Newlands Tamariki Playcentre - 09/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Newlands Tamariki Playcentre

How well placed is Newlands Tamariki 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.


Newlands Tamariki Playcentre is one of 19 parent-led early childhood centres governed and administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). It is licensed to provide mixed age sessional education and care for up to 30 children, four mornings a week. This includes provision for 18 children up to the age of two, at any one time. 

A council, of elected volunteer representatives from each of the association's member centres, oversees operation of the association at the governance level. Their work is assisted by an operations manager and general manager.

An executive committee administers the adult education programme and tutors provide timely guidance and support for members. Responsibility for
day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders.

A centre support worker is employed to visit the centre and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. The support worker's more formalised role was developed after the 2014 ERO review that identified the need for a more effective response to the needs of individual centres. 

The association philosophy, Whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together, articulated as empowering parents and children to learn, grow and play together, underpins practice. This was reaffirmed by the association and Newlands Tamariki Playcentre at their recent annual general meeting and guides service provision and practice for their learning community.

Newlands Tamariki Playcentre has responded proactively to the areas identified for improvement in the 2014 ERO review. The report identified that centre leaders would benefit from association support to further develop a more bicultural perspective, assessment, planning and self‑review practices.

In 2013, Newlands Tamariki Playcentre had already identified this need and piloted a self review of their use of te reo and te ao Māori in play that was adopted by the association and administered in Wellington centres in 2014.

Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Each session is supported by a duty team of parent educators who hold playcentre training certificates. All centre members are supported and encouraged to participate in the adult education programme provided by the association. The centre has sustained high numbers of trained members over time, enabling parents to be actively involved in their child's education.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation, of which the Wellington Association is part, is planning a significant restructure for 2017. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

This review was part of a cluster of nine in the Wellington Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children’s holistic development is enhanced through their engagement in child-initiated, play-based learning. Te Whāriki and playcentre philosophy underpin centre practice. Assessment, curriculum planning and evaluation practices provide adults with timely and useful information. This helps them plan meaningful learning experiences, responsive to children’s interests. Their progress, developing skills, knowledge and attributes are celebrated in individual learning portfolios.

The centre support person and duty teams provide strong, effective leadership that contributes positively to children’s early learning experience. Helpful strategies are in place to support newer members to the centre to document and record children's learning and progress.

High levels of involvement in the centre's community and a sense of collective responsibility for the children provide a positive platform for learning. Members are a diverse group of enthusiastic parents and whānau who bring valuable skills and knowledge to their roles. Well-developed systems support the smooth day-to-day running of the playcentre. 

A comprehensive internal evaluation by the association was undertaken, during 2014, to discover how well the association and centres included te reo me ngā tikanga Māori as part of a culturally rich, responsive curriculum.

The inclusion of te ao Māori is an integral part of children's daily experience. Planning is strengthened by the up-skilling of members in te reo Māori who bring their new knowledge and enthusiasm to the sessions.

A weekly bilingual session where tamariki and adults practice their te reo Māori through pepeha, karakia, waiata, games and books is supported by a kaitiaki. This session is also attended by tamariki and their parents from other centres. The centre’s bicultural journey has been deliberate and planned.

The dual purpose of self review for accountability and improvement is well understood and guides ongoing decision-making. Planning priorities are aligned to the service and association vision. Self review has had a positive impact on children’s social development and learning.

Well-considered transition processes for children and parents new to the centre enable them to become part of the learning community. Parents are mentored by more experienced members who model an open, collaborative approach.

Well-chosen age-appropriate equipment and effective session planning enables and supports centre children of all ages to play and learn together. Planning and evaluation activities are colourfully displayed enabling continuity between sessions. The centre provides well for children's learning needs.

Key Next Steps

Association and centre leaders should continue to improve outcomes for children and families by using internal evaluation effectively to ensure the good practice occurring is sustained and prioritised developments are achieved. One of these developments is to improve the inclusion of Pacific cultures in centre environment and learning resources.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

9 May 2017 

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

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 16, Girls 12

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

9 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Supplementary Review

April 2009

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.