Tikorangi Playcentre - 07/02/2017

1 Evaluation of Tikorangi Playcentre

How well placed is Tikorangi 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.


Tikorangi Playcentre has a close relationship with Tikorangi School. It is situated next to an area of native bush that is used to provide learning for children. It is licensed for 30 children, including 15 children up to two years of age, and offers two sessions each week.

Tikorangi Playcentre is one of 17 parent-led early childhood centres administered by the Taranaki Playcentre Association (the association). A management team of elected volunteers oversees operation at governance level and provides the adult education programme, guidance and support for members.

Centre supporters are employed by the association to regularly visit playcentres. Their role is to provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Parents share the duties associated with implementing the programme.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is planning a significant restructure for 2017 that includes amalgamating all the associations. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

The association philosophy of parent-led education and child initiated play and the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are valued by centre members and reflected in practice.

The February 2014 ERO report for Tikorangi Playcentre, identified that centre leaders in partnership with the association should:

  • provide parents with ongoing support for assessing children's learning

  • further develop their understanding and use of self-review practices and annual goals and priorities across the centre

  • extend their understanding, promotion and use of strategies to promote success for Māori children as Māori. 

The report also indicated that the association should benefit from external support to strengthen and improve understanding of:

  • annual and strategic planning to better inform priorities for teaching and learning

  • relevant approaches to assessment, planning and evaluation

  • fostering opportunities to enable Māori children to have success as Māori

  • supporting members' understanding of teaching and learning, and regulatory requirements

  • current self-review approaches.

Effective centre practice identified in the previous ERO report has been sustained and sound progress has occurred in the areas for development.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews in the Taranaki Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The service’s philosophy is an expression of what families want for their children. It reflects the playcentre philosophy of parent-led education, learning through play and the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The centre’s philosophy is highly evident. Positive and respectful relationships are formed with each family, supporting a sense of belonging. Learners are encouraged to explore and extend their learning in a range of ways. Children are confident, independent learners who willingly participate. Affirming and positive interactions support sustained play and learning.

Children's active exploration through play and engagement in their learning is supported by attentive parent educators. They participate enthusiastically in a varied range of planned and spontaneous activities. The child-initiated programme is responsive to their current and emerging interests. Children direct their own learning, create their own challenges and problem-solve independently. A positive tone is evident.

Children’s talk is encouraged and respected. They are empowered to self-manage and take increased responsibility for their learning. Literacy, numeracy and science activities, sensory and messy learning are integral parts of children's early learning experience. A good range of play areas are available to children. The outdoor learning space provides a range of positive physical activities. Frequent trips into the local community, neighbouring bush and beyond, enrich children's experiences and extend the curriculum.

There is a strong focus on strengthening assessment, planning and evaluation. A learning goal is identified for each child and reviewed regularly to show progress. Programme planning provides useful guidance for adults. This enables them to plan and provide programmes that respond to children's interests, strengths and next steps in learning. Continuing to strengthen planning and assessment practices, to show how adults have extended children's learning, should assist them to more clearly show progress.

Biculturalism is well understood. The importance of bicultural perspectives is acknowledged through relationships, policies and practices. The centre has formed meaningful links with local hapū representatives. Using their expertise further enriches the learning and experiences. Strengthening the use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is a next step.

The association Māori representative of Puriri Whakamaru o Taranaki, supports centre members to gain further understandings of te ao Māori. This is developing well as an integral part of the curriculum. Association and centre leaders should use strategic planning and internal evaluation to ensure the good practice occurring is sustained and continues to be built on.

Purposeful, deliberate actions have resulted in a resurgence of links with the community and the neighbouring school. These interactions are mutually beneficial, enhancing children's learning opportunities and fostering a strong sense of belonging.

Leadership is encouraged and well distributed across the membership. There is a high level of commitment to course participation which impacts positively on the quality of the sessions.

Collaboration between centre members is highly evident. Strengths are used to provide good quality support for children's learning. They are willing to take on roles and responsibilities. Members who are new or moving into specific roles are well supported and inducted through useful succession planning.

Self review is a well-managed process, focused on improvement. Spontaneous review is ongoing and responsive to identified priorities to inform decision-making, about policies and ongoing planning. There has been significant development in the understanding of planned review. It is now timely for members to implement this learning and use review and evaluation to identify how well their practices contribute to improved outcomes for children. Engaging more centre members in internal evaluation should extend capability and further support sustainability of good practice.

Planning clearly identifies priorities and goals towards achieving the playcentre vision. Goals are supported by appropriate actions and resources to enable them to be achieved. Progress towards goals is systematically monitored and evidence gathered to inform the impact on learning outcomes.

The centre support person provides written reports that generally affirm environmental developments and programme practices. These reports should more deliberately focus on outcomes for children and next steps for centre members to improve teaching and learning. This should include a focus on providing centre members with evaluative feedback that assists them to sustain and further enhance the good practice already occurring.

Appraisal for centre supporters requires strengthening. The process should include: more focused goals that build their capability; and more regular and targeted feedback and feed forward about practices that enhance outcomes for children and their families.

Key Next Steps

Centre members should continue to:

  • strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation to improve their ability to support, extend and evaluate children's learning

  • build knowledge and capability to undertake effective internal evaluation

  • deepen and embed their understanding of te ao Māori into learning experiences. 

The association should:

  • improve appraisal for the centre support people to support individual needs and identify professional development to support them in their leadership roles

  • build the knowledge and capability of centre support staff to undertake effective internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

7 February 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 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 12, Boys 8

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

7 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

February 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

May 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.