Onehunga Playcentre - 17/08/2017

1 Evaluation of Onehunga Playcentre

How well placed is Onehunga 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.


Onehunga Playcentre is a well established centre, licensed for 30 children including up to 15 under two years of age. The centre operates as a family cooperative and is one of 16 centres in the Auckland Playcentre Association.

Centre practices are based on Playcentre philosophy of families learning and growing together. The centre is open for five mixed-age sessions each week, catering for children from birth to school age. There is also an outdoor session each week for children over four years of age. The Association now operates a SPACE programme each week at the centre, for new parents and their infants.

The 2013 ERO report highlighted the centre’s strengths, which have been very well maintained. Areas for development in 2013 were to promote knowledge about infant learning and development and to learn about bicultural practices. Centre members have responded very positively to ERO's recommendations.

The Association continues to provide a sound management framework and support personnel to assist centre members in managing their centres. It administers centres’ funding and provides an adult education programme for parents/whānau to achieve Playcentre qualifications.

The Association management team has a strong commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to bicultural partnerships with whānau Māori. There is an expectation that adults and children will gain an understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori.

Playcentre Aotearoa is in the process of a national restructure. As a result, it is expected that a new regional manager and centre support personnel will be appointed towards the end of 2017.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Auckland Playcentre Association. 

The Review Findings

Children settle quickly and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in the centre. They are confident to approach adults and show positive social skills. Children make friends and play together for extended periods of time. They make choices about their learning and benefit from respectful adults who listen and respond to their interests.

Parents/whānau provide good quality care and learning for all children. Regular meetings and communication promote positive relationships amongst centre whānau. They know each other well and work very effectively together. Significant leadership by members who lead centre operations ensures families have access to exceptional play opportunities for their children. Whānau value frequent opportunities to make contributions to centre decisions.

Children benefit from the centre's values which align well with manaakitanga, tiaki and whanaungatanga. The whakataukī, 'he aha te mea nui o te ao; he tangata, he tangata, he tangata', clearly underpins the centre’s philosophy. Māori children’s wellbeing is very evident through inclusive bicultural practices. Adults use te reo Māori and promote children’s use of their own home languages.

Children under the age of two benefit from responsive and flexible care routines. Small group numbers help create a quiet and settled environment. Adult-to-child ratios are very good. Centre members use current theories and research to focus on providing challenging learning experiences for infants and toddlers.

The curriculum supports literacy and numeracy within the programme. Science is becoming an increased focus with older children having very good access to a spacious and well resourced environment. Adults are well placed to align resources with children's current interests and to develop other strands of mathematics and science.

Portfolios are useful records of children's learning and are valued by whānau. Professional development has been used well to improve adults' assessment of individual children’s learning. Leaders and other parents/whānau are developing planning systems to better link the daily programme with individual children’s interests.

The centre is well managed by a group of capable leaders. Self review has developed and a focus on continual improvement is very evident. Leaders continue to work at distributing centre and curriculum leadership roles. Increasing expectations for children’s learning and development are incorporated into the centre philosophy and are key strategic goals.

The Association management team takes responsibility for specific tasks relating to effective operations. The team is aware of the strengths and needs of each centre and provides strong professional leadership to sustain improvement and growth. Individualised and effective support helps each centre to continue fostering positive learning outcomes for children. The management team works collaboratively with centres as they respond to change, including the national restructure.

Key Next Steps

To enhance existing high quality practices centre members agree they could:

  • rationalise local policies and procedures
  • continue to develop and strengthen bicultural practices.

To enhance practices in all Auckland centres, the new regional manager and support personnel should consider ways to support centre members to:

  • increase their bicultural understanding and integration of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori
  • improve their understanding and use of internal evaluation as a tool to guide and improve practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Onehunga 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 Onehunga Playcentre will be in four years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

17 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 


Onehunga, Auckland

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

23 Boys, 16 Girls

Ethnic composition

Latin American
South East Asian
other European


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

17 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

July 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.