Taupo Family Playcentre - 28/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Taupō Family Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Taupō Family Playcentre is a parent-led education and care service located in Taupō. It caters for children from birth to school age and operates six mixed-age sessions per week. The playcentre is licensed for 30 children including up to 20 under the age of two years. The roll is continuing to grow. Currently 80 children are enrolled. Most are of Pākehā descent and a small number of families identify as Māori, and other ethnicities.

During 2018, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation transitioned from operating with 32 regional associations to become one national body with six regional offices. In the central North Island six associations have merged into a regional hub renamed Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region that now includes 95 playcentres over a large geographic area. During this transition there is some overlap between associations and the new national regional systems and processes. At Taupō Family Playcentre the president is supported by a committee of parent members, including a bicultural sub-committee. A centre support worker is provided by the federation.

Through their national philosophy, the playcentre places emphasis on whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together. They empower adults and children to play, work and grow together and value and affirm parents as first and best educators of their children.

Taupō Family Playcentre has a positive reporting history with ERO. Leaders have responded positively to the next steps identified in the 2015 ERO review.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentres in the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region.

The Review Findings

Children are engaged in learning-centred relationships, supported by their parents as first teachers. The attractive and well-presented grounds offer challenge and support risk taking. The playcentre offers 16 areas of play which are well resourced, accessible and inclusive for all learners. Children with additional learning needs, including oral language and English as a second language, are well- supported. Infants and toddlers attend with their primary caregivers, developing secure attachments. Children are encouraged to be confident and competent learners.

A rich curriculum integrates mathematics and literacy. Children lead their own learning. They learn about the living world and sustainability. Regular trips and excursions into the local community enrich learning. Māori children are supported to achieve success and members have developed an approach to further strengthen the bicultural curriculum. External support from a kapa haka tutor and participating in the Tūwharetoa festival annually is supporting all learners to appreciate the bicultural diversity of Aotearoa New Zealand. Children develop a strong sense of belonging and well being.

Recent improvements to the way in which the programme is planned have been strengthened to be more responsive to emergent interests. Children's learning is captured in portfolios. There are some models of good practice and support for members to strengthen their knowledge on how to assess children's learning. This remains an area to focus on to ensure consistency for all children.

Highly-effective leadership is promoting positive outcomes for children. Positive relationships and a culture for learning have been established. An experienced team of leaders is mentoring and supporting newer playcentre members. Responsibilities are shared and there is a succession plan to ensure sustainability of the service. Effective internal evaluation is leading to positive improvements. Comprehensive systems and processes have been established, ensuring the smooth running of sessions. Decision making is focussed on ongoing improvements and positive outcomes for children.

The Playcentre Aotearoa overarching strategic plan, philosophy, vision and individual annual plans have been implemented and guide the playcentre direction. There is a focus on building capability through recently reviewed and improved parent education programmes. Regular communication and support between the Playcentre Aotearoa and regions during the restructure, supported business as usual. Existing policies and systems support centre operations until all new systems developed by Playcentre Aotearoa are implemented nationally. The federation is committed to offering more accessible localised training to respond to the needs of the community.

Key Next Step

Taupō Family Playcentre leaders now need to provide further support for members to ensure that all children have regular assessments of their learning and development to show progression over time. These records should also capture the language, culture and identity of all learners.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Taupō Family 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.

In order to improve practice leaders need to ensure that all trips and excursions out of the centre have a risk analysis completed.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA8

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Taupō Family Playcentre will be in three years.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 47 Girls 33

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

28 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2015

Education Review

November 2011

Education Review

August 2008

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.