Opoho Playcentre - 04/04/2019

1 Evaluation of Opoho Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Opoho Playcentre is open for five mornings a week for children from birth-to-school age. Most parents attend with their child. Since the November 2014 ERO review, the roll has become much more multi-cultural. This is a long-established playcentre with a good ERO reporting history. Opoho Playcentre is one of 47 in the recently formed South Island Southern Region (SISR) hub under the New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF).

A parent council oversees the day-to-day running of the centre and each member has specific responsibilities. A centre support worker (CSW) from the SISR visits regularly to provide support. Two experienced facilitators share the role of working with parents in providing education and care for the children.

This review was one of four in SISR playcentres. The playcentre organisation is nearing the end of an extensive restructure and review. From 2019, all playcentres will be part of a national group known as Playcentre Aotearoa.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from positive, collaborative relationships they have with each other and the many adults who attend. Parents effectively support the learning and development of all children, along with their own. This contributes to a sense of whanaungatanga, where families and children have a strong sense of belonging.

The high number of parents in the daily programme gives children many opportunities for one-to-one interactions with an adult. Parents work cooperatively to ensure children:

  • settle quickly and feel confident to pursue their interests and learning preferences
  • have access to a wide range of activities and experiences that attract and hold their interest
  • have opportunities to develop positive social skills within a mixed-age environment.

Children up to age two are very well cared for and supported in their learning and development. Parents share responsibility for this. There are quiet places for infants to sleep and play separately, if required.

Parents have a strong commitment to integrating Māori perspectives and valuing Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the programme and centre practices. Several parents regularly use te reo Māori with children. This means that children are becoming familiar with aspects of Māori culture and hearing te reo Māori being spoken.

Children benefit from a broad curriculum, with many opportunities for early literacy, science exploration, nature studies and the development of physical skills and confidence. They have easy access to a wide range of resources, activities and experiences that attract and hold their interest and support their learning.

A useful system for planning and assessing individual children's learning is in place. This is complemented by specific group planning. Adults begin and finish each session with meaningful discussions about how to best support children's learning. A next step is to clarify the valued learning for this playcentre and be more specific about strategies adults use to support children's learning.

Parents are very focused on improvement. They proactively seek ways to progress their own and their children's learning. Recent evaluations of mathematics and early literacy have produced useful guidelines that parents can refer to and use during the session. The parent council are highly engaged with all aspects of the playcentre operation.

NZPF have developed and are implementing, a clear national and regional management structure. Some of the new roles have had a very positive impact at centre level, with parent council members valuing the increased support they receive.

Of particular significance are:

  • the centre administrator role which provides sound monitoring of health, safety and compliance

  • the centre support worker who visits regularly to share best practice and monitor the quality of learning and teaching

  • the role of a facilitator, available at every session to role model good practice and empower parents to implement effective early childhood education for their children.

Key Next Steps

ERO's evaluation confirms what parents have identified as next steps for the playcentre's development. These include:

  • documenting what learning is valued in the playcentre
  • strengthening aspects of assessment, planning and evaluation and with clear strategies for adults to use to support children's learning and progress children's learning goals
  • further developing the strategic plan and showing in the annual plan, how the goals and the priorities for learning will be actioned over time.

The next steps for the SISR are to:

  • refine and embed the new NZPF structure, systems and processes, including monitoring and lines of reporting

  • continue to develop and strengthen the NZPF and individual playcentre internal-evaluation processes and practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Opoho 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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

4 April 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

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 14, Girls 7

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

Facilitator and parent led programme (with range of playcentre qualifications)

Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

4 April 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

November 2014

Education Review

May 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

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.