Maungawhau Playcentre - 25/05/2015

1. Evaluation of Maungawhau Playcentre

How well placed is Maungawhau 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.


Maungawhau Playcentre in Mt Eden is a family cooperative providing four sessions per week for children up to school age. The centre is licensed for 30 children, including 15 children up to the age of two years.

The Playcentre philosophy of adults and children learning together underpins centre operations. Centre members are committed to the Playcentre philosophy as it promotes social opportunities for children and families.

The centre operates as part of the Auckland Playcentres Association, which provides Playcentre adult education, frameworks of policies and procedures and support from Association personnel. Each Playcentre contributes to the make-up of the association and has representatives at Association level.

At present the Playcentre Federation is undertaking a restructure with the aim of maintaining the viability of Playcentres throughout New Zealand. This is likely to change the current structure of the Auckland Playcentres Association.

The centre has a history of positive ERO reports. The 2012 ERO report noted that the programme supported children to learn in an inclusive mixed-age group and that adults collaboratively responded to children’s interests. These features continue to be strongly evident.

This review was part of a cluster of nine Playcentre reviews in the Auckland Playcentres Association.

The Review Findings

Families’ respectful and responsive interactions provide a welcoming and safe environment for children. They have a sense of security, with their families being the key people in their play and learning. Children make choices about their play. Adults provide challenges for children by encouraging their exploration of the world around them. Children can access resources to change their play so it is more meaningful to them.

Adults have a good understanding about the developmental and learning needs of infants and toddlers. Children up to two years have a separate space to play in. Members ensure that the infants and toddlers area is calm, and that the pace of play is slow so that children can take their time to explore resources.

Older children are confident and can express their needs clearly to adults and other children. They play for prolonged uninterrupted, periods of time. Children play well on their own and with each other in small groups. They have interesting and imaginative conversations with each other and with adults. Children are always inquiring. Adults support children’s ideas and encourage creativity.

Adults think about and discuss how they can be effective in their practice. They plan carefully to ensure that the learning environment offers meaningful experiences for children and families. Adults show commitment to developing a bicultural programme and practices. Children and their families from other cultures have a sense of belonging in the centre. Centre members could further develop their ability to support families and children from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Good leadership approaches help new members to settle quickly into shared roles. Members show high levels of commitment to continued learning. This commitment enables leaders to build the centre’s capacity and shared understanding of the centre’s culture.

The Association’s strategic plan provides a guide for governance and is regularly monitored by office bearers. Management and governance processes are well established. The Association provides sound management and administration assistance for centres, and appropriate Playcentre adult education. It provides regular termly visits from a curriculum and programme supporter. Association office holders are highly committed to Playcentre philosophy and to maintaining Playcentre as a valuable early childhood education option for adults.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that key next steps include continuing to refine:

  • bicultural practice so that they become more meaningful for families
  • the quality of children’s assessment, programme planning and evaluation
  • self review processes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Maungawhau 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 Maungawhau Playcentre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 May 2015

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


Mt Eden, Auckland

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

Girls 17

Boys 13

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

25 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2012


Education Review

November 2008


Education Review

November 2005

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.