Onga Onga Playcentre - 25/07/2019

1 Evaluation of Onga Onga Playcentre

How well placed is Onga Onga Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Onga Onga Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Onga Onga Playcentre is located rurally in Central Hawkes Bay. The centre provides two sessions weekly for a maximum of 30 children, including 10 up to the age of two. At the time of this review there are 19 children enrolled and eight identify as Māori.

The centre is administered by Playcentre Aotearoa, Lower North Region and is supported by a regional manager. National policies are in the process of being developed and distributed to all playcentres for discussion.

The Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy, 'whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together', is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. Alongside this, the centre philosophy fosters an emergent, child-led curriculum.

Whānau and families are valued as the primary educators of their children. Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Responsibility of day-to-day operation is undertaken by session support personnel and centre-elected office holders. A centre support worker centre administrator regularly visits playcentres to provide professional guidance and support, strengthen practice and promote improvement.

The January 2016 ERO report identified key next steps for ongoing development at Onga Onga Playcentre. These included: training; building bicultural practices and strengthening strategies to support Māori children and their whānau; embedding knowledge of self review; and establishing a regular cycle of policy review. Progress is evident.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentres in Central Hawkes Bay.

The Review Findings

Children follow their interests and make choices from carefully considered activities. Adults facilitate learning through play in the well-resourced environment. Literacy, mathematics, creative arts, science and physical opportunities are positive features of the programme.

Positive relationships amongst children, parents and whānau promote a sense of belonging and enjoyment. Children are affirmed as competent and capable. Infants and toddlers are appropriately supported to confidently explore. Adults' practice is responsive to their preferences and interests.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are well promoted. Parents are developing their te reo Māori skills to model appropriately to children. Karakia, tikanga and waiata are woven through centre rituals and areas of play. The environment includes kupu Māori, posters, books and natural resources. Continuing to build strategies for promoting te ao Māori across the curriculum should strengthen members' responsiveness to Māori children's culture, language and identity.

There is an established process for assessment, planning and evaluation. Curriculum planning is responsive to children's developing interests. Parents work with the goals, ways of learning and outcomes of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. They write about these in children's individual learning plans and portfolios. Making the link to children's interests at home is a feature. Support to further develop members' understanding of meaningful assessment and planning is ongoing.

Transitions into the centre are thoughtfully considered by families. Children attend events at the local school. This helps them to successfully move on to their next learning pathway.

The centre is inclusive of children with additional needs. There is good knowledge of local agencies if strategies or support are required.

Leaders and members demonstrate a clear focus on positive outcomes for children. Ongoing evaluation informs future direction and guides members to know what practices work well and what more they could do.

Leaders have undertaken professional development to strengthen individual member's knowledge and understanding of early childhood learning. There is a strong focus on increasing membership, encouraging adult education and supporting new members into centre roles. The aim is to maintain a fully parent-led service. At a regional level it is timely to review, monitor and evaluate the quality of systems to support provision of this education to playcentres.

Suitable planning priorities and objectives are incorporated into the centre's strategic and annual planning. The centre support worker effectively guides and provides relevant feedback to grow members' practice.

The appraisal process is currently based on annual review of successes and challenges. This requires further strengthening to better reflect roles and responsibilities and respond to building centre support worker and members' capability.

Key Next Steps

At playcentre level, priorities are to continue to:

  • develop understanding and use of effective internal evaluation for improvement

  • deepen understanding of children's culture, language and identity, particularly for Māori children.

At the governance level (Playcentre Aotearoa), priorities are to continue to:

  • develop and implement national policies and procedures

  • refine the appraisal process for employed staff

  • provide education for members to build playcentre capability.


ERO recommends that the regional team actively monitors and evaluates the quality of support provided to playcentres.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Onga Onga 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

25 July 2019

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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Males 10, Females 9

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

25 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2016

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

October 2009

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.