Outram Playcentre - 12/12/2018

1 Evaluation of Outram Playcentre

How well placed is Outram 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.


Outram Playcentre is one of 47 playcentres within the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's South Island Southern Region (SISR). The centre operates three mornings a week from 9.00am to 12.30pm. It provides for up to 25 children, including 15 children under two.

Outram Playcentre is celebrating 50 years of service to the families in the rural community around Outram. The centre is located next to the Outram School. The centre has a paid educator and is supported by an SISR support person. A parent council manages the day-to-day operations of the centre.

The centre philosophy is based on children having the opportunity to explore and learn through rich and varied play experiences, in a place they belong and are supported by their own whānau.

Since the 2013 ERO review, a number of changes have taken place including:

  • a growing roll

  • more parents undertaking playcentre training

  • the development of strategic and annual plans

  • the appointment of a new educator and centre-support person.

This review was part of a cluster of three reviews in the SISR.

The Review Findings

Outram Playcentre is operating effectively as a parent cooperative. Strong, supportive relationships are evident amongst adults and children at the centre. Parents work closely with the educator to plan and assess their children's learning and development. Each child has goals and an individual learning plan. The plan links closely to their lives at home and their parents' wishes for their development and learning. Children's profile books are a good record of children's learning and development over time.

Children are confident explorers who are well supported to make choices and lead their own learning. Group themes and activities successfully run alongside individual programmes and provide a variety of contexts for learning in the local community. The centre is well resourced and enables children to successfully explore activities of interest and take part in rich learning opportunities. There is some inclusion of a Māori dimension throughout the programme.

Children under two years old are well included in the programme. All parents willingly support all children and each other in the programme. Older children interact thoughtfully with the infants and toddlers.

The educator and president effectively build parents' understanding of the playcentre approach and philosophy. Most parents have undertaken some playcentre parent training. This has helped them to contribute to the planning and assessment of their own children.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the parents agree that the next steps should be to continue to integrate and embed Te Whāriki (2017) The Early Childhood Curriculum by:

  • further exploring Te Whāriki through professional development and discussion

  • documenting the playcentre's valued outcomes and how the rich local curriculum supports these.

There also need to be:

  • continued knowledge building and inclusion of bicultural perspectives

  • strengthening of internal evaluation and broadening the scope of this to cover all aspects of centre operations, including the philosophy.

At the time of this review the Otago Playcentre Association was implementing the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's new operating model. It was amalgamating with Southland and South Canterbury Playcentre Associations to become the South Island Southern Region. While the changes resulted in some disruption to the services provided to individual playcentres in 2017, the OPA is effectively managing the restructure with the resources available to them. Each playcentre now receives regular support from a paid administrator and a centre support worker. There are robust systems in the association for monitoring the progress and performance of individual playcentres, and targeted support is given when needed.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

12 December 2018

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 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 15

Boys: 12

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

12 December 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

October 2009

Education Review

April 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.