Omokoroa Playcentre - 27/02/2015

1 Evaluation of Omokoroa Playcentre

How well placed is Omokoroa 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.


Omokoroa Playcentre is a parent-led cooperative education and care service located in a rural area in the Western Bay of Plenty. It is licensed to cater for 30 children from birth to school age, including 15 aged under-two years. Most families live in the local community and most children attend the local primary school when they reach school age.

The centre operates under the playcentre philosophy of children and adults learning together within a supportive, safe and nurturing environment. Mixed-age sessions are run daily between 9.00am and 12.00pm. Sessions are planned as a team with all parents working with and alongside their own and other children to develop each child’s skills and build confidence. Parents have responded positively to the areas for improvement identified in the last ERO review of the centre in 2011.

Parents benefit from the support and guidance from the Western Bay of Plenty Playcentre Association (WBOPPA) umbrella organisation. The association supports the centre through providing a knowledgeable centre liaison officer and an administration officer. WBOPPA also assists the centre with training workshops and useful documentation and frameworks to guide centre operations. These guidelines are underpinned by the association’s philosophy, which is highly evident in members’ practice.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentre reviews in the Western Bay of Plenty Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Parents with support from a qualified supervisor, plan a programme of education and care that is highly responsive to the interests and strengths of infants, toddlers and young children. The qualified supervisor works with children throughout the centre and provides other parents with a role model for effective practice in promoting children’s learning and wellbeing. Parents are hard working and dedicated to providing the best possible outcomes for all children in the centre. They bring high levels of subject content knowledge, work and life experiences to their roles which enhance the quality of the playcentre experience for all children.

Children of all ages mix well together and there are many instances where older children are able to support their younger peers in exploration and play. The mixed-age setting also allows children of all ages to practise and develop their oral language, communication and social skills while being supported by parents. Children experience leadership roles as they assist parents to set up the environment and are fully involved in routines throughout the day. The involvement of parents working alongside their children provides a continuity of learning between the centre and home.

The playcentre is set up to ensure that children are able to choose from an extensive range of high- quality equipment throughout each session. High-quality learning environments are available for children to explore. The centre layout is open and organised to provide learning areas that are attractive and inviting for children to explore and learn. Displays in the centre reflect children’s play and learning and the inclusion of photographs helps to make children’s learning visible in the environment.

Parents work as a highly effective and collaborative team. The programme provides children with access to all 16 playcentre areas of play. Early literacy and mathematical experiences and learning are integrated throughout the programme each day. An extensive range of books and stories is easily accessible and prominently displayed in the centre. Children are using books to read stories with adults, share poems and songs, and as a source of information when exploring their ideas.

While meaningful mathematical learning is occurring across many learning areas the centre would benefit from a review of this learning area. Such a review is likely to strengthen the way parents plan to include mathematical learning and recognise it in children’s portfolios. There are many opportunities for children to express themselves creatively though music, art, dramatic and imaginative play. A particular feature of the centre is the outstanding natural environment, which provides many opportunities for children to learn about science, nature and the living world.

Leadership of centre activities is shared among members. The immediate past centre president is providing valuable support to the new president following a recent change in centre roles. Emergent leadership is also fostered through parent involvement with playcentre course training and regular workshops.

Parents have a good understanding of the purpose of ongoing self review. Focused review of aspects of the centre, including some areas of learning, have contributed to high quality facilities, a well-presented centre environment and a commitment to continuous improvement. The area for children under-two years has been remodelled and provides an attractive, comfortable and well- monitored place for babies to explore. This area is highly visible to parents, well resourced with age-appropriate equipment and enables babies to feel included and observe the programme in action.

Key Next Steps

Assessment: Parents maintain individual child portfolios that show children’s participation in aspects of the programme. These learning story assessments reflect the training levels of individual members. Parents acknowledge the importance of strengthening their understandings about noticing and documenting children’s learning, planning next learning steps and showing individual progress over time.

Bicultural practice: A recently appointed bicultural officer is providing sensitive leadership, direction and integrity to the process of incorporating local Māori knowledge and history into the culture of the centre. Parents acknowledge the importance of strengthening their knowledge of bicultural practice.

Use of Ministry of Education guidelines: A useful next step for the centre would be to make use of some of the Ministry of Education guidelines and resources to support self review, assessment and a broad range of centre operations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer-Northern Northern Region

27 February 2015

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

Boys 26

Girls 17

Ethnic composition



Other European








Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

27 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2011


Education Review

September 2008


Education Review

June 2005

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.