Play School Early Learning Centre - 15/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Play School Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Play School Early Learning Centre 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.


Play School Early Learning Centre is a privately owned and operated teacher-led centre. It is licensed for 29 children including eight children up to two years of age. At the time of this review 10 children were enrolled who identified as Māori. Full-time care and education is offered in a homely environment designed to suit the needs of the children who attend.

Since the November 2012 ERO report, the teaching team has made good progress with the areas identified for further development. These included: self review; assessment, planning and evaluation; the bicultural programme; exploring the use of teacher strategies to support and extend children's thinking; and engaging and communicating with parents and whānau.

The service has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

Children lead a play-based programme and participate in sustained play. Their creativity and imagination are promoted throughout the curriculum and they have access to a wide range of activities and resources. Teachers are warm, responsive and welcoming. They make sure children experience consistency between the routines in their homes and centre. Respectful practice by teachers is evident.

The centre’s philosophy is highly evident in practice. It promotes a commitment to valuing equal opportunities for all children and the importance of the relationship with family and whānau. Children are supported to develop physical, social and problem solving skills. They are engaged in sustained and collaborative play and learning.

Children’s culture, language and identity are acknowledged and celebrated. Bicultural practice is strong and well embedded throughout the curriculum. Success for Māori children as Māori is highly evident. This has been promoted by parental expertise and some teachers who are bilingual. Some initial consideration has been given to how success for Pacific children is supported with the provision of specific resources. This has been identified by the leaders as a next step.

Children aged up to two years benefit from having teachers who provide consistent caregiving which responds to their changing needs and preferences. Teachers spend time noticing what children are interested in and respond appropriately.

Literacy and mathematics are integrated into the curriculum. Teachers are purposeful in their approach to make the most of these opportunities for children’s learning. The pre-school club offers an opportunity for focused activities in a small group. The focus on literacy and mathematics is extended in these small group sessions. Children have a choice to participate and are well engaged in this learning. It is timely for leaders to reflect on current literature and best practice to further their understanding of school readiness. This should include developing an understanding of links between Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and the New Zealand Curriculum.

Centre planning provides direction for ongoing learning. Teachers should consider the impact of teaching strategies and experiences on children’s learning when evaluating the curriculum.

Teachers are reflective and focused on improvement. Strengthening their understanding of internal evaluation is a next step. This should enable them to move from reviewing what they are doing to identifying how well teacher practices and the curriculum improves outcomes for children.

Appraisals are completed annually. These show both self reflection and feedback from the appraiser. A key next step is to improve the quality of written feedback and critique to provide evidence that more clearly show links to the Practising Teacher Criteria.

The manager understands the intent and requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act (2014).

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that the key next steps are to:


  • support teachers to further develop assessment, planning and evaluation processes to better highlight children’s progress and demonstrate how teachers' add depth and complexity to learning
  • improve teachers’ understanding of internal evaluation
  • strengthen appraisal
  • develop their cultural competencies and understanding of success for Pacific children. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Play School Early Learning Centre 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 Play School Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

15 March 2016

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


Johnsonville, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

29 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 14, Boys 20

Ethnic composition





Other Ethnic Groups






Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2015

Date of this report

15 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2012


Education Review

March 2009


Education Review

June 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 whānaungatanga – 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.