Maramarua/Kopuku Playcentre - 14/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Maramarua/Kopuku Playcentre

How well placed is Maramarua/Kopuku 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.


Maramarua/Kopuku Playcentre is a small rural playcentre operating under the umbrella of the Counties Playcentre Association. The centre is located in the grounds of Maramarua School on State Highway 2 in the Thames Valley. It is licensed for 25 children from birth to school age, including 10 under two years of age. At the time of this ERO review there were 9 children on the roll, 7 of whom were Māori. In 2014, the centre was re-licensed under the Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 2008.

Parents from the local area cooperate to provide opportunities for their children to learn and play in a well-resourced environment. In accord with the national playcentre philosophy, parents value the provision of a caring, learning and sharing environment. They consider it important for their children to grow emotionally, physically and mentally alongside each other, within their families and as part of their community.

The 2013 ERO review noted that parents and association support personnel had worked hard to improve the playcentre environment and re-establish regular sessions and programmes for children. The centre needed to continue to develop the programme, document self review and increase the use of te reo Māori in the programme. Since the 2013 review the centre has continued to make improvements in these areas. A liaison facilitator from the association attends centre meetings to support parents make decisions for the day-to-day operation of the centre.

Recently there have been changes to parent membership as children have moved to school. An experienced association support worker has been recruited to guide sessions and help with programme documentation while new parent members are completing their training.

This review was part of a cluster of 8 playcentre reviews in the Counties Playcentre Association. 

The Review Findings

Children are highly engaged in sustained play and exploration in varied and interesting contexts. Parents prepare the environment and join children in their play. Children are able to make choices and initiate imaginative and cooperative activities that make good use of the inviting and well-resourced learning areas. They confidently explore the natural outdoor environment and develop their physical skills through active and challenging activities. They are also able to use the school playground at specified times. Aspects such as literacy, mathematics, science and the creative arts are well integrated throughout the programme. Together with their parents, children develop working theories for making sense of the natural, social, physical and material worlds.

The playcentre has a warmly welcoming culture that includes visitors as contributing members. Parents are well informed and undertake playcentre adult education. Warm, caring, respectful relationships are evident among parents and children. Children use language well to initiate play and make their preferences known. Positive guidance strategies are used by adults to develop children's social awareness and problem-solving skills. The centre includes aspects of bicultural practice through displays and parents are working to increase the everyday use of te reo Māori. Adults and children enjoy meeting and forming positive relationships in an inclusive, supportive and cooperative environment.

The programme is supported by a qualified playcentre support worker. She guides parents' participation in the programme and assists them to record documentation related to planning, assessment an evaluation. This documentation, together with an inclusive approach to self review, enables parents to evaluate the implementation of the programme. Parents are gaining skills that increase their understanding of early childhood education and confidence to interact with children and extend play.

Parents share information about their children's interests, and aspirations for their children's development. They develop individual goals each term and display them to inform ongoing planning. Parents notice, recognise and respond to children's learning. They record learning stories, and gather photographs and examples of children's art. Some of these records are displayed to identify and share children's ongoing learning, progress and development over time.

Centre leaders are aware of the playcentre's responsibility to support children with additional learning needs, and seek assistance from the association as appropriate. Significant elements of children's involvement and learning are visible to parents, contributing to their awareness of the quality of the programme and its influence on children's learning.

Centre leaders are experienced playcentre members who make a valuable contribution to the service. Parents share responsibility for working alongside children in the programme. They attend meetings to share information and make decisions about improving outcomes for children. Parents and association personnel have raised funds and made extensive improvements to the playcentre playground. Centre leaders, along with association personnel, enjoy making playcentre sessions available to families in the local and wider community.

The Counties Playcentre Association provides a comprehensive training programme for parents of children attending playcentres. It also provides administrative support and a framework of policies and procedures to be implemented by the centres. The playcentre philosophy is based on that of the Playcentre Federation and places children, and parents as first teachers, at the heart of all operations. More qualified and trained members have enabled sessions to extend children’s learning and support conversations among children and adults. Parents demonstrate a commitment to implementing association expectations and following the playcentre philosophy.

Key Next Steps

The playcentre should continue to support and encourage parents to undertake Course 2 playcentre training. This training is necessary to increase the complexity of the interactions between parents and children, and enhance the learning for children.

The playcentre recognises the need to undertake an extensive upgrade of the kitchen. The completion of this planned initiative, with the association's continuing support, will enhance the quality of the environment for parents and children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Maramarua/Kopuku 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.

ERO identified an area of non-compliance.

2.The service provider must ensure that furniture or equipment that could topple and cause injury or damage is secured. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS6]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Maramarua/Kopuku Playcentre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

14 March 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 


Maramarua near Pukekohe

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 7 Girls 2

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

14 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

June 2009

Supplementary Review

September 2008

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.