Stratford Playcentre - 30/08/2017

1 Evaluation of Stratford Playcentre

How well placed is Stratford 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.


Stratford Playcentre is one of 17 parent-led services, administered by the Taranaki Playcentre Association (the association). A management team of elected volunteers implements the directives from playcentre governance. It is also responsible for providing the adult education programme, guidance and support for members.

The playcentre is licensed for up to 30 children, including 15 aged up to two years. Forty-seven children are enrolled. The centre opens for mixed-age sessions two mornings a week. Two SPACE (Supporting Parents Alongside Children's Education) programmes are held for children up to the age of two.

Centre supporters are employed by the association to regularly visit playcentres. Their role is to provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Parents share the duties associated with implementing the daily programme.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is planning a significant restructure for 2017 that includes amalgamating associations. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

The February 2014 ERO report for Stratford Playcentre identified the need for an action plan to increase members' understanding and confidence in self review, planned programmes incorporating Māori perspectives and transition to school. Centre members have made positive progress in these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of seven playcentre reviews in the Taranaki Playcentre Association. 

The Review Findings

The association philosophy of parent-led education and child-initiated play is valued by centre members and reflected in practice. The principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpin practice to promote positive outcomes for children. A commitment to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi is evident across the organisation.

The well-resourced centre supports children of all ages to delight in their learning. Children follow their own rhythms as they decide and engage in activities to their own satisfaction. They navigate the environment purposefully and use the outdoor apparatus confidently.

Redevelopment of the outdoor area provides an increased range of challenging learning experiences. The high adult-to-child ratio supports children's engagement. Adults learn alongside children, contributing to sustained play and meaningful conversations.

A strong sense of belonging between families and other children is evident. Positive tuakana teina relationships are fostered. These are supported through established rituals and routines which are familiar to children and adults.

The interests, needs and preferences of children inform the curriculum. Children learn through play using all their senses as they engage in science, creative arts, literacy, mathematics and physical activities.

There are well-considered approaches and practices to planning for learning. Implementation of new systems is helping parents' to increase their contributions. Some portfolios reflect children's learning journeys well. Adults should continue to implement and build confidence and capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

A transition to school process is well considered. Good use has been made of self review to strengthen practices for children and families as they move to school.

The association Māori representative of Puriri Whakamaru o Taranaki, supports centre members to gain further understandings of te ao Māori. This aspect is developing well as an integral part of the curriculum. Association and centre leaders should use strategic planning and internal evaluation to ensure the good practice occurring is sustained and continues to be built on.

The centre support person provides useful written reports on centre environmental developments and programme practices. These have a focus on outcomes for children and identification of next steps for centre members to improve teaching and learning.

Appraisal for centre supporters requires strengthening. This process, to enhance outcomes for children and their families, should: include more focused goals that build their capability; and provide more regular and targeted feedback and feed forward about supportive practices. 

Key Next Steps

The association should continue to support centre members to:

  • strengthen planning, assessment and evaluation

  • build confidence and capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

The association should:

  • improve appraisal for the centre support people to respond to individual needs and identify professional development to grow them in their leadership roles

  • continue to build centre support staff knowledge and capability to undertake effective internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

30 August 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

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 27, Girls 20

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

30 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

February 2014

Education Review

November 2010

Supplementary Review

September 2007

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.