Port Ohope Playcentre - 05/06/2015

1. Evaluation of Port Ohope Playcentre

How well placed is Port Ohope 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.


Port Ohope Playcentre is a well-established, parent-led education and care service located in the township of Ohope, near Whakatane. It caters for children from birth to school age and operates two mixed-aged, family sessions each week. The centre is licensed for 30 children including 15 under two. The current roll of 22 includes four children who identify as Māori.

Under new and enthusiastic leadership, the playcentre has been able to maintain its roll, strengthen centre organisation, and foster greater engagement of families.

The centre has a positive ERO reporting history. Parent members have responded well to the areas for review and development identified in the 2012 ERO review. They have continued to develop the emergent curriculum, assessment, planning and evaluation processes, and encouraged more parents to engage in course work.

Families and visitors are warmly welcomed to the centre and become quickly engaged in the friendly and supportive culture established by centre leaders and parents.

The New Zealand Playcentre Association provides overall guidance, support and strategic direction for the local association and centres. The playcentre philosophy, 'whānau tupu ngatahi – families growing together', is strong in this centre and links the umbrella organisation with each centre, empowering parents to lead the education for their children.

This review was part of a cluster of eight playcentre reviews in the Eastern Bay of Plenty Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Parents are well supported by the association and are providing high quality education and care for children. The programme is planned in response to children’s interests and strengths. Children and parents collaboratively set up a wide range of learning activities for each session. Parents skilfully notice opportunities to become involved with play, and support children to extend their ideas and build their capabilities.

Interactions amongst parents and children are respectful and supportive. Children confidently approach adults, initiating conversations and making choices about their learning and play activities. Parents use effective questioning skills to extend children’s thinking, develop working theories, and solve problems.

The centre is well resourced and children have easy access to equipment for play and exploration. There are multiple opportunities for them to engage in creative and imaginary play alongside their parents. The outdoor environment allows children to practice and develop their physical skills and take risks in well monitored but challenging situations. A feature of the curriculum is the way that parents promote literacy and mathematical learning opportunities for children. Te reo Māori is used by parents and children and is visible in the centre.

Observations of children’s learning and development are recorded by parents in attractive individual portfolios and displayed on centre walls. Guidelines are in place to help parents notice when important learning is taking place. Learning stories include celebrations of children’s learning, examples of their creativity, and acknowledgement of progress and development over time.

Centre leaders are experienced and knowledgeable about playcentre education and care, and bring a range of highly relevant educational skills and life experiences to their playcentre roles. Leaders are strong advocates for playcentre in the wider community and welcoming of new members to the service. There are many opportunities for members to develop leadership skills in daily sessions, across the centre, and at association level.

Centre leaders are well supported by, and have close links with the association. They have established detailed and well-organised documentation to support procedures, systems and the enactment of the playcentre philosophy. A well-developed approach to long-term planning and consultation with parents are helping to guide ongoing development and improvement. Leaders encourage parents to reflect on children’s activities at the end of each session, during regular meetings, and at the end of each term. This reflection is contributing to ongoing improvements in the quality of education and care.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty Playcentre Association effectively supports and promotes parent membership and is proactive in participating in local events and activities. There are clear policies and procedures that guide centre operations and practices. Guidelines for self review, assessment, planning and evaluation, help parents establish strategies and practices that ensure positive educational outcomes for children.

At the time of this ERO review the national association was in the process of considering changes to its organisation. This is likely to present both challenges and opportunities for further development and centre-based improvement.

Key Next Steps

Parents are increasing their understanding and use of self review as a way of making improvements to the quality of education and care for children. They recognise that a next step is to strengthen and deepen the quality of self review in order to build more sustainable improvement. Consideration should be given to:

  • adapting current systems such as parent surveys and annual evaluations, meeting agendas and daily evaluations sheets documenting self review more frequently, and evaluating how it has led to better outcomes for children and parents
  • adapting assessment practices such as learning stories, term plans and daily evaluation sheets to focus more on the individual child’s learning and development
  • increasing the Māori dimension in the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

5 June 2015

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


Ohope, Bay of Plenty

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 11

Girls 11

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

5 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2012


Education Review

March 2009


Education Review

January 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.