Ngaio Playcentre - 06/05/2014

Evaluation of Ngaio Playcentre

How well placed is Ngaio 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.


Ngaio 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. The centre operates five parent-led, mixed age sessions of two and a half hours per week, four mornings and one afternoon.

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.

Ngaio Playcentre is a long established centre in the area. It serves a diverse community. They use cooperative decision making, management, and positive relationships to support operations and children’s learning.

Since the September 2010 ERO report, this service has been relicensed under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. The licensing process was a focus for development for some time. During this period extensive alterations were made to the building, especially to the utility areas.

This review was part of a cluster review of 20 centres in the Wellington Playcentre Association. This centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

Key philosophical values are reflected in practice. A real sense of family and community is evident. Respect for the culture and identity is evident. There is an ongoing focus on building and maintaining positive and relationships in the centre. Members are friendly and welcoming.

Children are settled, cooperative and happy learners. They have free access to a wide variety of challenging learning materials. The outdoor area is extensive and inviting for play. It encourages exploration and physical challenge. Literacy and numeracy are well integrated into the programme in meaningful, playbased ways. A busy and engaged atmosphere with much sustained play is evident. The centre agrees it is timely to consider ways to promote the leadership opportunities of older children.

There is good provision for infants and toddlers. They are well supported and encouraged to explore the play spaces and full range of learning materials. These youngest playcentre members show confidence in making choices and leading their learning. A suitably resourced area is currently being considered for those children who are not yet mobile. Recently upgraded change and sleep areas are well-used.

Members maintain good levels of purposeful engagement with children. They are responsive to children, allowing them to take the lead and supporting them to explore. Adults use questioning to extend children’s ideas. High ratios of adults to children promote opportunities for one-to-one interaction.

Members are committed to participation in ongoing training and development. Recent review and development of planning and assessment focus on trying to capture children’s learning and developing skills. Parents share their aspirations for developing the interests and strengths of children. Session planning meetings consider identified, ongoing interests of children. PLODs (possible lines of direction) are now visibly displayed to aid continuity of planning for individual and groups of children. This is an ongoing area for development.

Assessment portfolios are attractive, informative and regularly accessed by parents and children. These include observations of children and records of enrichment events. Portfolios provide parents with an attractive record of the child’s learning and the range of their child’s experiences. A next step is to better capture children’s significant learning and to show progress over time.

Bicultural practices are highly evident. Centre leaders are committed to strengthening members’ understanding of bicultural practices in the centre. Members identify further development of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is an ongoing focus.

The varied cultural backgrounds of children are recognised and valued. Members seek ways to share and support these during sessions. Continuing to deepen understanding of the diverse cultures within the Ngaio community should support an enriched programme.

The friendly, inclusive culture, strong centre leadership and support for each other fosters parents’ confidence and willingness to become involved in management roles and training. Members are reflective and committed in their roles. They use self review to undertake reviews and to make changes to the environment. The centre has identified that further development of self review is a next step. Members' strong commitment and sense of community point to a positive future for this service.

The association provides good support and a range of training for members. The centre supporter provides regular face-to-face feedback and help as needed. Comprehensive and up-to-date written policies and procedures guide office holders in their management role and members in planning and implementing an appropriate programme. The systematic review of and plan to restructure governance and management are being carefully worked through to support a more sustainable future for the organisation and individual centres.

Key Next Steps

Members should continue to:

  • strengthen their understanding and use of self review to promote improvement and positive outcomes for children
  • refine assessment and planning processes
  • deepen their understanding of diverse cultures in the community
  • develop bicultural practices within the curriculum
  • develop their understanding of success for Māori as Māori and take appropriate actions to support Māori children to achieve success as Māori.

The association should:

  • support members to strengthen their understanding and use of self review to promote improvement
  • continue to develop centre support processes based on identified needs and priorities
  • support members to develop their understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership
  • provide leadership to members to help them actively support success for Māori as Māori
  • redevelop the appraisal process to ensure the development needs of centre-based employees are met.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

6 May 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


Ngaio, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including 18 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 20, Girls 17

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

March 2014

Date of this report

6 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

September 2010


Education Review

January 2008


Education Review

February 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.