Sawyers Bay Playcentre - 17/02/2014

1 Evaluation of Sawyers Bay Playcentre

How well placed is Sawyers Bay 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.


Sawyers Bay Playcentre is one of 33 playcentres within the Otago Playcentre Association. The playcentre operates as a parent cooperative offering an opportunity for parents and children to learn beside one another. ERO’s last review was in July 2010, a supplementary review. ERO found some progress with the areas needing improvement and recommended further development in planning and assessment of children’s learning, self review and in the quality of interactions with children.

At the time of this review there had been recent changes in the parent council with the appointment of new office bearers. The centre is currently open three mornings a week. Two supervision teams manage the centre’s programme over that time. A large percentage of centre parents have undertaken playcentre courses. The service is well supported by an advisor appointed by the association. The advisor visits regularly.

The Review Findings

Children’s wellbeing and learning

ERO observed caring relationships between parents and between parents and children. The interactions between adults and children were positive, respectful and focused on engaging children in their play. The centre environment is welcoming, friendly and supportive. Children’s behaviour is being managed in a consistent and positive way.

Children benefit from a range of activities and experiences. This includes regular trips into their local community and the nearby Dunedin.

A focus for one supervisor at the centre is to provide opportunities for parents and children to build familiarity with tikanga and te reo Māori and this is beginning to happen. She is sharing her knowledge and passion with parents and children and gradually building their confidence in, and knowledge of, Te Ao Māori.

Over the past year the new educator has focused on establishing and building good relationships within the centre. Supervisors are using some effective reflective practices resulting in positive outcomes for children. New methods of communicating with centre parents are being explored and extended. The centre is beginning to establish systems for planning and evaluating children’s learning.

The next steps for adults in the centre are to:

  • simplify the centre’s planning process to provide a stronger focus on children’s learning
  • build and use a shared understanding of self review and self-review practices
  • develop and implement a schedule of reviews to ensure all aspects of the service are reviewed over time
  • review the current leadership model with a view to strengthening leadership within the centre
  • identify and plan the centre’s key priorities for ongoing development.

Governance and Management

The Otago Playcentre Association (OPA) provides a comprehensive range of support to this and other playcentres. This includes:

  • managing an association-wide system for all aspects of health, safety and compliance
  • ongoing support for employment processes
  • targeted support for playcentres requiring additional assistance
  • ongoing provision of playcentre training
  • regular cluster meetings for centres to share knowledge and skills.

A strength of the OPA is the ongoing support provided by the centre advisors. The centre advisors effectively support the parents and educators in developing their understanding of planning and assessment and self review. The Otago Playcentre governors have a sound policy framework to support the playcentre.

OPA personnel need to further develop their understanding of self review and use the findings to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategic goals and all aspects of the OPA management and operations. It may also be timely to review how effectively the organisation supports and promotes its expectation that Māori perspectives are integrated within centres’ programmes and practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Sawyers Bay 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 Sawyers Bay Playcentre will be in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

17 February 2014

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


Sawyers Bay, Dunedin

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

Girls: 17 Boys: 8

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Cook Island






Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

Not applicable

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

17 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

July 2010


Education Review

August 2009


Education Review

May 2007

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.