Te Puna Playcentre - 27/02/2015

1 Evaluation of Te Puna Playcentre

How well placed is Te Puna 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 Puna Playcentre is a parent-led cooperative education and care service located in a rural area close to Tauranga. It caters for children from birth to school age from the local community. The centre enjoys a close partnership with the neighbouring school which many children attend when they begin their primary school education.

The centre operates under the playcentre philosophy of children and adults learning together within a supportive, safe and nurturing environment. Three sessions are held each week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Each session is run cooperatively with all parents working with and alongside their own and other children to develop each child’s skills and build confidence.

The playcentre operates under the umbrella of the Western Bay of Plenty Playcentre Association (WBOPPA). Parents benefit from the support and guidance of a liaison officer and an administration officer provided by the association. WBOPPA also provide training workshops and useful documentation and frameworks to guide centre operations. These guidelines are underpinned by the association’s philosophy, which is highly evident in members’ practice.

While overarching governance structures and support are provided by WBOPPA, individual parents are able to undertake specific leadership roles within the centre. In addition, parents are encouraged to undertake playcentre course qualifications to build their knowledge and understanding about early childhood education and care.

Since the last 2011 ERO review, significant progress has been made in developing strategic planning and self-review processes, including the bicultural dimension and assessment practice.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentre reviews in the Western Bay of Plenty Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The centre provides high-quality education and care for children and families. Parents work closely with and alongside children to promote each child’s wellbeing and learning. Strong partnerships and supportive centre relationships are contributing to a settled and purposeful environment for parents and children. ERO observed children engaged in learning and exploration while confidently communicating with parents. Interactions observed between children and adults were respectful, caring and affirming.

The environment is well planned to invite children’s interest and stimulate their thinking. Parents plan the outdoor area to provide many opportunities for children to explore, challenge their developing physical skills, and take risks in a closely monitored setting. Parents also ensure the outdoor area is well kept. Good systems are in place to ensure children are safe and equipment is well maintained.

The daily programme is flexible and responsive to children’s emerging ideas and interests. Parents skilfully notice opportunities to become involved in children’s learning. They affirm and encourage the development of children’s theories and learning. During the session observed by ERO, parents demonstrated an in-depth understanding of playcentre philosophy and a wide range of area content knowledge to support and extend children’s learning. ERO also observed children independently accessing equipment, making choices and being included in decision making.

Parents have a sound understanding of early childhood education assessment practice, including Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and children’s developing social competencies.

A record of each child’s development and learning is kept in individual child portfolios. These useful and attractive documents make episodes of learning visible and provide evidence of children’s long-term development and thinking over time. Portfolios also provide a valuable resource for children to share their experiences and revisit important learning.

The centre is well placed to promote each child’s early literacy and mathematical development. Parents listen carefully to children and purposefully foster their oral language skills. These skills are developed through learning conversations, effective questioning, and for younger children, appropriate responses to non-verbal signals.

Bicultural practice is well established in the centre. Māori families are well represented amongst centre membership. These knowledgeable and experienced parents are contributing to the programme by effectively supporting the participation and success of all children and families attending. There are strong and reciprocal partnerships among families and a commitment to embracing te reo Māori as a functional language. Displays and resources, interactions with adults, and daily routines provide children with access to te reo and tikanga Māori practices as part of their daily learning.

Strategic planning processes and centre review are contributing to ongoing improvement to the service for children and families. Daily end-of-session evaluations provide an effective forum for spontaneous ongoing reflection and improvement. Planned and documented review of specific aspects of centre operations ensure decisions about improvement are based on sound evidence gathered from a range of sources.

Key Next Step

ERO and the centre agree that it is important to encourage parents to take part in increasingly advanced playcentre course training. This is likely to lead to improved long-term sustainability of the service, and continuation of the quality service currently being provided.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer-Northern Northern Region

27 February 2015

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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 12

Girls 11

Ethnic composition



Other European






Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

27 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2011


Education Review

August 2008


Education Review

June 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.