Morningside Playcentre - 25/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Morningside Playcentre

How well placed is Morningside 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.


Morningside Playcentre is a parent cooperative where learning programmes for children are implemented by the families who are centre members. Centre practices are based on the Playcentre philosophy of families learning and growing together. Very good training levels have been sustained over time. Currently, 18 members have Course 2 or 3 Playcentre qualifications including a number who will soon complete Course 4.

The centre provides four mixed-age sessions each week. It also offers an additional outdoor session for children over 3 years of age, where children play, explore and learn in a natural environment in the local community. An educator is employed to lead this session alongside parents/whānau.

High quality practices identified in ERO’s 2012 and 2008 reports remain evident. These include a culture of reflective practice, high quality management processes and purposeful self review. The support for, and documentation of children’s learning continues to be a feature of the centre’s programme. Since the previous review, members have worked together to further improve the environment and resources and enhance the ways they foster children’s complex play.

Morningside Playcentre is part of the Auckland Playcentres Association that provides Playcentre adult education, frameworks of policies and procedures and support from Association personnel. The 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.

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

The Review Findings

The Playcentre philosophy of parents/whānau and children learning, playing and growing together is highly apparent. Respectful relationships provide a strong foundation for supporting children’s wellbeing. Infants and toddlers experience a calm, settled and well-resourced environment. They are encouraged to explore and play alongside older children. Adults know children’s individual preferences and use this information to plan specific learning experiences for this group of children.

Older children have frequent opportunities to play cooperatively with each other and to express their ideas and theories. They involve themselves in sustained and imaginative play for long periods of time. Children initiate and engage in complex play situations. They are independent, self-managing learners.

Adults work skilfully alongside children and extend their learning in meaningful ways. They value children’s knowledge and take time to listen to their ideas. Experienced centre members model high quality practices and support newer members to develop their understandings. As a result of these effective practices, children are very well supported to take the lead in their learning as designers, decision makers and investigators.

The learning programme is underpinned by the Playcentre philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children clearly express their plans to extend their own learning. Adults are highly responsive to children’s thinking. They contribute their ideas and strengths to enrich children’s experiences.

Planning and evaluation processes are used effectively and contribute to programmes provided for individuals and groups of children. Records of group projects show how adults add to children’s collective learning and knowledge. Individual learning is documented in attractively presented portfolios that celebrate children’s progress over time. Portfolios provide very good information about children as they transition to school.

Adults are committed to strengthening the bicultural nature of the programme. A pepeha has been developed to share a story about Morningside Playcentre and its place in the local area. Parents/whānau plan to strengthen the integration of te reo me ona tikanga Māori in the programme. They could also consider ways to increase the extent to which diverse cultures and language are visible in the environment and included in the programme.

The centre is well managed. Centre members work collaboratively to promote a high level of engagement and belief in the centre’s vision. They continue to be very involved in Playcentre adult education and ongoing professional development. Robust strategic and annual plans are reviewed annually and have a clear focus on improving outcomes for children.

Strategic, planned and spontaneous self review contributes to a culture of continual improvement. Processes to support the privacy of children and families have been reviewed and agreed practices have been established. Centre members are committed to providing a safe physical environment for children and adults.

The Association’s strategic plan provides a guide for governance and is regularly monitored. Management and governance processes are well established. The Association provides assistance for centres and appropriate Playcentre training courses. 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 parents/whānau.

Key Next Steps

To enhance existing high quality practices centre members agree that they could:

  • increase the inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme and environment
  • ensure that diverse cultures and languages are more visible in the environment and included in the programme
  • make greater use of Association policies to inform self review and centre practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Morningside 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 Morningside 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


Morningside, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

29 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 20

Boys 14

Ethnic composition







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

April 2012


Education Review

December 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.