Paekakariki Playcentre - 05/06/2014

Evaluation of Paekakariki Playcentre

How well placed is Paekakariki 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.


Paekakariki Playcentre is one of 20 parent-led early childhood centres administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). A council oversees operation at governance level and an executive committee provides the adult education programme, guidance and support for members. Two centre supporters are employed by the executive to visit playcentres and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Parents share the duties associated with implementing the programme.

Playcentre philosophy recognises parents as the best first teachers of their children and emphasises the importance of child-initiated play in mixed-age sessions. Acknowledging Te Tiriti o Waitangi is an integral part of this philosophy.

Paekakariki playcentre is one of only two early childhood centres in the area. It serves a diverse community. Members place high value on the centre’s links with its community, using the local, natural environment, cooperative decision making and management, and positive relationships to support operation and children’s learning. Four mixed-age sessions are held each week.

Since the October 2010 ERO report, this service has been relicensed under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. The licensing process was a focus for development for some time. The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

This review was part of a cluster of 20 reviews of centres in the Wellington Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Key philosophical values are reflected in practice. A real sense of family and community is evident. There is an ongoing focus on building positive and enduring relationships in the centre and beyond. Members are friendly and welcoming. Children are settled, cooperative and happy learners. Continuing to deepen understanding of the diverse cultures in the community should support an enriched programme and progress in meeting the playcentre's strategic goal to reflect the essence of the Paekakariki community.

Members maintain good levels of purposeful engagement with children. They are responsive, allowing children to take the lead and supporting them to explore, extend their ideas and persevere in their play. Literacy and numeracy are well integrated into the programme in meaningful, playbased ways. Children’s language development is fostered through ongoing discussion and conversation. High ratios of adults to children promote opportunities for one to one interaction. Much sustained and cooperative play is evident. A calm tone prevails.

Children have free access to a suitable variety of learning materials. A focus on sustainable living, through gardening, and use of natural materials, continues to develop. The environment is extended through trips into the community and local beach. Further consideration should be given to the presentation of some areas of play to better promote children's interest and participation.

Centre leaders, in consultation with the association, are committed to strengthening members’ understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership and establishing a more bicultural perspective in the centre. A pilot bilingual programme has been developed in partnership with another playcentre to be implemented shortly. There is commitment to fostering links with the association’s Maori whānau support group to strengthen this approach.

Strong, long-established links with the adjacent primary school are valued and actively maintained. These provide good support for families making the transition from playcentre to school. Formal visits are undertaken with children. Informal contact is ongoing. Members express their commitment to continuing to enrich these links with the recently appointed new-entrant teacher.

There is good provision for infants and toddlers. They are well supported and encouraged to explore the play spaces and full range of learning materials. A suitably resourced area is specifically designated for those children who are not yet mobile. These youngest playcentre members show confidence in making choices and leading their learning.

The programme is strongly child led, with adults playing supporting roles. Since the previous ERO review, professional development has been undertaken to enhance members’ approach to planning for learning. There is a stronger emphasis on identifying children's significant learning linked to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Session planning meetings enable parents to share their aspirations for, and the developing interests and strengths of, their children. A visual approach to planning daily sessions supports continuity over time.

Evaluation of sessions should be improved to better plan for the learning of individuals and different age groups. Termly session planning information should be made more visible to better support ongoing planning. Making children’s progress in learning more of a focus in assessment records would be a suitable development step.

The friendly culture and support for each other fosters parents’ confidence and willingness to become involved in management roles and training. Members are reflective. They are at the early stages of using formal self review and keen to develop their understanding to better support decisions about improvement. Their dedication, commitment and sense of community point to a positive future for this service.

The association provides good support and a range of training for members. The centre supporter gives regular, valued feedback and aid as needed. A more evaluative approach based on identified priorities and growing members’ practice should better promote and sustain improvement over time. Comprehensive, up-to-date written policies and procedures guide office holders in their management roles, and members in planning and implementing an appropriate programme. The association is both improvement and future focused. The systematic review of and plan to restructure governance and management are being carefully worked through to support a new and more sustainable future for the organisation and individual centres.

Key Next Steps

Members should continue to:

  • deepen their understanding and response to the diverse cultures in the community
  • implement a more bicultural perspective in the learning programme
  • strengthen their approach to assessment, planning and evaluation.

The association should:

  • support members to strengthen their understanding and use of self review to promote improvement
  • continue to develop centre support processes in response to identified needs and priorities
  • support members to develop their understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership
  • provide leadership to members to help them define their understanding of success for Māori as Māori
  • redevelop the appraisal process to ensure the development needs of centre-based employees working with children, are met.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

5 June 2014

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


Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including 18 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 17, Boys 14

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

5 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2010


Education Review

December 2007


Education Review

February 2005

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.