Miramar Playcentre - 11/06/2014

Evaluation of Miramar Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

A number of areas have been identified for the improvement of this service.

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


Miramar Playcentre is one of 20 parent-led early childhood centres administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). A council oversees operation at governance level and an executive committee provides the adult education programme, guidance and support for members. Two centre supporters are employed by the executive to visit playcentres and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Parents share the duties associated with implementing the programme.

Playcentre philosophy recognises parents as the best first teachers of their children and emphasises the importance of child-initiated play in mixed-age sessions. Acknowledging Te Tiriti o Waitangi is an integral part of this philosophy.

Miramar Playcentre is located in a culturally diverse community. Recently, a number of experienced members have moved out of the area or their children have left for school. Consequently, there is a focus on rebuilding membership, filling office-holder positions and raising qualification levels. At present there is a reliance on paid team leaders and experienced members undertaking multiple office roles.

High value is placed on cooperative decision making and developing a community of learners where children and parents work alongside each other. Four mixed-age and one SPACE (Supporting Parents And Children’s Education) sessions are held each week. One session is specifically to welcome and support new members to playcentre.

Since the September 2010 ERO report, this service has begun to work toward relicensing under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. The current transitional licence specifies the need to meet conditions relating to the bathroom and kitchen. Members have made plans to address these matters.

This review was part of a cluster of 20 reviews of centres in the Wellington Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

A sense of family and community is evident. There is an ongoing focus on building positive relationships in the centre. Members are friendly and welcoming. Continuing to deepen understanding of the diverse cultures in the community should enrich the programme and increase interest in what the playcentre has to offer.

Experienced members maintain good levels of purposeful engagement with children. They are responsive, supporting children to explore a range of play experiences. Literacy and numeracy are integrated into the programme in meaningful, play-based ways. High ratios of adults to children promote opportunities for one-to-one interaction. Some children enjoy long periods of sustained play and investigation.

The ongoing focus on positive guidance is helping parents to promote children’s social competence. Members should continue to work on maximising opportunities for all children to initiate and lead their own play and maintain their engagement in self-chosen learning experiences.

Spacious indoor play areas support children’s investigation of resources and activities. The outdoor play space provides physical challenges and messy play experiences. Further consideration should be given to the presentation of some areas of play to better promote children's interest and participation.

Infants and toddlers are encouraged to explore the play spaces and learning materials. A designated area is available for children who are not yet mobile. SPACE provides opportunities for parents of very young children to develop their understanding of playcentre and early learning. Further consideration needs to be given to planning for the learning of these youngest playcentre members.

Leaders are committed to strengthening the bicultural perspective in the programme. Some provide good models to support others in their use of te reo Māori and understanding of bicultural values.

Information is available for families making the transition from playcentre to school. Developing thinking about suitable experiences to support older children is likely to help retain four year olds.

Session planning meetings enable team members to gather and share information about parents’ aspirations for and the developing interests and strengths of their children. Daily session evaluation meetings include purposeful discussions about individual children’s learning and participation. A visual approach to recording daily happenings on session supports continuity of some activities over time. Evaluation of sessions should be improved to better plan for the significant learning of individuals. Assessment records should focus on children’s progress and learning.

A core group of members provides leadership and undertakes management roles as required by the association. Members are reflective and at the early stages of using formal self review to support decisions about improvement. There is an urgent need to attract and retain new members so operation can be sustained and workloads for leaders kept at a manageable level.

The association provides good support and a range of training for members. The centre supporter gives regular, valued feedback and aid as needed. A more evaluative approach based on identified priorities and growing members’ practice should better promote and sustain improvement over time. Comprehensive, up-to-date written policies and procedures guide office holders in their management roles and members in planning and implementing an appropriate programme.

The association is both improvement and future focused. The systematic review of, and plan to restructure governance and management, are being carefully worked through to support a new and more sustainable future for the organisation and individual centres.

Key Next Steps

Members should:

  • review their practice in relation to the values in the centre philosophy

  • deepen their understanding and response to the diverse cultures in the community

  • continue to strengthen the bicultural perspective in the learning programme

  • strengthen their understanding and approach to assessment, planning and evaluation

  • consider ways to better support all children to engage and sustain in purposeful learning

  • continue to seek ways to attract and retain new members.

The association should:

  • support members to strengthen their understanding and use of self review to promote improvement

  • continue to develop centre support processes in response to identified needs and priorities

  • support members to develop their understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership

  • redevelop the appraisal process to ensure the development needs of centre-based employees are met

  • provide leadership to members to help them define their understanding of success for Māori, as Māori.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Miramar 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.

Actions for compliance

The Ministry of Education identified areas of non-compliance relating to premises and facilities and health and safety. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas to ensure:

  • floor surfaces in the bathroom area are safe, durable and able to be kept hygienically clean

  • food preparation surfaces are impervious to moisture and can be easily maintained in a hygienic condition

  • bathroom fittings are maintained in good condition and are able to be hygienically cleaned.Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, PF6, PF16, HS1

In addition, ERO identified that the service needs to ensure that:

  • heavy furniture, fixtures and equipment that could fall or topple and cause serious injury or damage in the event of an earthquake are secured. Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS6
  • In order to improve current practice members should ensure that:
  • records for preventative medication include relevant details to support administration.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Miramar Playcentre will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

11 June 2014

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 - Transitional Licence

Number licensed for

30 children, including 18 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

16 Boys, 14 Girls

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Reported ratios ofadults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

11 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2010


Education Review

January 2008


Education Review

January 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.