Martinborough Playcentre - 24/07/2018

1 Evaluation of Martinborough Playcentre

How well placed is Martinborough 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.


Martinborough Playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age education and care for 30 children, three sessions a week. This includes provision for 15 children aged up to two years. At the time of the review there are 26 children enrolled.

During 2018, playcentres are transitioning from operating as 32 regional associations to becoming one national body, Playcentre Aotearoa. In the lower North Island eight associations have merged into a region renamed Playcentre Aotearoa Lower North Island Region. Playcentre Aotearoa is governed nationally through an annual general meeting and a trustee board that reflects the organisation’s bicultural partnership model. The board includes equal membership from a general Tangata Tiriti caucus and Te Whare Tikanga Māori, a group of consisting of whānau Māori.

The philosophy of Playcentre Aotearoa, 'Whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together', is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. Alongside this, the centre's philosophy acknowledges that, 'it takes a village to raise a child'.

A centre support worker and an administrator are employed to visit playcentres and provide professional advice and support, and to promote improvement. For Martinborough Playcentre, the region’s centre support co-ordinator and te ao Māori field worker are yet to be appointed. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by parent members who are office holders. Each session is supported by a team of parent educators who hold, or are working towards, Playcentre Education Awards.

Prior to 2018, little support was being provided to members at Martinborough Playcentre. New support staff acknowledge the need to prioritise this centres contact and monitoring to improve some areas of practice. At the time of this review, support was in the beginning stages.

The January 2015 ERO report for Martinborough Playcentre identified areas for development for the centre and the former Wairarapa Association. These included internal evaluation and the bicultural curriculum. Progress in these areas is ongoing.

This is one of a cluster of two playcentre reviews in the Playcentre Aotearoa Lower North Island Region.

The Review Findings

Members have successfully maintained a positive learning environment for children during periods of reduced association support. They collaborate as a whānau and work respectfully alongside their own and other children to support their learning and wellbeing. New families are welcomed through inclusive practices. A focus on community support is given priority and clearly evident.

Children confidently lead their learning in an inviting, richly resourced environment. They freely access resources and experiences that have been purposefully chosen by themselves or by adults, to support their emerging interests. There are opportunities for active physical play and challenge. Literacy, mathematics and science learning are woven through the curriculum, in play-based contexts. Children with diverse learning needs are supported to engage with the programme.

The mixed-age setting is well managed by parents, who sensitively support infants and toddlers to interact with their older peers. Parents are responsive to children's communication and cues. Care routines are warm and respectful. Children of all ages display a strong sense of belonging in the centre.

Children benefit from aspects of kaupapa Māori in the curriculum. Plans are in place to build members' knowledge through whānau expertise, Playcentre Aotearoa support and professional learning with local iwi. This should support the centre to develop culturally responsive practices that support tamariki Māori and enact a localised bicultural curriculum, unique to Martinborough Playcentre.

Adults document useful observations and analyses of children's individual and group interests. These are used to plan activities that allow children to revisit experiences. Members are alert to the valuable learning opportunities within play experiences, and usefully link assessment documentation to learning dispositions and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. A next step is to plan strategies that challenge children to extend their learning. As the cycle of assessment, planning and evaluation develops, regional staff should support members to use cultural information to further strengthen their response.

At a regional level, clear roles and expectations for centre support staff have been established. These include building effective internal evaluation practices at centre level. A more evaluative approach, including reporting more deliberately about impacts for children should assist both centre and regional personnel to know how well planned actions improve outcomes for all.

The organisation has useful monitoring and reporting systems, and with clarified support and management roles, these are likely to promote improvements. A good range of communication strategies is in place to inform whānau of ongoing changes and invite their input. Some current policies and processes remain in place until new systems are implemented nationally. An emphasis on establishing consistency and efficiency, to better support effective practice in centres, is evident.

Key Next Steps

At Martinborough Playcentre, the priorities are to:

  • develop the cycle of assessment, planning and evaluation

  • build the bicultural curriculum and culturally responsive practices.

For regional staff, priorities are to support members to strengthen their:

  • understanding and implementation of new policies and systems

  • understanding of effective internal evaluation.


ERO recommends that regional staff actively support and monitor the quality and effectiveness of playcentre practices, in order to be assured that outcomes for children and their whānau are improved through effective systems, processes and internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

24 July 2018

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 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 16, Girls 10

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

24 July 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2015

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

June 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 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.