Otago Playcentre Association is facing challenges and uncertainty as the Playcentre Federation and the training they provide undergoes a period of restructuring. During this time, the association has made it a priority to focus on the daily operations of the playcentres. This includes:

  • managing an association-wide system for all aspects of health, safety and compliance
  • ongoing provision of playcentre training.

ERO found that the association needs to:

  • strengthen the appraisal process for all employed personnel
  • ensure that association policies provided to the centre are regularly reviewed
  • be more responsive and timely to training needs to enable playcentres to meet licensing and employment requirements.

Each playcentre has the ongoing support of a centre advisor. This includes:

  • regular visits to provide informal and formal feedback and encouragement
  • help parents know what to do to the meet licensing requirements.

Centre advisors should find ways to make best practice common practice across the association, for example through effective self review and planning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Macandrew 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

13 November 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

19 children, including up to 10 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 9

Girls 7

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

13 November 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

June 2011


Education Review

February 2008


Education Review

September 2001

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.