Ruawaro Playcentre - 19/06/2019

1 Evaluation of Ruawaro Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Ruawaro Playcentre is a parent-led education and care service located on the grounds of Ruawaro School. It caters for children from birth to school age and operates one mixed-age morning session per week. The playcentre is licensed for 25 children including up to 10 under the age of two years. There are currently four children on the roll.

During 2018, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation transitioned from operating with 32 regional associations to become one national body with six regional offices. In the central north island six associations have merged into a regional hub renamed Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region that now includes 95 playcentres over a large geographic area. At Ruawaro Playcentre the president is supported by another parent. A centre administrator and centre support worker are provided by the federation to assist with session operation.

Through their national philosophy, the playcentre places emphasis on whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together. They empower adults and children to play, work and grow together and value and affirm parents as first and best educators of their children. Through their national philosophy, the playcentre places emphasis on whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together. They empower adults and children to play, work and grow together and value and affirm parents as first and best educators of their children.

The previous ERO 2016 report identified areas for improvement in assessment, planning and evaluation; growing parent education, leadership and self-review to enhance learning opportunities. Progress in achieving these areas is evident. Increasing the use of te reo Māori within the centre continues to be a next step.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 playcentre reviews in the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region.

The Review Findings

The philosophy and knowledge that parents, whānau and children bring to the centre are highly evident within the programme. Relationships are warm and affirming and children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging. They confidently contribute to the daily programme and make choices about the activities they want to participate in.

Children lead their own learning within a well-resourced environment. They engage in meaningful conversations with adults who extend their early communication skills. Numeracy, science and literacy experiences are thoughtfully woven throughout the programme and make relevant links to children's home life.

Aspects of te ao Māori are visible within the environment. Mana whenua is acknowledged and regular excursions to areas of local iwi significance provide opportunities to make connections to the community. Members have identified that strengthening their use of te reo Māori continues to be a next step.

Flexible routines are responsive to the individual needs of children. A considered approach to the provision of suitable spaces to support young infants and toddlers fosters their inclusion within the programme. Older children are encouraged to develop self-help skills.

A well-established, reciprocal relationship with the local school support a positive transition. Children participate in community events alongside their school aged peers.

Children’s interests successfully guides individual assessment for learning. A purposeful approach to support children's understanding of their own and others cultural heritage fosters the development of self identity. Members take pride in documenting their children's progression of learning and engagement in a range of activities. To further strengthen the process members should continue to develop their understanding of Te Whāriki. Increasing member contributions to all children's stories should further support relevant modelling of practice for new members.

Regular planned and emergent self review is supporting the development of a localised curriculum to promote positive learning opportunities. Members work collaboratively to improve the quality of the programme. Further exploring the purpose and use of evaluation to find out what is working well and for whom, should further support decision planning.

The centre support worker and the administrator provides detailed reports that are leading to improved awareness of quality practice, and building capability through appropriate feedback and feed forward. The service has successfully developed a range of systems and processes to support information sharing and to guide consistent practice. There is a deliberate focus to increase membership to support ongoing viability of the service.

The Playcentre Federation’s overarching strategic and individual annual plans guide playcentre direction. Parent education programmes have a focus on building knowledge and understanding of children’s learning and development. Communication and support between the federation and regions throughout the restructure has supported ongoing operations. Current policies and systems are in place until new systems implemented by the federation are rolled out nationally. The playcentre philosophy and vision and documented strategic goals have been set. There is now the need to measure the impact of actions taken on outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The priorities for improvement at Ruawaro playcentre are to continue to:

  • strengthen the use te reo Māori

  • increase membership to the service and implement succession planning

  • grow members understanding of Te Whāriki to strengthen the individualized assessment process

  • further develop understanding of effective internal evaluation.

In order to improve practice, the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island regional leaders should continue to:

  • develop and implement strategic and annual regional plans

  • monitor and strengthen each playcentre’s understanding of internal evaluation to inform ongoing improvement

  • support individual playcentre personnel to robustly report on the progress towards their appropriate strategic goals

  • strengthen appraisal processes to support centre support and administrators to grow their practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Ruawaro 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 areas related to compliance the centre should:

  • keep a record of parents/caregivers prior written approval of their children's participation and of the proposed ratio prior to the excursion taking place

  • check that the water stored in any hot water cylinder is kept at a temperature of at least 60°C.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

19 June 2019

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

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 3 Female 1

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

19 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2016

Education Review

July 2012

Education Review

June 2009

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.