Ngakuru Playcentre - 13/02/2015

1 Evaluation of Ngakuru Playcentre

How well placed is Ngakuru 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.


Ngakuru Playcentre is located in the rural community of Ngakuru, near Rotorua and caters for children up to six years of age. It is licensed for 26 children, including up to 16 children up to the age of two years. At the time of this ERO review, 25 children were enrolled, of whom 7 are identified as Māori. The centre currently provides two family sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. There has been some recent roll growth.

Children enjoy spacious facilities that afford many opportunities for active play and exploration. Parents strive to provide a ‘safe, caring environment where they support each child and their family’s individual needs’. The centre enjoys close relationships with the adjoining school and the community.

Since the last ERO review in 2011, play areas and toilets have been upgraded. Parents have continued with playcentre education courses and there are a number of parents who are working at course three level of the Playcentre Federation training modules.

The centre operates under the umbrella of Rotorua Playcentre Association. The knowledgeable operations manager is readily available to assist with information, and an experienced centre support officer attends playcentre sessions and meetings to advise and mentor members. She reports to the association about compliance with licensing, health and safety and other operational requirements.

The playcentre education programme assists members to provide appropriate learning opportunities for their children. Recent professional development through a Ministry of Education contract has assisted the association and its centres to use a self-review process to consider how best to recruit, receive, engage and retain members. An important feature was the exploration of a simple method to help new members write stories for children’s portfolios.

This review was part of a cluster of five playcentre reviews in the Rotorua Playcentre Association..

The Review Findings

Children are highly engaged in play and exploration. They have ready access to high quality resources and equipment. They play cooperatively with each other, and older children support their younger peers in a positive tuakana-teina relationship. Children enjoy participating in a wide range of activities in a well-prepared, attractive and interesting environment. They are able to follow their interests and make decisions about their learning. Children are physically active and readily challenge themselves to take reasonable risks and extend their capabilities. They have a sense of belonging, independence, and are confident to approach adults for assistance or involvement in their play. Children enjoy meeting as a group to share stories and morning tea. Trips into the local community extend their knowledge of the wider world.

Parent members are aware of children’s interests and are responsive to the choices they make about their play and learning. ERO observed some good examples of parents helping children to take their thinking further and deepen their understanding. The current programme theme about science is enabling parents to introduce a range of new concepts and share their knowledge with children. Literacy and aspects of mathematics are naturally included as part of the programme and the centre is exploring ways of including te reo Māori and culture. Māori children and their families are well integrated and participate actively in the centre.

Parents celebrate learning through individual profile books which they develop for their children. These profiles value children’s identity and provide a record of their playcentre experiences that can be shared with friends and family. Some learning stories now include the child’s voice and individual progress over time. The centre recognises that more needs to be done to develop consistency in the quality of learning stories.

Parent members maintain strong links and relationships with the neighbouring school. Close proximity to and interaction with the school enable children to transition easily from the playcentre into the new entrant class.

Committed office holders are well informed and provide strong leadership for centre members. They ask for help if needed, undertake and promote training in early childhood courses, and have made good use of assistance from the Playcentre Federation to improve centre self review. They have a strong focus on ensuring positive relationships and communication among centre members.

The playcentre’s strategic plan identifies priorities for development, and supports the long-term sustainability of the centre. It could now be extended to include children’s learning. Planned and spontaneous self review is undertaken to evaluate topics such as the quality of the environment and policy review. It would now be beneficial to review the quality and outcomes of the programme for children’s learning.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the association have agreed on the following areas for development:

  • Include goals for planning and assessing the programme for children’s learning in the strategic plan. By developing indicators to describe the desired outcomes of these goals, the successes and next steps could be identified.
  • Document more detailed planning for each term’s theme, developed from the observed interests of children.
  • Utilise parents’ improved knowledge of effective self review to evaluate the quality and outcomes of the programme.

The association recognises and celebrates learning for both adults and children as an essential part of valuing the 'playcentre experience'. A strategic goal for the association and centre for identifying and building on programme successes would likely strengthen learning opportunities and outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

13 February 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


near Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

26 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 15

Girls 10

Ethnic composition



Other European




Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

13 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2011


Education Review

October 2008


Education Review

May 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.