St Andrews Playcentre - 10/06/2016

1 Evaluation of St Andrews Playcentre

How well placed is St Andrews 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.


St Andrews Playcentre provides parents and their babies with the programme, Supporting Parents Alongside their Children’s Education (SPACE). This programme is delivered under the umbrella of the Waikato Playcentre Association (WPA) in accordance with a memorandum of understanding with SPACE NZ Trust who initiated and own the programme.

The SPACE programme aims to improve the wellbeing of babies/toddlers, enhance support for parents, and contribute to the building of stronger communities. Sessions are led by trained, competent, facilitators who benefit from regular professional development and support from leaders and the Association. They follow a comprehensive and well-structured curriculum provided by SPACE NZ Trust.

Parents participate in one morning or afternoon session per week for a period of 40 weeks. There are 10 morning and afternoon sessions each week. Parents and children come from a wide geographical area in and around Hamilton. The centre is licensed to cater for 20 children from birth to two years of age and at the time of this ERO review there were 160 children on the roll, 21 of whom are identified as Māori.

The centre is run in conjunction with Nawton Playcentre, and the same staff oversee the management, systems, documentation and processes. The playcentre operates as a parent cooperative, and commits to children learning through play with family involvement. Parents/whānau and their children experience warm, welcoming relationships and high quality programmes.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation and the Waikato Playcentre Association (WPA) provides effective governance, strategic direction, management support and adult education programmes for the centre. This support and training is underpinned by the WPA philosophy 'Whānau tupu ngātahi - families growing together'.

The association’s strategic commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi is evident in its bicultural leadership model. High value is placed on productive partnerships with Māori whānau, and funding is made available for related professional development. The association’s commitment to Ka Hikitia has resulted in clear expectations for continuing to build members’ understanding, confidence and competence in te Ao Māori.

This review was part of a cluster of 8 reviews in the Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Parents and babies are warmly welcomed to the centre sessions and enjoy positive relationships with facilitators and each other. They quickly establish a strong sense of belonging in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment. Age-appropriate equipment and resources, with a focus on the natural world and sensory experiences, promote babies' exploration and physical activity both indoors and in the outside environment.

The SPACE curriculum is underpinned by key learning outcomes for babies and their parents in the SPACE NZ Trust guidelines. There are strong links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

High ratios of adults to babies helps provide opportunities for high quality learning and play outcomes. Facilitators ensure that each session is carefully planned for and reflected on. They skilfully encourage parents to learn, discuss, and share ideas and knowledge about parenting and child development. Parents are respected and valued as their child's first educator. They are encouraged to increase their contribution to session content and build their capability in their own parenting.

The programme is administered and further developed by a committed, dedicated and knowledgeable team of office holders. Clear roles and responsibilities, high expectations and well-considered guidelines support the programme delivery. Leaders have thoughtfully developed an effective recruitment training and development programme for facilitators.

Facilitators are well supported in their role. Detailed job descriptions and other documentation outline clear expectations. A robust appraisal process and regular formal opportunities for evaluation and reflection support ongoing improvement to the programme. Facilitators participate in regular and focused training and professional development.

Leaders use a range of effective communication strategies with each other, facilitators, parents, and the wider community. They communicate their enthusiasm and commitment to excellence, the Playcentre philosophy, and the value of the SPACE programme, and effectively resolve relationship challenges. There are close, effective working relationships between the SPACE team and the Waikato Playcentre executive.

Leaders use a range of spontaneous and longer term self-review to bring about improvement. They are increasing their understanding of self review and how they can align this more closely with their strategic goals.

Key Next Steps

Leaders have adopted a consultative approach to developing useful and meaningful strategic goals. It is now timely for them to develop new strategic goals which more accurately reflect current issues and future direction.

Leaders have responded positively to the recommendation in the 2013 ERO review in relation to increasing Maori perspectives in the programme. They now need to continue to increase the inclusion of a Māori world-view in the programme and portfolios.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St Andrews 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 St Andrews Playcentre will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

10 June 2016

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 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 79 Girls 81

Ethnic composition









Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

10 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012

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.