Rapanui Brunswick Playcentre - 13/02/2017

1 Evaluation of Rapanui Brunswick Playcentre

How well placed is Rapanui Brunswick 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.


Rapanui Brunswick Playcentre is one of four parent-led services under the umbrella of the Wanganui Playcentre Association (the association). It is in a rural setting on the outskirts of Whanganui. It is licensed for up to 30 children, including 15 aged up to two years. Nineteen children are enrolled and one is Māori. The centre opens for mixed-age sessions three mornings a week.

The association president and office holders, along with a delegate from each playcentre, form the governance group (executive) for the association. The executive provides general guidance and support for members including: leadership for strategic planning; financial management; policy development; and for decisions related to the education programme, property and equipment.

A support person, employed by the association, visits each centre and provides professional advice and feedback to strengthen members' practice and promote improvement. In 2016, support from other associations has been sought and professional learning and development (PLD) accessed to strengthen operation, through the Playcentre Federation.

Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. At Rapanui Brunswick Playcentre two sessions are facilitated by one employed, teacher-trained coordinator who supports parents and whānau to develop and implement the daily programme and manage administration requirements. There is another session which is parent-led.

At the time of this review there are several members who have supported the centre over a period of time. There is an emphasis on strengthening members' participation in the training programme.

The April 2014 ERO report, identified the need to support members’ understanding and use of self review, annual and strategic planning, te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and planning for learning. Securing fixtures and fittings was required. The association needed to implement appraisal processes to support the developmental needs of the centre members. Progress is evident.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is currently reviewing the organisational structure of Playcentre across New Zealand. The outcomes of this review may result in changes to operation at centre level.

This review was part of a cluster of four education reviews in the Wanganui Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children's learning is based on the playcentre philosophy and principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The focus is on: whānau ta ngā ta, a sense of family and wider whānau connections; whakamana, upholding individual prestige; ngā honongā, respectful relationships; and kotahitanga, using all the senses.

Children, parents and whānau know each other well. Warmth and enthusiasm is evident. This is conveyed by their strong sense of belonging. Local community links are valued and affirmed. Long term connections across the centre and association underpin a cohesive approach to ensuring children are settled, engaged and confident learners. This is supported by high ratios of adults to children.

Adults provide a programme that fosters children's creativity. Art, science and physical activities are responsive to children's interests and strengths. The curriculum is anchored in literacy and mathematics. Local excursions provide children with rich learning opportunities. Children joyfully use resources to learn. They are viewed as confident and independent, able to exercise choice and celebrate learning as fun.

Children are fully engaged in the programme. Social competencies are nurtured through tuakana teina relationships, where younger children are well supported by others. Infants and toddlers enjoy a range of resources responsive to their interests and strengths.

Parents/adults continue to grow their confidence in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Karakia and waiata are woven through centre routines and aspects of play. The environment includes some signposts of kupu Māori, natural resources and visual representation of te ao Māori. Acknowledgement of local Māori history through planning and use of resources should be considered. Centre members identify the need to build te reo me ngā tikanga Māori capability. Adults should continue to strengthen and promote children's culture, language and identity through the profiles.

Portfolio narratives by parents, include children's art work, interests over time and some child voice. Individual entries include some learning outcomes based on Te Whāriki. Parent aspirations contribute to planning and provide important links between home and centre.

A newly implemented process for assessment, planning and evaluation promotes adults to notice, recognise and respond to children's interests and prior learning. Strategies to observe children in everyday activities are in place to build a picture of what children know, understand, feel and do. A shared knowledge and consistent approach to adding complexity, progress over time and articulating outcomes for children, should strengthen centre practices. Alignment of the session selfevaluation with the planning and assessment should further inform parents' understanding of children's learning.

A transition process is in place with two local school. Children are invited to participate in pet days and classroom visits. Sharing each child's early childhood experiences through portfolios with the school should generate understandings of the individual child and the centre.

Some self review is evident. Recent self review focused on how to better welcome and inform new members. Elements of internal evaluation included a clear framework, a focus question, indicators, a survey and reflective input by members. Improving internal evaluation is a next step.

The coordinator provides experienced leadership for members and an improved level of support from the association is evident. The redefined administrative role has resulted in a more systematic approach to aspects of operation such as financial management, policy review, and communication. As the association develops new policies, in line with recent legislation, there is a need to communicate why these are relevant and how these are to be incorporated into practice at centre level.

While the employment of the teacher-trained coordinator is ensuring that requirements for government funding are met, the association's drive to enable group supervision of sessions, when realised, should better reflect the philosophy.

An appraisal process for employees is in the early stages of implementation. The approach needs to be significantly strengthened, particularly if it is to provide effective support for the development of the coordinator and meet Education Council requirements for the future endorsement of Practising Teacher Certificates.

To build sustainability and shared understanding of practice and operation, the association should:

  • give priority to supporting leadership and teamwork at centre level, including ensuring that guidelines are understood, kept up to date and relevant; and that appropriate succession planning and office holder induction are in place

  • introduce a more strategic and formalised approach to the centre support worker role linked to centre needs

  • ensure centre long-term planning, reporting and review processes are adequate to effectively inform decisions made by the association about priorities for development.

Key Next Steps

The association should continue to provide support for the centre to effectively implement:

  • internal evaluation

  • planning for learning and assessment

  • the appraisal process for the coordinator

  • strengthened provision for older children, including support for the transition to school

  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based practices, through strengthening te ao Māori knowledges and understandings

  • practices that support sustainability of operation. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Rapanui Brunswick 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 Rapanui Brunswick Playcentre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

13 February 2017 

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

Boys 13, Girls 6

Ethnic composition









Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

13 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

November 2010

Supplementary Review

October 2008

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.