Totaravale Playcentre - 07/03/2014

1 Evaluation of Totaravale Playcentre

How well placed is Totaravale 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.


Totaravale Playcentre is a parent-led cooperative that provides for up to 25 children from birth to school age. Centre practices are based on the playcentre philosophy of families learning and growing together. The centre offers three sessions per week.

Since the 2011 ERO review, centre members have continued work to strengthen programme planning and selfreview processes. Long-serving members have provided stability and helped to progress this work through a focus on the programme and on leadership and aspects of governance.

The playcentre operates as part of the North Shore Playcentre Association. The association is the umbrella organisation for 21 playcentres situated in North Auckland. Many of these centres are semi-rural. The association manages and distributes funding to the centres and provides a training programme for parents/whānau to achieve playcentre qualifications. It also has good systems to support centre members to manage the playcentres and to provide educational programmes for children. The association is currently reviewing many aspects of its operations to help reduce the administrative workload for its members.

This review was part of a cluster of seven reviews in the North Shore Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Totaravale Playcentre is well placed to continue promoting positive learning outcomes for children. The programme affirms children as competent and confident learners and is aligned to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children, including those with special needs are well supported by members and enthusiastically engage in a curriculum that fosters their interests. Infants and toddlers are well supported to learn alongside other children.

Parents and children have fun as they work and play together for sustained periods. Children’s ideas are respected and incorporated into programmes. Children’s social and emotional competence is fostered as they practice turn taking, take on new challenges and develop problem-solving skills. They are highly engaged in their learning as members skilfully use open-ended questioning to encourage their thinking and decision-making skills. Literacy and numeracy are fostered within the context of play.

The child-centred curriculum allows for children’s interests to be meaningfully developed over time. The recent review of programme planning has placed a greater emphasis on planning for children’s developmental ages and stages. There is clear alignment between LEAP (learning, evaluation, assessment, planning) processes that helps to ensure members plan well for individual and group interests. This planning is documented and visible so that members can plan for continuity of children’s learning between sessions.

Bicultural perspectives are evident in the programme and are reflected in centre displays, resources and activities that reflect Māori language and culture. Programmes also value and celebrate the language, culture and identity of those children who are of Korean and Chinese ethnicity.

Parents work collaboratively within the association’s framework of governance and management to provide positive outcomes for children. A recent change in office holders has provided leadership opportunities for members. Adults are reflective about their roles and responsibilities and have developed good systems to support changes in leadership. New families acknowledge the effective processes established to support their transition into the centre.

Members have a good understanding of the purpose of self review and initiate review as a response to current areas of need. Very good frameworks have been established to guide improvement. Taking a more planned approach to scheduling self review could help with improving outcomes for children.

Members have completed a comprehensive review of the playcentre’s graduation to school processes for four year olds. Graduation traditions provide children with a sense of anticipation and celebration as they progress to the next stage of learning. Further developing transition processes could strengthen the programme.

The association management team takes responsibility for specific tasks relating to the function of the association. Management team members are committed to and enthusiastic about their involvement in playcentre. They actively foster emergent leadership to help sustain the association and demonstrate the professional leadership necessary to help the association respond to change, make decisions and manage issues as they arise. The North Shore Playcentre Association provides effective support to help this playcentre remain well placed to provide positive learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre members and ERO agree that to further enhance playcentre operations and practice they should continue to formalise self-review processes. This could include:

  • reviewing how effectively the programme promotes children’s sustained and independent play
  • reviewing ways to further develop bicultural practices within the centre, including further developing members’ confidence in using te reo and tikanga Māori
  • reviewing the extent to which members recognise and respond to children’s language, culture and identity, including those children who have Pacific heritage
  • personalising the association’s philosophy to reflect the centre’s context within the Totaravale community, as noted in the last ERO report
  • determining goals that underpin the playcentre’s long-term direction. These goals would help members to focus on and evaluate the impact of their work, particularly in terms of outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

7 March 2014

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Sunnynook, Auckland

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 17

Boys 5

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Review team on site

October 2013

Date of this report

7 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2011


Education Review

November 2007


Education Review

October 2004

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.