Omakau & Districts Playcentre - 14/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Omakau & Districts Playcentre

How well placed is Omakau & Districts 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.


Omakau & Districts Playcentre is one of 47 playcentres within the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's newly-formed South Island Southern Region (SISR). It is a rural playcentre that provides education and care for children from birth-to-school age, three mornings a week.

There has been significant roll growth since the 2014 ERO visit. In response to this, plans are underway to open for four days a week, which has resulted in plans to incorporate an additional session. The playcentre has planned building extensions underway, which will provide much needed office and administrative space for parents.  

An educator works closely with parents to plan a curriculum that supports, enriches and nurtures learning for children. There is an enthusiastic and largely new parent community. Parents have clear ideas about their curriculum priorities and what learning matters within their playcentre.

In 2017, the playcentre was supported by a centre advisor with occasional visits and frequent communications from the Otago Playcentre association (OPA). In 2018, as a result of the Playcentre Federation restructuring of the Association, the playcentre now has regular fortnightly visits and receives ongoing support from a centre support worker (CSW) and a paid administrator.

This review was part of a cluster of nine playcentre reviews in the South Island Southern Region (SISR).

The Review Findings

Children are engaged in sustained and meaningful play experiences. There are many opportunities for individual and collaborative learning experiences. The curriculum supports children to lead their learning, with scaffolded support from their parents and other adults. Adults actively engage in meaningful and authentic interactions with children. This is supported through purposeful play opportunities for children.

The centre environment is well resourced and provides a broad-based range of curriculum experiences for children. The paid educator has integrated purposeful teaching strategies that support and encourage early literacy for children. Children's learning is further extended through the continuation of learning experiences from prior sessions.

There is a strong multicultural parent community who are committed to the provision of quality early childhood education. Parents use a range of opportunities to collaborate within the curriculum and role-model respectful relationships for children. Children and their families experience a strong sense of belonging. The playcentre has many links and connections to the local community. These links have contributed to the development of a strongly connected and embedded localised curriculum.

Some assessment of children's learning is documented and presented aesthetically within children's profile books. The planning for individuals and groups of children is evident and displayed. This has proven to be positive for parents to see. Aspects of self review/internal evaluation are developing and will be further improved with continued support from the centre support worker (CSW).

Bicultural practices have strengthened with the ongoing support from the REAP Māori Coordinator. Parents make genuine and authentic attempts to use te reo Māori across the curriculum. Parents have identified that this is an area that they wish to continue to strengthen.

At the time of this review the Otago Playcentre Association (OPA) was implementing the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's new operating model, and was amalgamating with Southland and South Canterbury Playcentre associations to become the South Island Southern Region. While the changes resulted in some disruption to the services provided to individual playcentres in 2017, the OPA are effectively managing the restructure with the resources available to them.

Each playcentre now receives regular support from a paid administrator and a centre support worker. There are robust systems in the association for monitoring the progress and performance of individual playcentres, and targeted support given when needed.

Key Next Steps

The centre has identified, and ERO agrees, that the key next steps for continued growth and development, with the support of the CSW are to:

  • make clear (within learning stories) the relevant and appropriate next steps to extend children's learning
  • continue to strengthen and extend  aspects of internal evaluation
  • strengthen aspects of bicultural practices, including the use of and the integration of te reo me ona tikanga Māori
  • make the intended valued learning outcomes for children more prominent within documentation
  • document and evaluate sessions to show continuity of children's learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Omakau & Districts 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 Omakau & Districts Playcentre will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

14 May 2018 

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

23 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 14
Boys: 13

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

14 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

February 2011

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.