Normanby Playcentre - 19/08/2016

1 Evaluation of Normanby Playcentre

How well placed is Normanby 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.


Normanby Playcentre is situated in a small rural town in South Taranaki and operates as a community based service. The centre is licensed for up to 30 children, including 15 children up to the age of two years. Ten children are enrolled. The centre opens for mixed-age sessions two mornings a week. The playcentre's philosophy gives significance to parents, whānau and caregivers as first teachers.

The January 2014 ERO report identified a number of areas of concern for improvement that included: sustainability as a playcentre; a shared understanding of members' roles and responsibilities; assessment, planning and evaluation practices; internal evaluation and bicultural practice.

The Taranaki Playcentre Association has been proactive in responding to ERO's findings. Strategic decisions and actions included professional development to improve identified areas and promote positive learning outcomes for children. Members have clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Progress in developing assessment, planning and evaluation practices, internal evaluation and bicultural practice is evident.

Sustainability has been strengthened by an increase in the commitment of parents and families to gain Playcentre qualifications. Taranaki Playcentre Association has appointed a centre support person and a bicultural officer who have guided parents and whānau to increase their knowledge, understanding and implementation of centre leadership, te ao Māori, intentional planning and evaluative processes.

Normanby Playcentre is participating in an internal review titled 'Strengthening Taranaki Playcentres'. Led by the Association the internal evaluation seeks to 'build parent, family and community participation'. 

The Review Findings

Children at the centre actively engage in Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. A sense of belonging is enhanced through positive relationships in which children, parents and whānau know each other well. Children are viewed as competent and curious, able to exercise choice and celebrate learning as fun. The input of community is valued and affirmed.

Children's creativity is fostered through art, science and activities responsive to children's interests and strengths. The curriculum is grounded in literacy and mathematics. Excursions provide children with rich local learning opportunities. Social competencies are nurtured through tuakana teina, younger children supported by others. Children communicate with confidence in lasting conversations.

The use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori has been progressed. Karakia and waiata are woven through centre routines and aspects of play. The environment includes signposts of kupu Māori, natural resources and visual representation of te ao Māori centre and marae experiences. The next step is to continue to build and strengthen capability in te ao Māori.

There is a clear process for assessment, planning and evaluation. Ongoing observations of children in everyday activities, build a picture of what children know, understand, feel and do. Planning is prompted through adults noticing, recognising and responding and informed by children's prior learning.  A consistent approach to adding complexity, progress over time and articulating outcomes for children should strengthen centre practices. 

Profile entries highlight children's voice, artwork and interests over time. Individual narratives include some learning outcomes based on Te Whāriki. Parent aspirations are sought, contribute to planning and provide important links from home to the centre. Children's culture, language and identity are celebrated. The next steps are: to continue to share expectations for assessment, planning and evaluation with all parents and whānau; and embed systems the parent cooperative is developing to strengthen those processes.

A well-considered transition process with local schools, is in place.

The use of self review for improvement is evident. Members are aware of the need to further develop their understanding and implementation of effective self review. The association should provide further guidance and support so that members continue to develop their internal evaluation capability.

Through cooperation and coherency of approach, members have put in place practices that are sustainable. There is increased capacity to move forward positively. 

Key Next Steps

Priorities are to:

  • strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation
  • build te ao Māori capability and implementation
  • further develop understanding of internal evaluation to inform decision making.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

19 August 2016 

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 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 8, Girls 2

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

19 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

November 2010

Education Review

May 2007

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.