Southbridge Playcentre - 12/11/2014

1 Evaluation of Southbridge Playcentre

How well placed is Southbridge 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.


Southbridge Playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative. The parents are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the programme and centre operation.

Southbridge Playcentre has three morning sessions a week.

Since the 2011 ERO report, the centre’s parents have established some useful self-review processes and are building their knowledge and confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 playcentre reviews in the Canterbury Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are active contributors to the programme and their learning. The coordinator and parents regularly consult with children about what they are learning and the ways that adults can best support their learning.

The coordinator and parents use a range of effective approaches to help children express their ideas, and develop their thinking and problem-solving skills. Children’s work is displayed in ways that show the pride that children and adults take in the learning that is occurring for children.

The centre provides a welcoming and supportive environment for children and parents. Parents have a good knowledge of each child and the ways that they can support their learning and wellbeing. The parents also make considerable use of the wider community to extend children’s interests.

The coordinator and parents are making good progress in building their bicultural knowledge and confidence. They have established relationships with members of the local marae and regularly ask them for help to increase their knowledge of tikanga Māori.

Mathematics and literacy are well integrated into the programme. The parents recently completed reviews in these curriculum areas. As part of the mathematics review, they identified how each parent activity supports mathematics. To help parents more effectively build children’s mathematical knowledge and skills, a chart of mathematical terms was collated and displayed.

Children of all ages play well together. Older children are well supported as they transition to school. The supervision team takes an active interest in infants and toddlers by providing additional activities and support for this young age group.

The centre has many good examples of child assessment that identify children’s learning, and include children’s views and the role of the adult in supporting learning. This is providing the coordinator and parents with useful information to extend children’s learning.

Self review is well used by the parents to improve the programme and centre operations.

The parents work effectively as a parent cooperative. The parents have well-established systems and practices for the daily operation of the playcentre. They have been well supported by the Canterbury Playcentre Association to establish these systems and procedures.

The coordinator has been at the centre for a number of years. She knows the families and the community well and makes good use of this information to guide and support parents.

Key Next Steps

The centre parents and ERO agree, that the next steps for the centre include:

  • increasing consistency in child assessment
  • supporting Māori children and families to succeed as Māori in all aspects of the playcentre
  • encouraging more parents to complete the playcentre training programmes and take on coordinator roles.

Canterbury Playcentre Association

This is the third cluster review of a number of playcentres that ERO has undertaken in collaboration with the association. Each of the previous cluster reviews has identified emerging strengths from all the playcentres reviewed. This process has resulted in key next steps for the association to further support playcentres to improve learning outcomes for children.

The association has made some good progress in addressing the recommendations from the previous two cluster reviews. This includes:

  • supporting children’s transitions to school
  • re-establishing the centre managers’ appraisal system
  • improving feedback from the centre support team to parent groups about the quality of teaching and learning.

Further work is required to develop a stronger understanding of the government’s focus on priority learners so that the association can better support parent groups to respond to these children.

There continues to be significant change occurring in the structure of governance and management at association and federation levels. This has had a major impact on the association’s positive response to ERO’s recommendation from the previous cluster review, to document future planning.

Key Next Steps for the Canterbury Playcentre Association

During this cluster review the association has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps for the association include:

  • helping parent groups more effectively sustain the developments in bicultural practices, and strengthening the focus on Māori achieving success as Māori
  • reviewing assessment and planning processes to help adults identify children’s learning and the ways that adults can help children with their learning
  • developing a clear understanding of the process of strategic planning at association level and sharing this with parent groups
  • continuing to support and grow emergent leaders in playcentres.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

12 November 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


Southbridge, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

24 children, including up to 10 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 19

Boys 13

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Reported ratios of adult to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

12 November 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

December 2011


Education Review

April 2008


Education Review

June 2004

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.