Te Kawau Playcentre - 19/02/2015

1 Evaluation of Te Kawau Playcentre

How well placed is Te Kawau 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.


Te Kawau Playcentre is one of 19 administered by the Central Districts Playcentre Association (the association). This review is one of ten undertaken by ERO in the association’s playcentres during Term 4, 2014.

The centre is the only early childhood education service in the area. It is open for five mornings per week and caters for children from birth to six years of age. Friday sessions are specially planned to support children’s transition to school. Responsibility for day-to-day operations is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Two paid team leaders who hold early childhood teaching diplomas support parents and whānau to develop and implement the daily programme. Professional advice and feedback to strengthen members’ practice is provided by a liaison officer employed by the association.

Families come from nearby rural communities. There is a strong commitment to supporting members to train so quality funding requirements continue to be met. A high proportion of children attending the centre are aged up to two years of age. High value is placed on developing and maintaining relationships within this community of learners. A strong sense of family is evident.

Playcentres' philosophy statement, 'whānau tupu ngātahi – ‘families growing together’, encapsulates the value this organisation places on families and whānau working collectively to support children’s learning.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is currently reviewing the organisational structure of Playcentre across New Zealand. The outcomes of this review may result in changes to operation at centre level.

The Review Findings

The philosophy of the centre is well reflected in practice. Members work to foster strong links between the home and playcentre. The values of caring, responsibility and respect are reinforced. Adults view children as competent and capable of leading their own learning. Experiences are planned that effectively promote children’s self management, independence and creative self expression. Children are confident, cooperative and friendly.

Duty team members work well to engage children’s interest and involvement in activities. High ratios of adults promote opportunities for sustained one-to-one interactions. Children’s strengths and interests are well known by all. Further strengthening of members’ understanding of strategies that extend children’s’ ideas and sustain their engagement in play is a suitable development step.

The set up of the environment provides good support for a variety of learning experiences for children. A wide range of carefully organised resources are freely available. The interesting outdoor area provides opportunities for challenge, inquiry and physical activities. Recently extended gardens allow for studies related to the natural environment. The local community is well used for excursions. Displays celebrate children’s work and participation in centre activities.

Centre practices are inclusive and support families with diverse needs and aspirations. Infants and toddlers are valued participants in daily sessions, learning alongside the older children. Care of infants is shared by adults. A range of materials and equipment to support the learning of these younger children continues to be developed.

Members have identified a strategic priority to develop a more bicultural perspective in the programme. Leaders continue to seek support and resources to further develop members’ awareness and confidence to promote te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and understanding of te ao Māori. The association should give priority to supporting members define their understanding of success for Māori as Māori.

The centre has positive relationships with the two local primary schools. This relationship provides a useful foundation for sharing information. Strengthening links between primary school and early childhood programmes should support enhanced planning for children’s transition from playcentres.

Children’s developing interests are regularly discussed and recorded. Daily evaluation meetings are used well by the duty team for reflection and planning for subsequent sessions. Parents are encouraged to share aspirations for their children as a basis for programme planning. Further development of children’s use of mathematical language and ideas should improve their confidence as mathematical learners.

Carefully presented portfolios record many aspects of children’s participation at playcentre. Team leaders agree that further work needs to be undertaken to support parents’ understanding of their children’s learning, linked to Te Whāriki. Identifying ways to extend children’s learning should improve the quality of the programme.

Cohesive leadership by a core group of members is promoting sustained good practice and positive outcomes for children. Operating systems and documentation are well developed. Mutual support and an emphasis on relationship building foster parents’ confidence and willingness to become involved.

Self review is used well as a process to promote improvement through regular review of areas of play. Experienced parents are initiating reviews of practices and programmes. Further development of all members understanding and use of self review is a next step.

The centre strategic plan outlines clear direction and priorities for centre improvement. Further development of criteria and indicators of quality to identify good practice should assist self review.

Useful support is provided by the association. This includes written guidelines and systems for managing finance and legislative obligations. Work is being completed to improve employment practices. Visits from the liaison officer assist members in their management and teaching roles. A review of the liaison officer role is being undertaken to support an improved approach.

An annual appraisal process supports team leaders to identify personal goals to improve outcomes for children. The association appraisal framework requires further development. The provision of ongoing professional, constructive feedback based on observations of practice, and linked to identified needs and development goals, should add rigour and value to participants.

Key Next Steps

At association level, priorities are the further development of:

  • members’ understanding of assessment, planning ,evaluation and self review
  • liaison support so it is more effective in identifying and responding to centre needs
  • appraisal for employees
  • members’ understanding about the concept of success for Māori as Māori
  • members understanding about te ao Māori
  • strategies that promote awareness of Playcentre in the local community.

At centre level, the priorities are to continue to:

  • encourage all members' participation in assessment, planning, evaluation and self review.
  • develop bicultural perspectives in the programme
  • support members' understanding of Te Whāriki in relation to the development of the playcentre programmes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

ERO identified an area of non-compliance.

  • The association should ensure that Education Act requirements for police vetting of employees are consistently met. [Education Act 1989, sections 78CB and CC]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Te Kawau Playcentre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central 19 February 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

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 19, Boys 14

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

19 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2012


Education Review

August 2008


Education Review

April 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.