Puahue Playcentre - 18/06/2020

1 Evaluation of Puahue Playcentre

How well placed is Puahue Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Puahue Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Puahue Playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-aged sessional education and care for 30 children twice a week. This includes 15 children up to the age of two years. At the time of this ERO review, there were 14 children enrolled.

The Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy, ‘whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together’, is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. Alongside this, the centre philosophy recognises parents as first teachers of their children and providing learning opportunities and support to their rural families.

Since the September 2016 ERO report, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation has restructured by amalgamating all associations to form Playcentre Aotearoa. Puahue Playcentre is part of the Central North Island Region and is supported by a regional manager and support persons.

Whānau and families share responsibility for the curriculum. Day-to-day operation is undertaken by session support personnel and centre-elected office holders. A centre support worker and centre administrator regularly visit playcentres to provide professional support, strengthen practice and promote improvement.

This review was part of a cluster of nine reviews in the in the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region.

The Review Findings

A broad and rich curriculum engages all learners. The child-focused programme is planned around the knowledge that children and their families bring to the centre. There are opportunities for tuakana teina learning in the mixed-aged setting, where older and younger children learn alongside each other. Literacy, mathematics and science are integrated into the programme. Children's learning experiences are enriched by trips into the local community. Elements of bicultural practice have been established to support a sense of belonging for all. Leaders and members have identified that bicultural practice remains an area for continued development.

Children's learning is represented in individual portfolios and wall displays. Centre members respond to children's current interests. To further strengthen the assessment, planning and evaluation of children's learning, further consideration should be given to consistency in documentation with a focus on learning outcomes for children. There is also a need to further develop internal evaluation capability for ongoing review of centre practices.

Children and their families have a strong sense of belonging. Relationships are positive and respectful in the calm learning environment. Social competence is supported through positive and consistent guidance strategies. Children are encouraged to be independent learners. Relationships between members are affirming and respectful in a family-like environment.

The centre has appropriate processes in place to support children with additional needs. Expert guidance is sought where necessary. Transitions into the playcentre are well-considered. Strong relationships with the local school support positive transitions for children.

The revised parent education programme is becoming more accessible to centre members. A centre support worker and the centre administrator are provided by Playcentre Aotearoa. Their support and detailed reports are leading to improved awareness of quality practice and building capability through appropriate feedback and feedforward for members. Appraisal processes for session support staff have recently been strengthened to better evaluate performance in relation to specific roles and responsibilities, identify professional learning and development needs, and focus on the achievement of goals.

The national restructuring process continues to require significant attention and support to implement an extensive range of systems and processes. Regular communication from Playcentre Aotearoa seeks to keep parents informed of progress, changes and upcoming requirements. National policies and procedures have recently been introduced and parents are in the process of aligning practices to these. Ongoing support is required to enable parents to understand and implement these procedures to meet licensing requirements.

Key Next Steps

The next steps for Puahue Playcentre, leaders and members are to:

  • further develop internal evaluation capability for ongoing review of centre practice

  • regularly use te reo me ngā tikanga Māori throughout the programme

  • further develop a shared understanding of assessment amongst members to ensure consistency in documentation with a focus on learning outcomes for children.

Playcentre Aotearoa should continue to build centre knowledge and understanding of policies and procedures to ensure licensing requirements are upheld.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Puahue 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 compliance practice, the service needs to strengthen its performance in the following areas:

  • securing heavy furniture, fixtures and equipment that could fall or topple and cause serious injury or damage.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood and care Centres 2008; HS6]

Since the on-site phase of the review, members have provided ERO with evidence of action taken in securing furniture (HS6).

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

18 June 2020

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


Te Awamutu

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Female 7 Male 7

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2020

Date of this report

18 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2016

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

February 2010

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.