Te Aroha Playcentre - 19/06/2020

1 Evaluation of Te Aroha Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Te Aroha Playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children, four days a week. This includes 15 children up to the age of two. At the time of this ERO review, there are 27 children enrolled and four identify as Māori.

The Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy, ‘whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together’, is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. Alongside this the centre philosophy echoes the same ideas, ‘to play, laugh, and learn alongside our children as whānau, friends, community, growing together’.

Since the April 2016 ERO report, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation has restructured by amalgamating all associations to form Playcentre Aotearoa. Te Aroha Playcentre is part of the Central North Island Region and is supported by a regional manager and support persons.

Whānau and families share responsibility for the curriculum. Day-to-day operation is undertaken by session support personnel and centre-elected office holders. A centre support worker and centre administrator regularly visit playcentres to provide professional support, strengthen practice and promote improvement.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews in the Aotearoa North Island Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children's learning is well supported in a stimulating homelike environment. Warm and caring interactions between adults and children helps develop their confidence and curiosity. A wide range of play-based learning experiences encourages their exploration and participation in the programme. Child-led learning alongside adults promotes children's oral language and independence. Aspects of te ao Māori reflected in the environment, resources and practice benefit all children, and fosters the dual heritage of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Members are continuing to strengthen their spontaneous use of te reo Māori.

Children up to two years of age are well supervised and able to move freely about the playcentre to engage with older children and siblings. Quiet areas also provide opportunities where they can learn at a calm and slow pace. Children's learning portfolios capture their individual interests and engagement in the programme. Members are continuing to strengthen how they capture children's ongoing learning over time.

Transitions into the playcentre are well considered and tailored to the individual needs of each child and their family. An informal transition process to schools supports members with older children. Self-review is systematic and collaborative leading to ongoing improvements. A focus on the impact on valued learning outcomes for children will strengthen this area.

The revised parent education programme is becoming more accessible to centre members. At this playcentre, parents actively engage with the Playcentre Aotearoa education programme, and are making progress towards appropriate qualifications. Appraisal processes for session support staff have recently been strengthened to better evaluate performance in relation to specific roles and responsibilities, identify professional learning and development needs, and focus on achievement of goals.

The national restructuring process continues to require some attention and support to implement an extensive range of systems and processes. Regular communication from Playcentre Aotearoa seeks to keep parents informed of progress, changes and upcoming requirements. National policies and procedures have recently been introduced and parents are in the process of aligning practices to these. Targeted support to embed policies and procedures will further benefit parents and centres.

A recent evaluation of how well the restructure has met the needs of the Playcentre community has resulted in further proposed change. These are yet to be implemented.

Key Next Steps

Playcentre Aotearoa should support members to:

  • implement systematic monitoring systems of policies and procedures

  • provide leadership and guidance to promote Te Tiriti-based practices for all services

  • strengthen internal evaluation with a focus on learning outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Te Aroha 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.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

19 June 2020

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


Te Aroha

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

Male 15 Female 12

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2020

Date of this report

19 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2016

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

February 2010

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.