Okato Playcentre - 15/07/2014

1 Evaluation of Okato Playcentre

How well placed is Okato 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.


Okato Playcentre is a community-based service located in coastal Taranaki. The playcentre is situated in a small close-knit community and operates two mornings per week.

Up to 25 children from birth to school age can attend sessions. The current roll of 40 children includes an increasing number of infants and toddlers. The philosophy highlights the role of parents as children’s first teachers, and the importance of their involvement in supporting the programme.

The playcentre is one of 17 parent-led services governed under the Taranaki Playcentre Association (the association) umbrella. The association provides a centre support person to give ongoing advice and guidance to members. It also offers opportunities for parents to train in the playcentres’ early childhood education courses. Many parents take up these courses.

The playcentre is on a transitional licence from the Ministry of Education in relation to property issues. These are being addressed through significant and planned renovations to the building.

This review was part of a cluster of three reviews in the Taranaki Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children experience relationships that are nurturing and responsive. They enjoy the company of each other. Families and children show a positive sense of belonging. Adults are actively involved in activities alongside their own and others’ children. They follow children’s interests and provide resources to add to children’s play. Adults effectively model care and respect for children and each other.

Children’s language development is well supported by adults who value and affirm children’s ideas and encourage their thinking and problem solving. An appropriate emphasis on providing literacy and numeracy experiences for children is evident.

The well-resourced environment provides many opportunities for exploration and discovery. Features are the many creative and expressive activities for children to be involved in. Established and positive links with the local school support children and families.

Children’s wellbeing is fostered. Adults encourage children’s independence and self-help skills, empowering them to make choices in the child-led programme.

Assessment and planning practices have been well developed and focus on recognising and responding to individual’s learning. Adults regularly share information with each other about children’s interests, and ways to support them in the programme. Developing session and termly evaluations should further promote ways for adults to enhance children’s learning.

A culture of reflection is evident. This assists adults to make decisions and improvements. Centre systems and processes are comprehensive and well developed. Members of the collaborative team show a shared commitment to the playcentre philosophy, and the centre’s shared values. They identify that developing aspects of self-review is a useful next step. ERO agrees with this focus.

Adults provide children with many experiences that assist them to become confident in Aotearoa New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Centre members are supported by the Puriri W’ākamaru o Taranaki (a role established by the association to build bicultural understandings). Acknowledged next steps are to develop strategies and approaches to effectively promote Māori children’s success as Māori.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre members agree that the next steps are to further build:

  • planning and evaluation practices
  • self review focusing on achieving positive outcomes for children
  • success for Māori learners.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

15 July 2014

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

25 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26,

Boys 14

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

15 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

November 2010


Education Review

May 2007


Education Review

March 2004

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.