Otakiri Playcentre - 09/06/2015

1 Evaluation of Otakiri Playcentre

How well placed is Otakiri 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.


Otakiri Playcentre is a sessional centre providing education and care for children from birth to six years of age. The centre is located in a rural community adjacent to the Otakiri Primary School and close to Matata, Edgecumbe and Kawerau. The centre is open three mornings a week and embraces a free-play approach where children learn alongside their parents to ‘gain knowledge for themselves from their experiences and discoveries’.

The centre operates as a parent cooperative under the umbrella of the Eastern Bay of Plenty Playcentre Association (EBOPPA) and is licensed for 25 children, including up to 12 under two years. At the time of this review 13 children were enrolled including five of Māori descent. Members are committed to providing a child-centred programme within a supportive family-friendly environment.

Since the 2011 ERO review the centre roll has increased. Parents have improved the centre’s environment and facilities and an increased number of members are actively studying the playcentre courses available to the association. This has resulted in a growing understanding of early childhood education.

The centre has responded positively to the areas of review and development in the 2011 ERO report. Parents have broadened participation in leadership roles and responsibilities and enhanced assessment practice.

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

The Review Findings

A committed and knowledgeable group of parents work effectively to manage and operate the centre. Responsibilities are shared, and parents contribute their individual strengths as members of a learning community. Older children support younger children and display high levels of independence. Parents place high priority on children’s care needs and well being. Children are actively encouraged to explore and take risks in an inclusive and friendly environment.

Parents respond positively to children’s ideas and encourage them to play and learn alongside others. In this family-like, mixed-age setting there are many opportunities for children to establish friendships. Centre members have made progress in enhancing the use of te reo and tikanga Māori practices, but acknowledge this as an area for continued development.

The environment successfully promotes children’s learning and development. Play spaces, and an appropriate range of high quality equipment and materials, are easily accessible to children. Resources cater for the mixed-age group and are used in open-ended and creative ways. Well-organised areas facilitate children’s ongoing learning. Parents and children meet in purpose-built accommodation that is spacious, planned and inviting.

Individual children’s profiles provide a valuable record for parents and children. Their learning is identified, and described. End of session discussions, strengths and interests sheets, and term and annual reflections contribute to programme planning.

Children are confident with familiar and unhurried routines. They are able to choose from a wide range of activities, including some centred on using natural resources. Children enjoy opportunities to be involved in social interactions and conversations with other children, their parents and centre members. Literacy and mathematics are naturally included in children’s play where they can engage for long periods of time. Children have a variety of opportunities to learn and explore within a supportive atmosphere.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation provides overall guidance, support and strategic direction for the local association and centres. The EBOPPA aims to grow and sustain parent membership and is proactive in supporting local events and activities. There are clear policies, and procedures and guidelines for self review, assessment, planning and evaluation. Playcentre workshops help parents establish strategies and practices that ensure positive educational outcomes for children.

At the time of this review the national federation was in the process of considering changes to the governance and management structure of the organisation. This is likely to present an opportunity for further review and improvement to communication and support for centres.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre management agree that the next steps are to:

  • develop shared understandings in relation to child-led programmes and provide positive guidance for children
  • strengthen self review practices to bring about improved outcomes for children
  • further strengthen tikanga Māori and in particular, opportunities for children to hear and use te reo Māori as a meaningful and functional language.

Attention to these aspects of centre operation is likely to improve the quality of the programme and learning for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 June 2015

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


Otakiri, Bay of Plenty

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 7

Boys 6

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

9 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2011


Education Review

October 2008


Education Review

February 2006

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.