Maungatapere Playcentre - 31/07/2019

1 Evaluation of Maungatapere Playcentre

How well placed is Maungatapere Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Maungatapere Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Maungatapere Playcentre is an established parent-led early childhood education service next to Maungatapere School. The centre is licensed for 30 children including 15 under two years of age. It offers mixed age sessions two days each week. Many of the families live in the surrounding township and local area and most are new to the Playcentre. The centre operates as a parent cooperative and is part of the Playcentre Aotearoa national organisation.

Programmes for children are underpinned by the Playcentre philosophy of whānau and children learning together in a fun, nurturing learning environment. Whānau are recognised and valued as first educators of their children. Maungatapere centre members aim to provide their community with an inclusive service for adults and children to play, work, learn and grow together. Adult education programmes are offered to all parents who enrol their children at Playcentre. Qualifications gained through these programmes are required for sessions to receive funding.

The good practices recognised in the 2016 ERO report have been maintained and areas for development addressed. Self review has been strengthened and a new format for strategic and annual planning has been introduced.

A new regional structure for Playcentre Aotearoa came into effect in June 2019. Regional staff are responsible for establishing effective management systems to support each centre. Support personnel visit centres regularly to carry out administrative tasks and model effective teaching, programme planning and evaluation practices for centre members.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentre reviews in the Playcentre Aotearoa, Northern North Island Region.

The Review Findings

Children are happy, confident learners. They play in a calm, spacious and well-resourced environment that supports their learning and creativity. Parents/whānau provide opportunities that foster learning and enable children to sustain their play. Warm respectful, relationships are nurtured, and a strong sense of community is evident.

Parents/whānau provide a welcoming, family orientated and inclusive play-based programme. Children explore and make choices, encouraged by adults who facilitate child-led learning. The natural outdoor area offers many opportunities for sensory play and physical challenge. Oral language is nurtured through conversation, and opportunities for children to use literacy, numeracy and science are woven into play.

Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, is visible in the centre programme. A stronger focus on recognising children's learning is being encouraged, and good practices are being modelled by more experienced Playcentre members. Leaders are considering how assessment documentation in the 'daybook' and portfolios can show the progression of learning over time.

Parents/whānau are committed to building their bicultural practice. In-centre leaders are promoting the inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori. Adults' participation in professional development is developing their bicultural knowledge and confidence.

The centre employs an experienced early childhood teacher who is supported by a core group of enthusiastic parents/whānau. Centre members are developing consultative internal evaluation systems. Recent reviews have resulted in improvements in the environment and resources. Ongoing review is focused on improving programme planning processes. Centre members continue to review and refine current practices with a focus on ongoing improvement.

Centre members are eager to ensure the sustainability of the centre and the Playcentre philosophy. New families are provided with good information to support transitions into the centre. Experienced members support others to develop their confidence and skills as educators. Leadership roles are distributed, and individual strengths and talents are recognised. Building membership and continuing education for all parents is an ongoing priority.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for centre members are to continue to:

  • refine and develop programme planning and evaluation processes

  • encourage and support adult education programmes for new members.

The regional manager and support personnel agree that key next steps for the region include:

  • providing targeted support for centre members to establish effective strategic and annual planning, with links to the long-term goals of Playcentre Aotearoa

  • implementing and embedding the revised Playcentre adult education programme

  • evaluating the effectiveness and impact of the personnel who are employed to support centres

  • establishing effective programme planning and evaluation processes that support and extend the learning of all children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Maungatapere 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

31 July 2019

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 15 Girls 9

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

31 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

March 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.