Ngaio Playcentre - 12/05/2017

1 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 19 parent-led early childhood centres governed and administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). The playcentre is licensed to provide mixed age sessional education and care for 30 children five 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 the association at the governance level. This work is assisted by an operations manager and general manager. An executive committee administers the adult education programme. A centre support worker is employed to visit the centre and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for the day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders.

Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Each session is supported by a duty team of parent educators who hold playcentre training certificates. Almost all centre members are involved in the association's training programme with a large proportion holding the most advanced course qualifications.

The association philosophy, Whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together, is to empower parents and children to learn, grow and play together. This underpins practice and was reaffirmed by the association and Ngaio Playcentre in 2017.  

The service and the association responded positively to the areas identified for improvement in the 2014 ERO review. Internal evaluation and strategic planning were undertaken by association personnel to bring about changes to both the structural and organisational culture of the organisation. Clear boundaries between governance and management were expressed and changes made to improve support to individual centres.

The previous ERO report also identified centre leaders would benefit from association support to further develop assessment, programme planning and the provision of a bicultural curriculum through improved self-review practices. Deepening understanding of diverse cultures in the community was suggested.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation, which the Wellington Association is part of, is planning a significant restructure for 2017 that includes amalgamating associations. 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

All children's holistic development is enhanced through their engagement in child-initiated, play‑based learning. They enjoy one another's company and play amicably together, exploring and engaging in a range of appropriate learning activities.

Attentive parent educators know the children and their preferences well. They are nearby to support and encourage ongoing engagement where needed. Children’s social skills and developing relationships are well-supported. A positive tone and inclusive practice are highly evident. 

Te Whāriki and the playcentre philosophy underpin centre practice well. Parent educators have shared understanding of what they want children and families to experience during their time at playcentre and well-considered plans are in place to achieve this. 

Assessment, curriculum planning and evaluation practices effectively support adults to provide challenging and thought provoking learning experiences that respond to children’s interests. Individual learning portfolios, and an online programme for sharing information, celebrate children's progress and successfully capture their developing skills, knowledge and attributes. These are used intentionally for review and design of further experiences.

A comprehensive internal evaluation was undertaken, during 2014, to discover how well the association and centres included te reo and tikanga Māori as part of a culturally responsive curriculum. Ngaio Playcentre participated in this process. Strengthened and regularly reviewed initiatives continue to deepen children and adults understanding of te ao Māori. The experiences provided as a result of these initiatives highly engage children.

Literacy, mathematics and science activities are core components of children’s daily experience. The youngest children are embraced and nurtured within a culture of care.

Ngaio Playcentre members are a diverse group of enthusiastic parents and whānau who bring valuable skills and knowledge to their roles. Leadership tasks are clearly described. This strengthens adults' participation in areas of expertise. The high levels of involvement of the centre's community and a sense of collective responsibility to all children, provide a positive platform for learning. New members are carefully mentored and appropriately supported. Well-developed systems assist the smooth day-to-day running of the playcentre. 

The association is an improvement-focused organisation. The previous ERO review found the support provided at centre level by association support workers was helpful. ERO also recognised that formalising this arrangement to provide a more effective approach to responding to the needs of individual centres was a next step for development.

The association, as part of reviewing their structural organisation, reviewed the position of centre support workers and made improvements to human resource management. Timely and relevant leadership and guidance is provided for Ngaio Playcentre.

Self review is well understood and used for accountability and improvement.  Centre members use review to guide ongoing decision-making and to help develop shared understandings about children's learning. Planning priorities are aligned to the service and association vision and focus on improving teaching and learning. 

The centre support person and duty teams provide highly effective leadership that contributes positively to children’s early learning experience. Helpful strategies are in place to support newer centre members to document and record children's learning and progress. Playcentre course work and opportunities for professional learning successfully increase adults' individual and collective capacity to further support all children.

Key Next Steps

Association and centre leaders should continue to improve outcomes for children and families by using effective internal evaluation to ensure the very good practice occurring is sustained and prioritised developments are achieved.

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 four years. 

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

12 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 25, Girls 20

Ethnic composition

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 2017

Date of this report

12 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

September 2010

Education Review

January 2008

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.