Normanby Playcentre - 22/01/2020

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

Normanby Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.


Normanby Playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children two days a week, including 15 up to the age of two years. At the time of this review, there are 11 children enrolled and three are Māori.

The Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy, ‘whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together’, is to 'empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together'.

Since the August 2016 ERO report, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation has restructured by amalgamating all associations to form Playcentre Aotearoa. Normanby Playcentre is part of the Lower North Island Region and is supported by a regional manager and support persons.

Whānau and families share responsibility for the curriculum. Day-to-day operation is undertaken by session support personnel and centre-elected office holders. A centre support worker and centre administrator regularly visit playcentres to provide professional support, strengthen practice and promote improvement.

The previous ERO report identified that Normanby Playcentre needed to strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation, te ao Māori and further develop internal evaluation. These areas continue to be progressed.

A focus for Normanby Playcentre has been developments to their outdoor environment that are ongoing.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 playcentres in the Lower North Island Region.

The Review Findings

Relationships between the children and adults are positive and reciprocal. Children enjoy the company of their peers and engage in sustained play. They have a sense of belonging in the space and confidently make decisions about their involvement and experiences in activities of interest. Tuakana teina relationships are evident and particularly benefit the service's youngest children.

Useful processes are in place to support adults in noticing, recognising and responding to children's interests. These include making children's interests visible, and ways that adults can extend these at the centre and home. Portfolio books provide a record of the child's participation in the programme. Centre leaders have identified that greater use of prompts and guidance for centre members is needed to strengthen the consistency of these assessment records.

Children have opportunities to experience tikanga Māori through established centre rituals and routines. Artefacts, resources and waiata are well integrated into curriculum experiences for children. Members are continuing to grow their knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori.

Transition into the playcentre is flexible, responsive and welcoming to meet each family's needs. There have been recent connections re-established with local schools. This should assist children and families as they move onto school.

Self-review processes are established with appropriate priorities identified for improvement to the curriculum. Review for improvement has led to enhanced resourcing and provisions for children's learning. Continuing to develop the evaluative aspect of review when looking at actions and practices, should assist members to better know about the impact of these on learner outcomes.

Strategic planning assists in providing useful direction towards achieving centre priorities, that are appropriately focused on what is significant for this service. Progress towards these goals is regularly monitored. Strengthening the focus on outcomes for learners should assist members to know the effectiveness of the actions taken.

The revised parent education programme is more accessible to centre members. Long-standing members have engaged in Playcentre parent education programmes and provide continuity and knowledge for the new members.

Appraisal processes for session support staff have recently been strengthened to better evaluate performance in relation to specific roles and responsibilities, identify professional learning and development needs and focus on achievement of goals.

The national restructuring process continues to require significant attention and support to implement an extensive range of systems and processes. Regular communication from Playcentre Aotearoa seeks to keep parents informed of progress, changes and upcoming requirements. National policies and procedures have recently been introduced and parents are in the process of aligning practices to these. Ongoing support is required to enable parents to understand and implement these procedures to meet licensing requirements.

Key Next Steps

At playcentre level, priorities are to continue to:

  • strengthen understanding and use of internal evaluation for improvement to more clearly show the impact of actions on outcomes for children

  • develop the consistency of assessment practices to support children's learning progress over time.

Playcentre Aotearoa should continue to build knowledge and understandings of policies and procedures, and support systematic monitoring of these, to ensure licensing requirements are upheld.

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.

To improve current practice the playcentre members need to ensure that:

  • the cupboard containing cleaning products is locked to prevent children's access

  • hazards to children in the garden are minimised such as the harakeke in the children's outdoor play space

  • procedures relating to supervision of children's eating are strengthened. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS12, HS2]

Since the onsite stage of this ERO evaluation the service has provided evidence to show that these matters have been addressed.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

22 January 2020

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

Male 8, Female 3

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



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

November 2019

Date of this report

22 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2016

Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

November 2010

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.