Tapawera Playcentre - 18/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Tapawera Playcentre

How well placed is Tapawera Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Tapawera Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


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

The playcentre is in a small, isolated, rural community. The playcentre is located in a hall that is also used by other community groups. The supervisors and parents pack away all the equipment at the end of each session.

The centre operates two morning sessions. The supervisors have worked in the centre for a number of years and continue to improve their playcentre qualifications. One supervisor also holds a Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood Education. Many of the parents have also completed a number of the playcentre parent-training courses.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the centre staff and parents have improved child assessment and planning practices, and maintained a commitment to include te reo and tikanga Māori.

This review was part of a cluster of 14 playcentre reviews in the Nelson Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are happy, settled and confident in the playcentre environment. The centre has a good range of well-presented activities and resources that encourage children to work independently, build on their interests and develop their ideas.

Science is a strength within the centre. The supervisors and parents also make good use of the wider community to provide additional experiences for the children.

The supervisors are actively involved with the children. They have a good knowledge of each child and their family. They use a range of effective ways to help children:

  • think deeply about their learning

  • use the resources in creative ways

  • link their home and centre learning.

The parents value the playcentre, and the social and educational opportunities it brings for them and their children. The supervisors successfully help parents to understand the philosophy, participate in the parent-education programme and make friends. Parents confidently help in the sessions and fundraising activities. The centre has one of the highest percentage of parents completing the playcentre courses.

Child assessment and programme planning practices are well established. Learning stories clearly show the learning occurring for each child and the possible next learning steps. Parents’ comments are also regularly included in the stories.

The supervisors have a good relationship with the local area school. They regularly share children’s portfolios with the school teachers to help children transition into school.

Key Next Steps

The centre and association identified, and ERO agrees, that the key next steps for improving children’s learning include:

  • building Māori children and families’ bicultural knowledge, language and leadership within the centre

  • continuing to increase the inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori within the programme and learning stories

  • improving the usefulness of self review and programme evaluations by focusing more on the quality of learning and teaching.

Nelson Playcentre Association

The playcentres, with support from the association are increasing their interest in te reo and tikanga Māori, and getting to know Māori parents and their aspirations better. The re-establishment of Te Rōpū, a special group for Māori parents, is beginning to grow Māori parents’ confidence and pride in being Māori.

Playcentre environments are inviting, attractively presented, well resourced and spacious. Good use is made of self review to ensure the wide range of equipment and resources are regularly updated and build children’s creativity, confidence and resourcefulness. Centres often have a strong focus on literacy, mathematics and science.

Families are valued and provided with considerable support in their parenting role. Parent-education courses are held during playcentre sessions and the majority of parents attend. A high percentage of parents are progressing quickly through the education courses.

Children and parents are well supported by experienced and long-serving supervision team members, who have also been or still are playcentre parents. Supervision team members provide considerable support to parents to understand and put into practice:

  • the playcentre philosophy

  • cooperative ways of working and sharing responsibilities

  • the best ways to promote the learning and development of infants, toddlers and children.

Individual centres are well supported by the association executive and the liaison officers who have a good knowledge of children’s wellbeing and learning, and playcentre operation. They are committed to making playcentres work well for families.

The association and centres have a good range of policies and procedures to guide the day-to-day operation of individual playcentres. The liaison officers use their extensive knowledge of playcentre to ensure the centres provide high standards of health and safety, are well maintained and activities are well presented and interesting for children.

There continues to be significant change occurring in the structure of governance and management at association and federation levels.

Key Next Steps for the association

The association executive and ERO agree that the key next steps for the association to continue to provide positive outcomes for all children include:

  • sustaining and strengthening of Māori perspectives in the curriculum and supporting Māori children to experience success as Māori

  • developing ways to ensure that children of Pacific heritage and other cultures maintain connections to their cultural identity and language

  • establishing an ongoing, well understood self-review process that monitors progress in achieving the strategic goals and improving learning and teaching

  • reviewing and strengthening the appraisal process for liaison officers and supervisors to ensure all children experience high-quality learning

  • establishing strategic direction for the organisation that clearly shows the association's priorities for its long-term development and sustainability.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

18 May 2015

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

25 children, including up to 15 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 8; Girls 7

Ethnic composition





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

18 May 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

May 2012


Education Review

August 2007


Education Review

February 2005

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.