New Plymouth Playcentre - 23/01/2014

1 Evaluation of New Plymouth Playcentre

How well placed is New Plymouth 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.


The New Plymouth Playcentre operates as a family cooperative, catering for children from birth to six years of age, five mornings a week. The playcentre philosophy 'whānau tupu ngātahi - families growing together' is reflected in the collaborative planning and organising of the curriculum. Parent leaders demonstrate a strong commitment to teaching and learning that contributes to positive outcomes for children.

The playcentre is one of 17 parent-led services governed by the Taranaki Playcentre Association (the association) umbrella. The governance of these centres has recently reverted to a structure where all centre representatives contribute to association decisions and priorities.

Association personnel visit regularly and provide advice and guidance for bicultural, centre and property support. Positive relationships between the playcentre and those in support roles are evident. The association also offers opportunities for parents to train in the playcentres’ early childhood education courses.

The previous 2010 ERO report identified a number of areas for development and review. Centre members have addressed those areas requiring improvement.

This review was part of a cluster of 14 playcentre reviews in the Taranaki Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Parents have established a culture in which children are valued, celebrated and affirmed. A high level of trust is evident among all adults involved in the service. Collaborative ways of working enable parents to be actively involved in and responsible for children's learning and wellbeing. Leadership is encouraged and distributed amongst members according to their interests and areas of expertise. Parents are committed to gaining playcentre qualifications.

The curriculum is child led, with strong links to Te Whāriki and playcentre philosophy. Centre members have clear and shared expectations and processes for responding to children’s strengths, interests, abilities and needs. Children’s learning is recorded meaningfully in attractive portfolios and analysed to guide next steps for development. Recent initiatives have successfully increased parents’ involvement in the assessment, planning and evaluation of children’s learning.

Indoor and outdoor spaces are vibrant and stimulating. They are organised to encourage children to learn, explore, develop their physical skills and engage in imaginative and creative play. The environment provides well for the physical and emotional wellbeing of infants and toddlers. Children are purposefully engaged in learning and confidently make decisions about their involvement and participation. Responsive and flexible routines support children's engagement in sustained and purposeful play. Infants and toddlers are well supported to interact, play and have fun with older children.

Adults are intentional in the way they recognise and respond to opportunities to extend children’s thinking and learning. Literacy, numeracy and science learning are effectively integrated throughout the curriculum.

Well thought out, clear strategies support children and their families’ induction into the centre. Children’s transitions to school are acknowledged and celebrated.

Adults are working to ensure children have experiences that assist them to become confident in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Centre members are supported by the Puriri W'akamaru o Taranaki. This role was established by the association to build bicultural understandings. Acknowledged next steps are to continue to develop strategies and approaches to effectively promote Māori children’s success as Māori.

Centre members are developing an understanding of the purpose of self review to guide improvement and change. The playcentre’s strategic direction is strongly linked to positive learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre members acknowledge that they require further professional learning and development to ensure that they have the current knowledge and skills to undertake high quality self review, assessment and evaluation practice. ERO’s evaluation supports this as a useful next step to guide ongoing improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

23 January 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


New Plymouth

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 23,

Boys 23

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

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

November 2013

Date of this report

23 January 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

November 2010


Education Review

February 2006


Accountability Review

November 2002

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.