Milson Playcentre - 06/04/2018

1 Evaluation of Milson Playcentre

How well placed is Milson 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.


Milson Playcentre is one of 19 administered by the Central Districts Playcentre Association (the association). The centre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 21 children five sessions a week. This includes provision for 15 children, up to the age of two. At the time of the review there were 15 children enrolled and two identify as Māori.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation (the federation), of which the Central Districts Association is part, is undergoing a significant restructure that includes amalgamating associations. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and others.

The federation philosophy, 'Whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together', is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. Alongside this, the centre philosophy acknowledges each child as a unique learner.

Whānau and families are valued as the primary educators of their children. Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Each session is supported by a team of parent educators who hold Playcentre training certificates. An employed facilitator also supports children and families on session.

Centre support people regularly visit playcentres to provide professional advice and support, and to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders.

The February 2015 ERO report for Milson Playcentre identified areas for development for the association and the playcentre. This included reviewing the centre philosophy to reflect statements valued by playcentre; members' participation in assessment, planning and evaluation and self review. Progress is ongoing.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 reviews in the Central Districts Playcentre Association. 

The Review Findings

Children actively explore and lead their learning in the well-resourced environment. A sense of belonging is enhanced through positive relationships in which children, parents and whānau know each other well. Children are affirmed as competent, confident and curious learners. A calm, respectful atmosphere prevails. Responsive caregiving practices supports infants' and toddlers' engagement and learning.

Literacy, mathematics and science activities are integral parts of a child's playcentre experience. Te ao Māori perspectives within the programme are well considered. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are valued through the use of te reo Māori, resources, celebrations and artefacts.

Members are developing their understanding and knowledge of assessment and evaluation processes. Children's portfolios regularly include narratives along with their artwork, and at times show their progress in learning. Adults should continue to seek ways to reflect children's culture, language and identity in this documentation.

Planning practices include information on children's current interests. Parents' aspirations are sought and add to learning experiences. Strengthening what adults know about what has worked well, and what has not worked well to support and extend children's learning, is needed.

Suitable planning priorities and objectives are incorporated into the centre's strategic and annual planning. These include an appropriate focus on growing membership and on ensuring the curriculum effectively meets children’s needs. The facilitator leads members to implement meaningful experiences for children. An appraisal process is in place. A next step is to implement the appraisal process to assist the facilitator with her development.

Well considered transition processes into the centre and on to school are in place.

A newly introduced framework for internal evaluation has the potential to develop members' understanding of effective evaluation to improve outcomes for all children. The centre facilitator is currently undertaking professional development to assist her to build members' knowledge and capability.

Clear expectations for centre support people have been established. Improving practice to include reporting more deliberately on outcomes for children should assist both centre and association personnel to know how well planned actions improve outcomes for all.

Key Next Steps

At playcentre level, the priorities are to:

  • further develop understanding and use of effective internal evaluation 
  • fully implement all aspects of assessment, planning and evaluation
  • make visible children's culture, language and identity in assessment and planning documentation. 

The association/federation should continue to strengthen:

  • regular, robust and consistent appraisal for all employees
  • centre support that is consistently effective in identifying and responding to playcentre needs
  • understanding and implementation of effective internal evaluation
  • members' understanding of suitable assessment, planning and evaluation processes.


ERO recommends that the new regional team actively monitor and evaluate the quality of support provided to playcentres.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

6 April 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 


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

21 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 9, Boys 6

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

February 2018

Date of this report

6 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

April 2012

Education Review

November 2006

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.