Maihiihi Playcentre - 20/03/2020

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

Maihiihi Playcentre requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO identified several areas of non-compliance relating to the safety of children. These have been addressed since the on-site stage of the review. Systems and processes to identify hazards needs strengthening and governance support to ensure that these are addressed in a timely manner.

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


Maihiihi Playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children three days a week. This includes 11 children up to the age of two years. At the time of this ERO review, there are 15 children enrolled, including a small number who identify as Māori and Pacific.

The Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy, ‘whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together’, is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. Alongside this the centre philosophy places value on manaakitanga and whanaungatanga and holds the view of tamariki as strong and capable learners.

Since the September 2016 ERO report, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation has restructured by amalgamating all associations to form Playcentre Aotearoa. Aotearoa Playcentre is part of the Central North Island Region and is supported by a regional manager and support persons.

Whānau and families share responsibility for the curriculum. Day-to-day operation is undertaken by session support personnel and centre-elected office holders. A centre support worker and centre administrator regularly visit playcentres to provide professional support, strengthen practice and promote improvement.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews in the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region.

The Review Findings

Playcentre members had identified some areas of non-compliance relating to the physical safety of children prior to the ERO review. Some areas, including fencing, were in the process of being addressed. There remains a need to be vigilant in checking for all hazards and for governance to ensure that these areas are addressed promptly.

Further support is required for members to strengthen processes including assessment for learning, internal evaluation and strategic planning.

Respectful and trusting relationships promote positive learning outcomes for children. Inclusive practices support children and families with English as a second language to participate and to build lasting friendships. Children's languages, cultures and identities, including Pacific, are affirmed in wall displays and resources, and this now needs to be documented in learning portfolios. Māori children benefit from a strengthened approach to te ao Māori. Members have attended professional development workshops, and have intentionally purchased more bicultural resources. Children and their families develop a strong sense of belonging.

Children benefit from a rich curriculum. Many areas of play and planned activities are provided within a well-resourced and spacious environment. The outdoor area provides challenge for older children. A separate ‘big kids’ session supports older children to transition to school. Trips into the local community, including the local school, enrich the programme. Infants and toddlers attend with their siblings and parents. These youngest learners experience tuakana teina relationships where they learn alongside older or more competent children. ERO observed children engaging in learning through play.

The assessment, planning and evaluation of children's learning requires strengthening so that all individual children have consistent records of learning. Currently their learning is discussed in session evaluations and documented in wall displays and individual portfolios. More experienced members have developed some useful tools to support newer adults to understand Te Whāriki and assessment practices.

A management team share roles and responsibilities to ensure the smooth running of the centre. Leaders encourage all new members to be actively involved. Strategic and annual plans and internal evaluation processes have been developed, and leaders need to continue to strengthen and align these processes.

The revised parent education programme is becoming more accessible to centre members. Appraisal processes for session support staff have recently been strengthened to better evaluate performance in relation to specific roles and responsibilities, identify professional learning and development needs and focus on achievement of goals.

The national restructuring process continues to require significant attention and support to implement an extensive range of systems and processes. Regular communication from Playcentre Aotearoa seeks to keep parents informed of progress, changes and upcoming requirements. National policies and procedures have recently been introduced and parents are in the process of aligning practices to these. Ongoing support is required to enable parents to understand and implement these procedures to meet licensing requirements.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for Maihiihi Playcentre are to continue to strengthen:

  • systems and processes to ensure the safety of children and prompt support from governance to ensure these are addressed promptly

  • the consistency of assessment, planning and evaluation for individuals to respond to their language, culture and identity, learning dispositions and to show progression of learning over time

  • alignment of strategic and annual goals, and to include 'who' is responsible and be focused on learning

  • internal evaluation with a focus on learning outcomes for children.

Playcentre Aotearoa should continue to build knowledge and understanding of policies and procedures to ensure licensing requirements are upheld.

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.

Actions for compliance

Since the on-site phase of the review, members have provided ERO with evidence of action taken in relation to:

  • providing secure fencing (PF13)
  • securing equipment that could topple and cause injury (HS6)
  • the electrics and equipment relating to the water pump attached to the rear of building need to be enclosed so that no child can access (HS12)
  • softfall under the outdoor playfort was topped up to a safer depth (PF13)
  • an approved fire evacuation scheme for the centre is available (HS4)
  • ensuring that that the windows are made of safety glass or covered with an adhesive film or barriers (PF4).

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.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

20 March 2020

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


Maihiihi, near Otorohanga

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

Female 10

Male 5

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic group


Review team on site

December 2019

Date of this report

20 March 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2016

Education Review

January 2013

Education Review

December 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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.