Okato Playcentre - 22/08/2017

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 one of 17 parent-led services, administered by the Taranaki Playcentre Association (the association). A management team of elected volunteers implements the directives from playcentre governance. It is also responsible for providing the adult education programme, guidance and support for members.

The playcentre is licensed for up to 30 children, including 15 aged up to two years. Thirty children are enrolled. The centre opens for mixed-age sessions two mornings a week.

Centre supporters are employed by the association to regularly visit playcentres. Their role is to provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Parents share the duties associated with implementing the daily programme.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is planning a significant restructure for 2017 that includes amalgamating Associations. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

The June 2014 ERO report for Okato Playcentre identified the need for further development in practice for self review, planning and evaluation and Māori success. Centre members have made positive progress in these areas.

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

The Review Findings

The association philosophy of parent-led education and child-initiated play is valued by centre members and reflected in practice. The principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpin practice to promote positive outcomes for children. A commitment to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi is evident across the organisation.

An inclusive environment supports the strong sense of community. This is expressed through whānau tangata. Adults and children know each other well.

The centre provides a wide range of learning opportunities and activities. The children demonstrate a sense of ownership and belonging. They lead their own learning, make choices independently and engage with confidence in centre rituals and routines. There are high levels of engagement in play.

Tuakana teina relationships are fostered. Respect is demonstrated through children's empathy and care for one another. They are viewed as confident and competent learners.

The curriculum is well informed and guided by children's interests, needs and preferences. Play experiences incorporate literacy, mathematics and creative arts across the centre.

A collaborative approach to planning for learning is fostered. Expectations for practice are clearly outlined and effectively implemented. Parents' deepened understandings of learning are recorded and this regular documentation assists adults about to make decisions for individual children's future learning. Use of technology has positively strengthened adults' contributions to children's learning.

Assessment, planning and evaluation are carried out well by the collective. Portfolios have been redesigned. Adults should continue to promote children's culture, language and identity and embed the changes to planning for learning.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are positively reflected in the centre. Kupu Māori, books, resources, artefacts, puzzles, costumes and posters are used well. Tikanga rituals of karakia, waiata and pepeha include links to the whenua. Members should continue to build te reo me ngā tikanga Māori knowledge and understandings.

A well-considered transition process with local schools is in place. Positive collaborative relationships support children's interactions and experiences.

Adults have made good use of self review to strengthen assessment and planning for children's learning. More clearly showing the impact of adults' planned strategies on children's outcomes is a next step.

The association Māori representative of Puriri Whakamaru o Taranaki, supports centre members to gain further understandings of te ao Māori. This aspect is developing well as an integral part of the curriculum. Association and centre leaders should use strategic planning and internal evaluation to ensure the good practice occurring is sustained and continues to be built on.

The centre support person provides useful written reports on centre environmental developments and programme practices. These focus on outcomes for children and next steps for centre members to improve teaching and learning.

Appraisal for centre supporters requires strengthening. The process, to enhance outcomes for children and families, should: include more focused goals that build their capability; and provide more regular and targeted feedback and feed forward about supportive practices. 

Key Next Steps

The association should continue to support centre members to:

  • promote and include children's culture, language and identity in portfolios

  • develop knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori.

The association should:

  • improve appraisal for the centre support people to respond to individual needs and identify professional development to grow them in their leadership roles
  • continue to build centre support staff knowledge and capability to undertake effective internal evaluation.

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.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

22 August 2017 

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

Girls 16, Boys 14

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

22 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

June 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.