Starship Play Service: Greenlane Surgical Unit - 28/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Starship Play Service: Greenlane Surgical Unit

How well placed is Starship Play Service: Greenlane Surgical Unit to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Starship Play Service: Greenlane Surgical Unit is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Greenlane Surgical Unit (GSU) play service is also known as Starship Play Service: Greenlane Surgical Unit. It is operated by a qualified Hospital Play Specialist (HPS) in a playroom adjoining operating theatres and a ward. The HPS provides activities, experiences and support for children and their families/whānau while they wait for appointments. The HPS also works on referral to support other areas of Greenlane Clinical Centre where children would benefit from the service's support.

The HPS is a member of the Starship Play team, and is included in team-wide meetings and reviews. Professional and clinical leadership is provided by a role specific team leader. A designated early childhood education leader provides additional support and guidance to Starship's licensed early childhood services. A newly created clinical coaching team will provide clinical expertise to the service from 2019. In addition, the HPS has leadership mentoring support and guidance from senior managers and clinicians at GSU.

The Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) and the team leader provide relevant systems and frameworks, including appraisal processes, professional development opportunities, and strategic directional planning for operating the service.

This is the first ERO review for this service.

The Review Findings

Children and families/whānau are warmly welcomed into the playroom. The HPS works with children and families/whānau to help them in their time in the hospital setting. Relationships are established on principles of trust, respect and confidence. The HPS takes time to talk and listen to whānau, helping adults to better support their children's emotional needs when in an unfamiliar environment.

The playroom philosophy is very evident in practice, and is displayed for parent/whānau information. Practices within the playroom and in the hospital clearly reflect the aspirational ideals included in the philosophy.

The service is consistently and positively child-focused. The HPS works collaboratively with hospital teams, as a strong advocate for children and whānau. Examples of good practices in working with children are shared with staff, who consider this knowledge useful.

The tone in the playroom is calm, inclusive and friendly. It is a quiet space with opportunities for children to explore, engage and enjoy their stay. The print-rich playroom environment offers opportunities for children and whānau to see themselves in the resources and displays. They have opportunities to contribute and share their aspirations and cultural connections. This place-based approach has a positive impact on children and their whānau/families' confidence in the hospital setting.

Child-led, play-based activities are promoted in a respectful manner that encourages collaboration between children. Some children visit the hospital regularly for treatments. Skilful engagement with these children helps the HPS to plan for them, based on knowledge of their interests and strengths. For other children, resources of more general interest are provided, and games are suggested to elaborate their play. Children benefit from access to literacy and mathematical play resources.

The service regularly works with children with diverse needs. The HPS aims to provide best play and learning practice for these children. This support has enabled staff to gain more recognition and understanding of diversity and social justice for all children. Infants and toddlers are well catered for in the playroom.

The HPS uses internal evaluation processes to guide the continual improvement of the service's work with children and her role within the hospital. In particular the service's recognition and implementation of bicultural practice has become a strength. There is efficient and meaningful record keeping, and a relevant annual plan that references the ADHB strategic direction.

The Play Specialist team has undertaken a shared review about Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. This review highlighted the need for all HPS to increase their focus on Māori children's success as Māori. The curriculum leader supported the development of a well-considered, focused resource, which includes indicators to help the HPS to make judgements about their practice in supporting Māori children and their whānau. Internal evaluation processes are increasingly guiding the Play Specialist team.

The ADHB was instrumental in creating new personnel roles to support the HPS in their work. The appointment of a team leader has had an increasingly positive impact on professional and clinical leadership for the Play Specialist team. The appointment of a curriculum leader has also been a positive addition. The establishment of three senior play specialists to observe, mentor and coach, and plan professional development, should enable the service to maintain high professional standards and continue to lift practice.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for the service are to continue to:

  • make policy review, relevant to Play Services and more collaborative and proactive
  • provide opportunities for peer observations as part of the teacher appraisal cycle
  • build on the professional capabilities of staff
  • create opportunities for experienced staff to carry out research projects related to the positive effects of play and the work of the HPS with children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Starship Play Service: Greenlane Surgical Unit completed an ERO Hospital-based Education and Care 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

28 February 2019

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


Epsom, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Hospital Based Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for / notional roll

10 children, including up to 2 aged under 2

Number of hospital play specialists in the service


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

January 2019

Date of this report

28 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

3 General Information about Hospital-based Service Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for a hospital-based service education review is ‘How well placed is this service to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing?’

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 contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing
  • Pou Ārahi– how leadership is enacted to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing
  • Mātauranga– whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing
  • Tikanga whakaako– how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity, contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness ofarotake– self review and ofwhanaungatanga– 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 have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service responds to children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to two years of age.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to the methodology for ERO reviews in Hospital-based Education and Care 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 contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing. 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 contribute to children’s learning and wellbeing and are useful to the service.