Te Poi Playcentre - 11/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Te Poi Playcentre

How well placed is Te Poi 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 Poi Playcentre, located near Matamata, provides education and care for children from birth to school age. The centre operates under the umbrella of the East Waikato Playcentre Association (EWPA) and is licensed for 30 children, including up to 10 aged under two years. There are currently 10 children enrolled, including one of Māori descent. The centre is currently open on Thursday mornings and employs a session support person to ensure correct ratios are met.

The centre philosophy is based on the notion that parents are the primary educators in their children's lives. This philosophy includes acknowledging the different aspects that parents bring to the children’s learning while still adhering to the basic playcentre philosophy of child-led play.

The centre has made good progress in responding to the areas for development identified in the 2013 ERO report about increasing opportunities for children to direct their own learning, and using Ministry of Education guidelines to review key aspects for centre operations.

The NZPF is currently undergoing restructuring and this has implications for EWPA governance actions in the future.

This review was part of a cluster of nine playcentre reviews in the East Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from caring and purposeful learning relationships. They interact positively with one another and have good friendships. Responsive, reciprocal relationships are formed amongst families, supporting children’s strong sense of belonging.

The programme includes an effective combination of parent-led and child-initiated learning. Parents provide interesting activities each week in relation to the term’s theme. Children can choose to participate in these activities, or follow their own interests. Children are engaged in learning, receiving high levels of support from parents. 

Te reo Māori is evident within the environment through displays including posters, books and signage. There has been a planned self review to increase the confidence of parents to implement bi-cultural practices. The centre acknowledges that there is a need to continue developing parents' bicultural practice to include more te reo, tikanga and inclusion of te ao Māori.

A broad, rich curriculum is in place with many opportunities for learning through play. Literacy, mathematics, music and natural resources are naturally integrated into the curriculum. Oral language is well supported through learning conversations, which extend children’s thinking and vocabulary. Infants and younger children benefit from participating in the programme where they are supported by their parents and can learn alongside siblings and older children. The playcentre is well resourced with developmentally appropriate equipment and activities for all ages. Attractive grounds provide a safe and stimulating environment.  Children have fun learning and exploring in a wide range of experiences. 

Local children and parents in this rural community benefit from the provision of an ECE service. The centre has a long standing relationship with the local school, which supports older children when they are ready to transition. Infants and toddlers are supported by their parents at the service, with a range of resources and activities provided to extend their learning.  

Children’s learning is documented in attractive and informative individual assessment portfolios. In these portfolios parents document the learning of their own and other children during each session. A more consistent approach to using this information for planning is needed to strengthen the way parents respond to and extend individual children’s interests.

Useful policies and procedures are in place to guide centre management and the centre is well supported by the secretary of the EWPA. The children benefit from participating in a well-managed centre. The current philosophy should now be reviewed to reflect the community’s aspirations for learning outcomes for children.

The experienced president is well supported by a small group of other parents to manage the smooth running of the centre.  Some parents have long-standing, inter-generational links to the centre.

Longer standing parents are focussed on providing a quality service and supporting new members to understand and implement the playcentre philosophy. Leaders are accessing some professional development from the EWPA. There is a shared leadership model across the membership. A number of parents are yet to start level 1 papers. Training beyond course 1 has to be accessed outside of the area. Children would benefit from having a higher number of trained parents to support their learning.

Some self review is being undertaken. There are ongoing, spontaneous, informal self reviews in response to emerging concerns and needs. There is also a process for planned self review. These self reviews now need to be more clearly documented and indicate how learning outcomes for children have been improved as a result. 

Key Next Steps

There is a need to implement and strengthen:

  • a more consistent approach to using assessment information to extend individual children’s interests and inform programme planning
  • documented planned self review that shows clearly how these reviews are contributing to improved learning outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance. To meet requirements EWPA must ensure that:

  • the employed supervisors are regularly appraised by a suitably experienced and knowledgeable appraiser in order to affirm areas of good practice and identify areas for further development [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7]

  • safety checks and police vetting of supervisors are carried out every three years in order to meet the legal requirements for children’s safety and wellbeing.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7A; Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014] 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

11 May 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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls    5
Boys    5

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

11 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

September 2013

Education Review

April 2010

Education Review

June 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.