Paremata Playcentre - 28/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Paremata Playcentre

How well placed is Paremata 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.


Paremata Playcentre is one of nineteen parent-led early childhood centres governed and administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). The playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children, five mornings a week. This includes provision for up to 18 children, up to the age of two, at any one time.

A council of elected volunteer representatives from each of the association's member centres, oversees the association at governance level. This work is assisted by an operations manager and general manager. An executive committee administers the adult education programme. A centre support worker is employed to visit the centre and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for the day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders.

Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Each session is supported by a duty team of parent educators who hold Playcentre training certificates. Almost all centre members are involved in the association's training programme, with many holding Course Two or above. Since the May 2014 ERO report, the playcentre has significantly improved the numbers of members taking advantage of this opportunity for active involvement in their child's education.

The association philosophy, 'Whānau tupu ngatahi - families growing together', is articulated as empowering parents and children to learn, grow and play together. This underpins practice and was reaffirmed by the association and the Paremata Playcentre at their 2016 annual general meetings.

The previous ERO report identified that centre leaders would benefit from association support to further develop assessment, programme planning and provision of a bicultural curriculum through improved self-review practices. The playcentre and association responded positively to the areas identified for improvement in the 2014 reviews. Internal evaluation was undertaken by association personnel to bring about changes to both the structural and organisational culture of the organisation. Clear boundaries between governance and management were expressed and changes made to improve support to individual centres.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation, of which the Wellington Association is part, is planning a significant restructure for 2017 that includes amalgamating associations. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

This review was part of a cluster of ten in the Wellington Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children's development is enhanced through their engagement in child-initiated, play-based learning. They explore and engage in a range of appropriate, challenging and supportive learning experiences. Attentive parent educators know the children and their preferences well. They are nearby to support where needed. Children have opportunity to choose to play alone or with peers. A positive tone and inclusive practice are highly evident.

Parent educators have shared understanding of what they want children and families to experience during their time at playcentre. Te Whāriki and Playcentre philosophy underpin practice. Implementing family goal setting is a centre strength. Goals are identified by families and responded to by members. The wide ranging curriculum provides opportunities for goals to be met.

Māori children, with their whānau, participate in positive playcentre experiences. Ongoing, deliberate conversations with families should help strengthen Treaty of Waitangi perspectives and the further implementation of equity and excellence for all.

Members are conscientious and kind as they provide appropriate interventions for children and their families. Research and external support is sought from knowledgeable sources and processes are in place to ensure all children begin their education positively.

The bicultural curriculum is successfully planned for and highly evident during centre sessions. Some adults have embarked on te reo Māori courses to be able to converse with children.

Assessment, curriculum planning and evaluation practices have improved significantly over time as an outcome of deliberate, well considered internal evaluation. Individual learning portfolios celebrate children's progress and link clearly to family aspirations, goals and to the child's self-led play. In responding to children's learning, members should consider using deliberate strategies, as well as providing resources, to make the most of learning opportunities.

Paremata Playcentre leaders' useful practices enable members to be clear about management, organisation and how Playcentre philosophy is enacted. A culture of support for each other is highly evident. Systems to collate and communicate observations about children's interests and learning are effective and practical. Members continue to strengthen their own learning through achieving higher level Playcentre courses and participating in professional learning from a range of providers.

The dual purpose of self review for accountability and improvement is very well understood. The process is implemented to inform members about significant areas that require consideration. Reviews conducted over time are revisited to ensure changes in place continue to be relevant and useful for improving the centre for children.

Children up to two years old are well catered for in mixed-age play, with designated areas in which they are quietly attended to. At times they are cared for by members, so parents can play with their older children. As part of seeking continuous improvement, playcentre members are embarking on a review to evaluate how well they are supporting toddlers' learning and development. At the time of the ERO review members are gathering information to support their evaluation.

The centre support person and duty teams provide effective leadership that contributes positively to children's early learning experience. Strategies are in place to support newer members to the centre to document and record children's learning and progress through a collaborative, open approach.

The association is an improvement-focused organisation. The 2014 ERO reviews found the assistance provided at the centre level by the association support workers was appreciated and supportive. ERO also recognised a next step for development was formalising this arrangement to provide a more effective approach to responding to the needs of individual centres. The association, as part of reviewing their structural organisation, reviewed the position of centre support workers and made improvements to human resource management. Timely and relevant leadership and guidance is provided for its member centres.

Key Next Steps

Association and centre leaders should continue to improve outcomes for children and families by using internal evaluation effectively to ensure the very good practice occurring is sustained and prioritised developments are achieved.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Paremata 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 Paremata Playcentre will be in four years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

28 June 2017 

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

30 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 24, Girls 20

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

28 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

December 2007

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.