Ohau Playcentre - 12/11/2019

1 Evaluation of Ohau Playcentre

How well placed is Ohau Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Ohau Playcentre is not well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Ohau Playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children one day a week. This includes 20 children up to the age of two years. At the time of this review, there are six children enrolled.

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. Ohau 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. Centre 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 centre has a good reporting history with ERO. However, since the previous report a number of factors have compromised the effective functioning of the centre. The employed session facilitator resigned in Term 3, 2018 and is yet to be replaced. All centre members have joined Playcentre within the past two years and have been unable to progress Playcentre education. Sessions only meet qualification requirements when regional and external volunteer support is in place.

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

The Review Findings

The philosophy is evident in practice. Relationships and interactions reflect te ao Māori concepts integral to playcentre. Children lead their own learning and their choices are respected. They confidently communicate with peers and adults, displaying a sense of ownership, belonging and trust. Infants and toddlers experience warm, respectful caregiving from all adults.

Children play within a well-resourced environment that offers opportunities for physical and creative development and challenge. Their interests are reflected in what is offered during session and they are engaged for sustained periods of time. Literacy, mathematics and connections to the natural world are promoted.

A dedicated group of parents is building their knowledge and understanding of Playcentre and early childhood education. Regional personnel provide increased guidance and support to progress this. The revised parent education programme is becoming more accessible to centre members. They are committed to undertaking initial training in the near future. Further opportunities to observe high quality teaching and learning practices should be sought.

Significant strengthening of the bicultural curriculum is required. Adults should intentionally integrate opportunities for children to experience te ao Māori throughout the session.

Parents are at the early stages of developing their understanding of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and its implementation. Newly introduced assessment requires deepening to effectively inform planning of a responsive local curriculum. In particular parents should be further supported to identify and progress individual children's learning.

Self review is not currently undertaken. Development of a useful self-review process and building parent understanding of review and evaluation is required. This should enhance decision making that is focused on improving outcomes for children.

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.

Systems and procedures that promote children's health and safety are not effectively implemented. Safe sleeping practices outlined in the Playcentre Aotearoa policy are not reliably adhered to and records of checks made on sleeping children show inconsistent monitoring. The recording of accidents involving children has not taken place over time. Hazard identification and management is ineffective in promoting a safe outdoor environment.

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.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Ohau 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO found significant areas of non-compliance in the service related to:

  • adults' understanding of children's learning and development and relevant theories and practices in early childhood education
  • opportunities for children to develop knowledge and understanding of Māori culture
  • a curriculum that is informed by assessment, planning and evaluation
  • ongoing self review that helps maintain and improve the quality of education and care
  • recording and analysis of accidents
  • implementation of policies related to children's sleep
  • a record of termly earthquake drills
  • an outdoor environment that is safe and suitable for use, in particular safety surfacing and fencing.
    Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C1, C2, C4, C5, GMA6, HS27, HS12, HS9, HS8, PF5, PF13; Regulation 43 Curriculum Standard: general (1a).

Since the onsite phase of the review ERO has received evidence of how sleep monitoring, earthquake drills and playground safety have been improved (HS8, HS9, HS13).

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends that the Ministry reassess the licence of Ohau Playcentre. ERO will not undertake a further education review of this service until the Ministry of Education is satisfied that the service meets licensing requirements.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

12 November 2019

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 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 4, Female 2

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

12 November 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2016

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

May 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.