Shirley Playcentre - 02/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Shirley Playcentre

How well placed is Shirley 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.


Shirley Playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative with parents encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the playcentre's programme and management.

Shirley Playcentre is located in the Shirley Community reserve. The playcentre is a part of a collaborative edible community gardens project.

The centre has a full roll and is open five days a week. The community has become increasingly transient and culturally diverse due to the changes in employment in the local area.

Since the 2012 ERO report, the playcentre's main focus has been to upgrade the outdoor environment. Most parents are in the early stages of the association's parent education programme. Parent leaders are still working on ERO's recommendations to improve assessment, planning, the use of internal evaluation and strengthening bicultural practices.

This review was part of a cluster of nine playcentres in the Canterbury Playcentre Association (CPA).

The Review Findings

Children and families are well supported in a friendly, welcoming and inclusive culture. The wellbeing of children and their families is sustained by a caring and collaborative team of parents. Children are happy and engaged in their learning.

Children are leading their learning. They have a good range of choices and their ideas are valued and regularly used in the programme.

Children have a strong sense of belonging. They confidently play well in mixed-age groups and their achievements are celebrated and well displayed in the environment.

Children are provided with a wide range of interesting learning activities and experiences. The outdoor area is spacious and has a good range of equipment that extends children's physical skills and supports their creative play.

Parents have made links with the local community to extend children's learning opportunities. Adults make good use of the community gardens and the local stream to support children's learning in natural science. The playcentre works closely with the nearby school. Children take part in school programmes and are regularly visited by groups from the school.

Parents are strongly committed to building bicultural practices in the programme. Te reo Māori and tikanga Māori are evident in the environment and resources. Visual prompts in the environment support parents' use of the language and understanding of Māori culture.

Infants and toddlers are well cared for. The adults support each other and provide appropriate resources for babies and young children. Older children play well with younger children.

All parents are actively involved in decision making and feel ownership of the playcentre. They successfully use a range of media to maintain communication, reflect on the programme and make changes to benefit children and parents.

Centre leaders have developed good systems to support new parents to become involved with the operation of the playcentre and the parents' education programme. Parents' knowledge and skills are well used to extend children's interests within the programme.

Parents regularly monitor the playcentre's strategic plan, which is closely linked to the association's strategic goals. The plan outlines the operational goals of the playcentre.

The Canterbury Playcentre Association has made significant progress since the 2014 ERO cluster review. They have implemented a strategic plan that effectively identifies goals, plans and progress. The centre support and education teams have been structured to provide more efficient and timely support and guidance for the centres. The parent education programme has become more accessible to parents. Noticeably more parents are participating in all levels of the training and are making good use of this new knowledge in the centres. The centre support team is successfully facilitating the sharing of useful knowledge and practices across centres.

The association has high expectations for every child to experience high quality education and all parents to be actively involved in parent education and the management of the centres. They have established some very useful systems and practices to ensure the sustainability and improvement of the organisation and the centres. This includes effective evaluation and monitoring of the quality of education for parents and improved outcomes for children.

The key next steps for the association are to:

  • review how the well individual playcentre philosophies are meeting the changing contexts of centres

  • implement appraisals for the members of the centre support team to align more closely with centre needs and association expectations.

Key Next Steps

The association, parents and ERO agree that the key next steps for the playcentre include:

  • identifying children's learning, progress and next teaching steps in group and individual planning

  • strengthening and more regularly using internal evaluation to improve outcomes for children

  • continuing to strengthen bicultural inclusion in the programme, with a particular emphasis on Māori children succeeding as Māori.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Shirley 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to appraisal. To meet requirements, the association needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • implement a system of regular appraisal for members of the Education Support Team.

[Regulation 47 (GMA7) Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008] 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Shirley Playcentre will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern/Te Waipounamu

2 March 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

20 children, including up to 10 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 26; Girls 16

Ethnic composition





Cook Island

Other ethnicities







Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

2 March 2017

Most recent ERO reports 

Education Review

August 2012

Supplementary Review

May 2008

Accountability Review

June 1999

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.