Maihiihi Playcentre - 05/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Maihiihi Playcentre

How well placed is Maihiihi 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.


Maihiihi Playcentre is a rural centre located near Otorohanga. It operates under the umbrella of the King Country Playcentre Association to provide education and care for children from birth to school age. Centre members receive ongoing support and advice from a centre support staff member employed by the association. The centre provides three morning sessions weekly. Two are for all age groups and one is a Big Kids session for older children. The centre is licensed for 30 children, including up to 10 children under two years of age. At the time of this ERO review, 20 children were enrolled.

The centre operates as a parent cooperative that is led by a president, secretary and treasurer. All centre members are encouraged to undertake responsibilities for the management and operation of the centre. Maihiihi is a farming community, and there is a continuing turnover of membership as families move between farming areas. The centre has a well-established relationship with the nearby Maihiihi School and the local community.

The playcentre has a positive reporting history. Previous ERO reports indicate that children have benefited from positive, trusting and responsive relationships in a well-prepared learning environment. Centre members have introduced systems to share and record children's interests to assist session planning. The centre has a good proportion of parents who have completed playcentre parent education courses.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentre reviews in the King Country Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are learning in a positive, inclusive environment. Their choices are respected and they are encouraged to be independent. Parents talk with them about their play and encourage friendships. Children explore the high-quality, well-resourced indoor and outdoor environments, expressing their creativity as they develop new skills and understandings. Trips to local places of interest offer new experiences and learning. Children experience meaningful opportunities to extend their knowledge of literacy, mathematics and the living world. They are learning and growing in an environment that promotes all aspects of their learning.

Parents are aware of the value of children learning through play. There is a shared recognition that 'Maihiihi Playcentre is all about the children'. Undertaking playcentre courses enables them to gain an increasing understanding of current theories of early learning and development. Playcentre leaders support all parents to apply this knowledge to meet the needs of their children. Parents respond to children's initiatives and support their engagement in experimentation, problem-solving and discovery.

Individual learning portfolios are a valuable record of children's activities and interests. Parents write stories that emphasise the child's voice, captured through art work, photographs and written examples of their oral language. These personal learning books invite children to learn about early literacy as they revisit and recognise stories about their life in home and centre.

The centre has a close, reciprocal relationship with the school. There is a regular exchange of visits, and children from the school visit and share their writing with the playcentre children. These positive relationships contribute to children making positive transitions into the school environment.

Aspects of Māori culture are integral to the programme. This is demonstrated by a recent emphasis on Matariki. Currently there are no Māori children attending. Further emphasis on te reo and tikanga Māori would be beneficial for all children and provide a basis for acknowledging the identity of Māori children who may enrol.

The centre culture celebrates and affirms children's identities. The welcoming and inclusive climate enables families from diverse ethnicities to find their place and contribute to the life of the centre community.

There is a good understanding of the value of self review to identify improvements for the programme or centre operation. The playcentre has effective procedures to guide members to make changes and evaluate the outcomes for children's learning and wellbeing.

The playcentre operates as a strong family cooperative where parents volunteer to take on responsibilities and enjoy the collegiality and friendship of this team approach. Leaders have attended a leadership course that is assisting them to sustain leadership and positive relationships. As a result, the centre is well-respected and is often recommended to families arriving in the district.

The well-informed association centre support worker supports and advises centre leaders and parents. She provides in-centre playcentre courses at the beginning level, and helps to maintain expected levels of training throughout the centre. The high number of parents who have completed courses at beginning and higher levels contributes to the richness of the programme and the spirit of 'ako', parents and children learning together.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation and the King Country Playcentre Association continue to provide good quality governance and management for this centre. The association provides comprehensive policies and guidelines, and employs a centre support person who assists families to operate the service in the best interests of children and their parents and whānau. The benefits of this support would be made more evident if a process was introduced to provide formal reports on the quality of centre programmes.

Key Next Steps

Maihiihi Playcentre has identified a need to continue to involve all its members and improve the programme as necessary. Ongoing self review should enable the centre to:

  • develop the consistency and quality of te reo and tikanga Māori

  • build the capability of parent members to take on leadership roles

  • strengthen the identification of children's learning and progress in portfolio entries. This information could be used to plan the programme to more effectively deepen and extend each child's learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

5 September 2016

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 11 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 11 Boys 9

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

5 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

January 2013

Education Review

December 2009

Education Review

March 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.