Palmerston Playcentre - 12/12/2018

1 Evaluation of Palmerston Playcentre

How well placed is Palmerston 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.


Palmerston Playcentre is one of forty-seven playcentres within the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's South Island Southern Region (SISR). The centre operates three sessions a week and is licenced for up to 25 children. Children from birth to school age can attend the centre. The centre is located beside Palmerston Primary School.

The centre operates as a parent cooperative with a paid educator leading the sessions, supported by parents. The centre has regular visits and receives ongoing support from a Centre Support Worker (CSW).

Palmerston Playcentre philosophy is based around the concept of whānau, where parents and the community all work together to support the children, their wellbeing and learning. It states that children are offered choices and have a range of experiences in a happy, safe and healthy environment.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the parents have made good progress in meeting the recommendations in the ERO report. Internal evaluation is well established, parents are more involved in planning for and assessing their children's learning, and the philosophy has been reviewed.

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

The Review Findings

Children are well supported in their learning by parents and the educator. They are actively encouraged to lead their learning, experience a wide range of activities and confidently ask for support. Children are active explorers who are fully engaged in their learning.

Infants and toddlers are well included in the programme. High adult to child ratios ensure these young children are always well supervised by a responsive adult. The wide range of resources are positioned in ways that allow young children to access these easily. Infants and toddlers are happy, confident and settled in the centre environment.

Genuine learning partnerships between parents and the educator are clearly evident. Parents are partners in goal setting, planning and assessing their children's learning. Children's home and centre experiences and interests are closely linked and used well to extend children's learning.

Assessment and planning processes successfully support the programme in action, and individual and group learning. Formats for individual planning and assessment are simple and easy to use. They clearly record parent involvement, children's goals, plans and progress. Parents are developing more confidence, and interest in this part of the programme is increasing.

Transition to school is well organised, appropriate and focused on children and families moving smoothly and confidently into the school environment. The playcentre and the school share close professional relationships and are focused on the needs of each child and their family.

Internal evaluation is resulting in well planned, positive improvements to the environment, the programme and children's learning. Useful professional development and support from the CSW have increased parent and educator understanding and use of internal evaluation processes.

At the time of this review the OPA 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.

Key Next Steps

ERO's evaluation has identified, and the centre educator and parents agree, that the key next steps are to continue to implement Te Whāriki (2017) The Early Childhood Curriculum by:

  • identifying children's learning priorities (what is important for children in this playcentre to learn and achieve)

  • reviewing and designing a curriculum to include these learning priorities.

ERO, the centre educator and parents also agree that:

  • group plan evaluations need to be more evaluative and focused on outcomes for children

  • parents continue to be encouraged to undertake playcentre parent training and contribute to assessment and planning

  • bicultural perspectives continue to be extended and integrated into the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Palmerston 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 Palmerston 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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 12

Girls: 8

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent led

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 report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

November 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.