Te Puna Playcentre - 29/06/2018

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 small, rural, parent-led cooperative education and care service located in the Tauranga suburb of Te Puna. It caters for a mixed-age group of children from birth to six years. The playcentre is licenced for 25 children including up to 15 up to the age of two years. There has been a significant reduction in roll numbers since the 2015 ERO review with the current roll being 10 children. Centre members hold appropriate playcentre qualifications that meet Ministry of Education licencing requirements. Two sessions are held each week on Wednesday and Thursday mornings run by parents.

During 2018 playcentres are transitioning from operating as The New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF) with 32 regional associations to a national organisation with six offices. In the central North Island eight associations have merged into a regional hub renamed Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island. This region includes 95 playcentres spread over a large geographic area. During the organisation transition there is some overlap between association systems and new national approaches. At the time of this ERO review there is some uncertainty as new processes become established.

The governance management structure consists of a regional manager and a centre support coordinator who provide guidance and management for the playcentres. A centre administrator and centre support worker were appointed in early 2018 to provide support and guidance for centre operations. A national professional learning and development team is in the early stages of planning for additional learning support to build members’ capability as first teachers of their children. Responsibility for centre leadership is shared across centre members. A high proportion of members hold higher levels of playcentre qualifications.

Te Puna Playcentre aims to promote the playcentre philosophy by focusing on parents and caregivers playing and learning alongside the children. The centre mission statement refers to families and whānau learning and exploring together in a friendly, supportive and fun environment. Members see playcentre as an extension of home and maintain the paramount place of parents and whānau in making decisions about their children’s education and care.

The playcentre has a postive reporting history. Since the 2015 ERO report members have responded effectively to areas identified for improvement in the report, including taking part in advanced playcentre course training.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentres in the Western Bay of Plenty under the governance of Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island.

The Review Findings

Centre leaders effectively implement the philosophy and vision to promote positive learning outcomes for children. Effectively planned and spontaneous internal evaluation is leading to improved outcomes for children. Internal evaluation is ongoing and responsive to identified priorities. Members provide strong, collaborative leadership for centre sustainability. Leaders foster members' involvement in the service and support each other in their roles. There are high levels of relational trust and leaders have established a culture in which children are valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to the learning.

The curriculum provides rich opportunities for children to learn through their interests, strengths and social interactions. A bi-cultural review has increased the use of Māori language and culture throughout the programme. Members place high value on meeting the individual needs of toddlers and infants. They have designed an appropriate area for young infants to explore and enjoy nurturing social interactions. Literacy and mathematics are well integrated through children’s interests and meaningful activities. Oral language and children's thinking are encouraged through learning conversations with adults.

Assessment portfolios include a range of perspectives from other members that contribute to each child's learning story. These portfolios enable children to revisit their play. Regular session evaluations are undertaken as a team to plan opportunities and projects to extend learning. Children can initiate and direct their own learning through access to high quality resources in a spacious learning environment.

Members skilfully notice, recognise and respond to children’s learning. Children engage in sustained and complex learning opportunities. The mixed-age group enables tuakana/teina relationships where older children take some responsibility for younger children. Children develop positive friendships with their peers and learn to interact with a wider group of adults. Both members and children demonstrate a strong sense of belonging to the centre.

Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island is in the early stages of providing support for centres during a time of transition. Existing polices and systems are supporting centre operations until new systems developed by Playcentre Aotearoa are implemented. The strategic and annual plans are yet to consistently guide regional and centre direction. A particular strength is the Te Whare Tikanga Māori initiative, which promotes self-determination for Māori members through regular hui and targeted funding, and enacts the partnership aspect of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Key Next Steps

The key next step for centre members is to use internal evaluation processes to develop a localised curriculum to support children's transition to school.

In addition, ERO has identified the need for Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island management to develop:

  • more robust quality assurance processes for internal evaluation practice and reporting systems to inform priorities, future direction and provide targeted support for its playcentres
  • a strategic approach to professional development in relation to Te Whāriki 2017.

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.

ERO identified an area of non-compliance related to appraisal.

The current appraisal process does not meet Ministry of Education regulatory requirements. Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island needs to ensure suitable human resource management practices are developed, documented and implemented.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7.]

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.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

29 June 2018

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 Puna, Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 6 Boys 4

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

29 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

September 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.