Rahotu Playcentre - 21/01/2020

1 Evaluation of Rahotu Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Rahotu Playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children two days a week. This includes 15 children up to the age of two years. At the time of this review, there are 10 children enrolled and three identify as Māori.

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 promotes child-initiated learning.

Since the June 2016 ERO report, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation has restructured by amalgamating all associations to form Playcentre Aotearoa. Rahotu Playcentre is part of the Lower 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.

The previous ERO report identified that Rahotu playcentre needed to strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation and further develop internal evaluation. These areas continue to be progressed.

An emphasis for Rahotu Playcentre has been retaining and growing the number of centre members.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 playcentres in the Lower North Island Region.

The Review Findings

The playcentre philosophy is highly evident in practice. Children engage purposefully in play for sustained periods of time. Their learning experiences include mathematics, literacy, science, creative arts, carpentry and physical exploration. Children's play is supported by well-resourced indoor and outdoor spaces.

A welcoming environment supports children as confident communicators. They make choices and show enjoyment in learning. Parents, whānau and children know each other well. These relationships generate a strong sense of belonging and respectful and positive interactions.

Infants and toddlers experience unhurried play with opportunities for them to collaborate with peers and whānau as they engage in learning challenges. Promoted tuakana teina processes and social competencies encourage unity and kotahitanga.

Māori ways of knowing, doing and being are woven throughout the curriculum. This enriches day-to-day experiences for children as they contribute to rituals including karakia and waiata. Māori children experience success as Māori in a culturally affirming climate where their first language is used and valued.

Centre leaders provide tailored support to guide members' assessment, planning and evaluation practice. The curriculum responds well to children's preferences, interests and needs. Portfolios provide a documented record of children's experiences and involvement across the curriculum. Visible planning processes allow children to share current interests and ideas and revisit their learning with parents and whānau.

A well-considered transition-to-school process is in place that is responsive to the needs of children and their families. There is an ongoing positive relationship with the school that supports transitions.

Self-review processes are appropriately focused on improving the curriculum and centre reviews have resulted in improved resourcing, to support children's learning. Continuing to develop the evaluative aspect of review when looking at actions and practices, should assist members to better know about the impact of these on learner outcomes.

Strategic planning is providing useful direction for the centre. The plan is appropriately focused on centre priorities and development. Progress towards these strategic goals is regularly monitored. Strengthening the focus of these strategic goals on outcomes for learners should assist members to establish the effectiveness of the actions taken and plan more responsively.

The revised parent education programme is more accessible to centre members. At this playcentre, experienced early childhood leaders purposefully build members' capability with focus on increasing membership, encouraging adult education and supporting new members into centre roles. There is concerted commitment to the retention of this service for the community. Three members have built their capability through completion of the Playcentre Introductory Award. As a result centre membership is growing.

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 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

At playcentre level, priorities are to continue to:

  • strengthen understanding and use of effective internal evaluation for improvement

  • develop and strengthen assessment practices to support children's learning progress over time.

Playcentre Aotearoa should continue to build knowledge and understandings of policies and procedures and support systematic monitoring of these to ensure licensing requirements are upheld.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Rahotu 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

21 January 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



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

Female 7, Male 3

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

21 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

Education Review

January 2014

Education Review

October 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.