Makarewa Playcentre - 13/09/2013

1 Evaluation of Makarewa Playcentre

How well placed is Makarewa 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.


Children attending Makarewa Playcentre are provided with rich learning experiences. This report builds on the positive findings in the 2010 ERO report. Most of the suggested recommendations from that report have been successfully dealt with.

Makarewa Playcentre is one of 19 playcentres governed by the Southland Playcentre Association (SPA). It is located near the local school on the outskirts of Invercargill. Children aged from birth to six years can attend three morning sessions a week. The playcentre also hosts a weekly session for first-time parents and their babies.

Children from the surrounding rural area and nearby town enjoy the rural setting offered by the playcentre. Since the start of 2013, the parents have taken responsibility for the running of the sessions. They are very dedicated to their ongoing training and are supportive of each other. The beliefs about how playcentre supports children to learn and grow are strongly evident in what the adults do with and for the children.

The small group size fosters a family atmosphere. The centre is currently exploring ways to grow the roll to ensure its ongoing viability.

This review was part of a cluster of 17 reviews in the Southland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy warm, trusting relationships with all the adults in the centre and with each other. The mixed-age setting is an inclusive environment for all children. Babies are sensitively included in the programme and older children are actively encouraged to be aware of babies’ needs. Children are confident to work alongside adults other than their own parents. They have a strong sense of belonging in the centre and are familiar with the routines.

Children benefit from a rich and varied programme that responds to their individual and group interests. They play and learn in very well-resourced indoor and outdoor areas. Children take part in group projects that develop over time, for example investigating and creating birdhouses, gardening and recycling and learning about the living world. They have regular excursions into the local community. These excursions are designed to create meaningful links to the wider world.

Children’s play is often sustained over several sessions and becomes increasingly complex. The parents value this play as learning and add additional resources to extend and deepen this.

Other positive features of the programme include many opportunities for children to experience:

  • early literacy and numeracy
  • dramatic play and music
  • the use of construction and technology tools
  • baking
  • te reo Māori and waiata
  • activities that foster their creativity and imagination.

A strength of this centre is the focus adults have on extending children’s thinking and learning. For example, adults encourage children to problem solve, persevere, build on their knowledge, notice detail and use appropriate language.

Planning for individuals is regular, detailed and ongoing. Each term the parents together set meaningful goals for all the children. These goals are well supported by specific and useful strategies. Parents are becoming more skilled at recognising and documenting children’s progress towards their identified goals. Pre and post-session discussions have a focus on learning.

Parents are highly reflective and responsive to the changing needs of the children and the playcentre.

The SPA provides strong support to the playcentre through:

  • ongoing adult education
  • twice-termly visits by the playcentre liaison officer
  • property and maintenance advice
  • additional funding as required
  • help to meet relicensing requirements
  • a policy and strategic planning framework
  • sound governance practices.

The SPA provides strong leadership to guide the future direction and ongoing improvement of all its centres. This includes the way association team members foster emergent leadership. Currently there are high numbers of people participating in playcentre training. The association has identified, and ERO agrees, that its next step is to improve its knowledge and understanding of self review. It then needs to support playcentres to implement effective self review.

Key Next Steps

There is a useful framework to guide self review. Parents regularly review areas of play within the centre to improve children’s play and learning opportunities. The next step is for the SPA and parents to strengthen and extend self-review practices to monitor the effectiveness of all aspects of the centre’s operations in an ongoing way. This includes developing a schedule and recording the outcomes of reviews.

All centre families had an opportunity to contribute to the strategic plan to determine its current priorities. The resulting strategic plan could be a more useful document if it had a greater focus on improving outcomes for children.

Parents could refine the information contained in profile books to more purposefully reflect the learning goals and better record the progress made over time.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

13 September 2013

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


Makarewa, Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 7

Girls 4

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

50-79% with playcentre qualifications

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2013

Date of this report

13 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2010


Education Review

March 2006


Accountability Review

April 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.