Opotiki Playcentre - 20/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Opotiki Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Opotiki Playcentre is a parent-led education and care service located in Opotiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. It caters for children from birth to school age and operates two mixed-age morning sessions per week. The playcentre is licensed for 30 children including up to 15 under the age of two years. The current roll of 22 children includes 15 who identify as Māori.

During 2018, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation transitioned from operating with 32 regional associations to become one national body with six regional offices. In the central North Island six associations have merged into a regional hub renamed Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region that now includes 95 playcentres over a large geographic area. During this transition there is some overlap between associations and the new national regional systems and processes. At Opotiki Playcentre, co-presidents are supported by a committee of parent members. A centre administrator and support worker are provided by the federation.

Through their national philosophy, the playcentre places emphasis on whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together. They empower adults and children to play, work and grow together and value and affirm parents as first and best educators of their children.

Opotiki Playcentre has a positive reporting history with ERO. Since the last ERO review in 2015, the centre has recently responded to strengthening the process for internal evaluation.

This review was part of a cluster of four reviews in the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region.

The Review Findings

Affirming interactions promote positive outcomes for children. Social competence and oral language are well supported by trusted adults who are engaged with children in their play. A well-resourced indoor environment provides a mixture of adult or child-led activities, supporting choice and decision making for children. Mathematics and literacy concepts, including music are integrated in the daily programme. Further consideration is required to make the outdoor environment engaging and inviting for children at all times. Trusting relationships support children to develop a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

There is a strong focus on learning through play. The emerging curriculum is inclusive for all learners, including families who have English as a second language. Children up to two years are well provided for. Free movement is encouraged in wide spaces which are appropriately resourced. Children’s strengths and interests are identified and used to support some planned activities. Further support is required for members to strengthen assessment and planning for learning.

Maōri children are well-supported to achieve success as Māori. Te reo Māori is visible in the environment. Māori whānau share their knowledge and expertise with others. Trips to a local marae, the use of waiata, bicultural resources and the promotion of tuakana teina relationships support all learners to appreciate the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

New leaders are working towards building the knowledge and understanding for all members about playcentre education. A more strategic approach to succession planning is in place to ensure sustainability for the playcentre. New members are welcomed and encouraged into training and participation. A useful framework has been used to develop a strategic and annual plan and has been consulted on by all members. Leaders have a clear vision for the outdoor development. Regular meetings are held to share knowledge and information. Internal evaluation is at early stages of development. Members need to continue to embed this process.

The Playcentre Aotearoa overarching strategic plan, philosophy, vision and individual annual plans have been implemented and guide the playcentre direction. There is a focus on building capability through recently reviewed and improved parent education programmes. Regular communication and support between the Playcentre Aotearoa and regions through the restructure supported business as usual. Existing policies and systems support centre operations until all new systems developed by Playcentre Aotearoa are implemented nationally. The federation is committed to offering more accessible localised training to respond to the needs of the community.

Key Next Steps

The next step for Opotiki Playcentre members is to ensure that the whole environment (particularly outside) is well prepared and inviting for children to engage in and learn through play.

Management should place priority on providing ongoing support for members to increase their knowledge of the early childhood curriculum Te Whariki, and assessment and planning of children’s learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Opotiki 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.

In order to improve practice leaders should ensure that the sandpit edging, yellow box and slide outside, and low fencing on deck complies with up-to-date regulations and to identify these areas on daily hazard checks.

The outdoor area should be prepared with sufficient resources and equipment for use by children attending.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres, 2008, PF5, PF4.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Opotiki Playcentre will be in three years.

Phil Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services Central
Central Region

20 February 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 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls                       13
Boys                        9

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

20 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

February 2012

Education Review

November 2008

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.