Pamapuria Playcentre - 30/04/2015

1 Evaluation of Pamapuria Playcentre

 How well placed is Pamapuria 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.


Pamapuria Playcentre, next to Pamapuria School, operates as a parent cooperative and serves a rural community close to Kaitaia. It is one of six centres under the guidance of the Far North Playcentre Association, which provides a governance and management framework and ongoing support. The centre is licensed to provide early education for up to 28 children and can include 15 under two years of age. It currently caters for a small group of local families who have recently opened a second morning session each week. Half of the children attending have Māori heritage.

ERO’s 2013 report identified several areas of concern about the quality of learning experiences for children, the implementation of the Playcentre philosophy and systems for centre management. ERO’s report also recognised the challenges of increasing membership to sustainable levels.

Since ERO’s 2013 review, the centre has received support from the Playcentre Federation through a Ministry of Education contract, to improve programme management and self review. Support from a centre operations support (COS) through the Association will continue for at least two further terms. The centre has also benefited from the ongoing support of an experienced Playcentre person who has longstanding links with this centre and is currently acting as supervisor of the second session. Association support has focused particularly on increasing membership, building strong relationships amongst families, and improving the quality of programmes for children

This review was part of a cluster of four centres in the Far North Playcentre Association.

The national Playcentre organisation is currently in the process of a comprehensive restructure. While this will mean significant changes at the local level, it is expected that support for individual centres will be maintained or strengthened.

The Review Findings

Children and new families enrolling at the centre benefit from the leadership and modelling of the Association support worker (COS) and their longstanding mentor. Children and their families are supported well to feel a sense of ownership and belonging in the centre and to make meaningful contributions. Centre members support each other in their parenting and educator roles.

Children are settled and confident in the centre environment. They play cooperatively and are developing good social skills. Older children include younger children in their play and have a leadership role in how the day’s programme develops. Caring, tuakana/teina relationships are a special feature amongst this small group of children.

Infants and toddlers play alongside older children and are included in activities throughout the centre. There is appropriate indoor space and play equipment for infants. Centre members are considering ways to improve this area and also to improve provision for infants and toddlers in the outdoors.

Children confidently initiate play and adults respond to their ideas. The COS is skilled at extending children’s thinking and building on their emerging interests. She includes literacy and mathematical learning and builds their language and communication abilities as she engages children in conversation. Newer centre members are beginning to use similar strategies as they work with all the children to support their learning. Music and paint are well used aspects of the centre’s resources and there are good opportunities for physical play in the spacious outdoor area.

A system of recording significant aspects of each session in a Day Book is helping parents/whānau to recognise what children are learning as they play, and to identify next steps to support further learning. This record is supported well by stories that are written about individual children’s learning. While the quality of these records is not consistent, some good examples provide a valuable foundation for improving links between assessment and planning and for regularly evaluating how well the centre is supporting children’s learning.

Centre members are now meeting regularly to make decisions about centre management and are carefully including new members in these decisions. Some newer members are taking a leadership role in promoting the centre in the community and encouraging new families. Most are beginning to participate in playcentre’s parent education programme.

Centre members and the COS continually talk about ways to strengthen membership and centre practices. Regular reports about progress in each centre and good informal communication networks help Association decision making about the support and parent education programmes needed. The new group of members has not yet established formal self review and management planning.

The Association’s strategic plan provides a guide for governance and is regularly monitored by officeholders. Management and governance processes are well established and are continually refined. The Association continues to consider ways to streamline planning and monitor its centre support. Association office holders have high levels of commitment to the playcentre philosophy and to maintaining playcentre as a valuable early childhood education option in the Far North.

Key Next Steps

Centre members and Association personnel agree that key next steps to help sustain recently established good practices and continue developing the centre, include:

  • establishing a strategic plan and specific annual goals and action plans that can be used to monitor and affirm progress and also to report to the Association
  • ensuring cohesion across the two sessions each week so that there is continuity for children’s learning
  • supporting new members to engage with parent education and gradually take on leadership roles so that responsibility for centre management and programmes is shared more evenly
  • increasing centre members’ awareness and use of the variety of formal and informal self-review activities that can help them to manage the centre efficiently and to strengthen learning programmes for their children.

It is important that transition to the new Playcentre structure is carefully managed to ensure there is no interruption in parent support and education programmes in centres.


ERO recommends, and centre members agree, that Association personnel should continue to provide close support for the centre as the roll grows and centre members become more self sufficient in the running of the centre.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pamapuria 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.

To improve current practice, centre members must establish processes to monitor their practices and to ensure that all legal requirements are met.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to centre management. To meet requirements the Association and centre members need to:

  • establish, implement and regularly review the privacy policy and procedures, and appoint a privacy officer, to ensure that children’s, families’ and employees’ privacy is protected. Privacy Act 1993, s23.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 April 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Pamapuria, Kaitaia

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 6

Girls 4

Ethnic composition

Māori 5

Pākehā 5

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

30 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014

Education Review October 2009

Education Review November 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.