Spring Creek Playcentre - 04/09/2013

1 Evaluation of Spring Creek Playcentre

How well placed is Spring Creek 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.


Spring Creek Playcentre is part of a cluster of five parent-led centres that operate under the umbrella of the Marlborough Playcentre Association (the association). The centre is open for two sessions per week on Monday and Wednesday from 9.30 to 12.00pm. It is licensed for 24 children including 15 children up to two years old.

The centre is well supported by the association. Support workers, team leaders, tutors and facilitators provide professional advice and guidance for team members, often modelling effective planning skills and teaching strategies. Clear overarching policies support centre operation. The association is responsible for the recruitment, appointment, police vetting and appraisal of all paid staff.

The centre’s philosophy of ‘child-initiated, free uninterrupted play’ and strong networks for families is evident in the programme. Members support each other and learn together. Parents are valued as ‘first educators’ and all parents have, or are working towards, Playcentre qualifications.

The Review Findings

The centre curriculum is clearly linked to the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. There is an appropriate focus on belonging.

Planning for individuals and groups is responsive to children’s emerging interests. Children follow their own interests and strengths. Learning stories capture involvement and engagement in centre activities. A notice, recognise and respond model of assessment and evaluation is capturing special moments and developing parents' confidence to contribute to their child’s learning. There is a need to continue to develop team members' understanding of assessment and evaluation.

The programme effectively contributes to children’s learning and development and is responsive to the range of age levels. Team members know children well and play alongside them. Good use is made of the local community environment through excursions. Positive interactions are modelled and oral language is fostered by questioning to promote conversation and extend play. Established routines support independence. Parents discuss each session and evaluate the programme and use of play areas to enable children’s emerging interests and learning to continue from one session to the next.

Centre displays promote a strong sense of belonging for all. High quality resources contribute to the implementation of the programme, effectively supporting freedom of play and self choice. A specific area for children up to two years with resources appropriate to their age promotes their development. Outdoors, children can explore, investigate and care for living things participating in challenging, physical play.

Interactions are positive, supportive and caring. Children appear happy, are actively engaged and cooperate well, respecting each other in their personal play. They confidently approach adults to ask questions and share achievement. Older children confidently take on leadership and support roles with their younger peers. Children and parents have fun together.

Inclusive bicultural practices are evident. Māori perspectives and resources, use of waiata and karakia provide a sense of belonging for Māori children and whānau. Increased use of te reo Māori has been identified by the team as an area for further development. ERO’s evaluation affirms this next step. Teams also need to develop an understanding of how they can promote success for Māori children as Māori.

There is a cooperative and shared approach to leadership. All parents are supported to take on leadership roles and are involved in some way. Strategic planning is appropriately based on the association plan. The team document their own interpretation and how they are to achieve its goals. A next step is to develop additional goals that reflect local centre priorities and identify strategies for achieving all goals as an annual plan.

A sound self review framework is emerging. Set questions guide the direction of reviews. However, these questions could be more evaluative. The development of indicators for the expected outcomes of what is being reviewed would help team members know what progress they are making to achieve their goals.

Key Next Steps

ERO and team members have identified that there is a need to continue to develop:

  • team members' assessment and evaluation knowledge and skills
  • confidence of team members to integrate te reo Māori into the curriculum
  • a centre-wide understanding of how they can promote success for Māori children as Māori
  • the self-review process by ensuring questions are evaluative and documenting quality indicators for the expected outcomes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

4 September 2013

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


Spring Creek

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

24 children, including 15 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 5,

Girls 1

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2

1 : 1

Better than minimum requirements


Over 2

1 : 1

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

4 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review



Education Review



Education Review


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.