Playschool Early Education Centre - 25/08/2016

1 Evaluation of Playschool Early Education Centre

How well placed is Playschool Early Education 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.


This is the second Education Review for Playschool Early Learning Centre in Kumeu. The purpose built centre opened in 2011. In 2014 the centre was bought by the Evolve group, who own, manage and support the governance of a large number of Early Education Services. The centre is licensed for 100 children, including up to 35 children aged up to two years. Infants, toddlers and older children are catered for in three well designed spaces which include access to well appointed, child-centred outdoor learning areas.

The centre philosophy and vision guides and underpins all practices and developments at the centre. The philosophy and vision focus strongly on independence, creativity, and learning in an environment where children are encouraged to be explorers, make decisions and actively participate in the centre.

The centre is very effectively led and well managed by the new centre manager and three head teachers. High staff ratios allow for good quality interactions with children and their parents. The teaching team are committed to supporting children to become capable and confident, lifelong learners. Respectful relationships and children’s wellbeing continue to be nurtured by well qualified teachers who plan and develop programmes that respond to children's individual learning needs.

Since the last review, centre leaders have successfully built a capable professional teaching team who all share and actively contribute to the centre's philosophy, vision and direction. Self-review processes and bi-cultural practice have been strengthened. Parents' and whānau input into children’s learning has also been further developed.

The Review Findings

The centre's philosophy is well reflected in practice and underpins the emphasis on establishing and sustaining positive and respectful relationships. Children and their whānau are welcomed into the very well resourced centre. A warm, inclusive culture is strongly evident. Well planned and managed arrival routines enable children to freely access play equipment and activities. This supports them to settle quickly into self-directed play. Teachers' caring, unhurried interactions with children promote children's sense of wellbeing and fosters their strong sense of belonging.

Parents express high levels of satisfaction with the centre and the staff. They value communication with staff, authentic 'hands on learning', and successful transitions through the centre and on to school.

Children benefit from a rich curriculum that is well aligned to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and to the Regio Emilia philosophy. The child-centred and well-paced learning programme builds on children's existing knowledge, emerging interests and individual learning dispositions. Children engage in sustained collaborative play and show respect for one another. They are supported to explore, create, problem solve and initiate their own inquiries. These strategies promote the development of children's independence and lifelong learning capabilities.

Children access a wide range of equipment and have many opportunities to make choices about their play. Teachers encourage children to self manage, initiate play with others, and build friendships. These social competencies and self-management skills should support children when they transition to school.

Teachers collaborate well, communicating with each other and responding quickly to children’s learning needs. They skilfully make good use of open-ended questioning that encourages children’s thinking and exploration. Children’s language skills are extended through meaningful contexts and sustained conversations with their teachers.

Te reo and tikanga Māori are interwoven through both the indoor and outdoor programmes. The unhurried pace in the centre and the respect that teachers have for the children gives children the opportunity to express themselves and direct their own learning.

Infants and toddlers enjoy an atmosphere of quiet, respectful, responsive care. Children's freedom of choice supports their individual exploration and physical movement. Children aged up to two years are settled and comfortable with their teachers and benefit from warm interactions with all staff. Teachers actively play with children. They provide many opportunities for children's curiosity and imagination to flourish and for children to learn through play. There are very good systems in place for teachers to keep parents well informed about their child’s day.

The outdoor areas are particularly inviting for children. They offer children a range of equipment and play options designed to capture their interests and meet their learning needs. There are good opportunities for children to develop their physical coordination, strength and agility. Children can construct, create and explore and enjoy natural and quiet spaces. ERO observed many individual children and groups of children happily engaged in sustained imaginative and creative play. Use of the local environment and adjoining bike track are special features of the programme. This provides children with opportunities for extended physical activity and to experience the facilities of their local community.

Parent feedback is regularly sought and used. Stories about children's learning are well documented online. Parents receive current information about the children's learning experiences. This enables parents to follow up and extend children's learning at home. Parents can also share children's emerging interests with teachers as they surface. As a result, richer partnerships with parents have been created and parents' contribution to their child's learning has been enhanced.

The owners and leadership team maintain knowledgeable and capable governance and oversight of the centre. The policy framework and management planning are sound. The highly capable centre manager has built a strong professional team. She strategically promotes high levels of team engagement and collaboration. Leaders and teachers participate in effective ongoing professional development to provide best practice in early childhood education and to make ongoing improvements to centre practices.

Leaders and teachers undertake in-depth review focused on improving all aspects of centre operations. They successfully invite parent contributions and feedback. Strengthening bi-cultural practice is an example of a recent review that has significantly and positively impacted on children and whanau's sense of identity and connection with the centre. Teachers reflect as a team and want to continue to deepen their inquiry into their individual practices. These approaches are very likely to enable staff to continue providing high quality care and education for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and ERO agree that the next steps for the centre include continuing:

  • to build the critical reflection of staff to further enhance the centre's focus on ongoing improvement
  • to expand parents' understanding of lifelong learning and the role of early childhood education
  • to share knowledge and leadership across the organisation to build and enhance leadership capability.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Playschool Early Education 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 Playschool Early Education Centre will be in four years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 August 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 


Kumeu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      51%  
Girls       49%

Ethnic composition



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

July 2016

Date of this report

25 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2013

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.