Tutukaka Coast Playcentre - 17/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Tutukaka Coast Playcentre

How well placed is Tutukaka Coast 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.


Tutukaka Coast Playcentre is a parent-led early childhood education service in Ngunguru, about 30 minutes from Whangarei. The centre provides two morning sessions each week for children from birth to school age. It currently caters for 22 children and families who live in the surrounding coastal and rural areas. Many of the families are relatively new to Playcentre.

The centre is part of the Northland Playcentre Association, which is managed by officers elected by centre members. The Association provides a framework for centre management and operations, as well as parent education programmes and personnel to support centre members in their management, educator and parenting roles. The programmes that centre members provide for children are underpinned by the overarching Playcentre philosophy of whānau and children learning together in a fun, nurturing learning environment.

Playcentre Aotearoa, the national organisation, is currently in the process of a comprehensive restructure. A regional hub will be established to provide governance, management and parent education support for Playcentres north of Auckland. While this will mean significant changes at the local Association level, it is expected that support for individual centres will be maintained or strengthened.

ERO’s 2013 review noted centre members’ strong commitment to promoting Playcentre and children’s wellbeing and belonging. It also noted that the centre received good levels of support from the Association. Areas for further development at that time included improving self-review, and adult training levels and linking planning to children’s next learning steps. Membership had dwindled in recent years, but is now rebuilding. More experienced members are supporting new families to settle into the Playcentre.

This review was part of a cluster of four Playcentre reviews in the Northland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

A cohesive, core group of centre members has established good strategies for welcoming and supporting new families. Through fundraising, events and local networking, they have worked together well to raise Playcentre’s positive profile in the community. There is a sense of family and community, and children have a sense of belonging in the centre.

The Playcentre philosophy of children and their whānau learning together is reflected in the centre. Child-initiated play is well supported by attentive adults who share responsibility for children’s learning programmes. Whānau continue to build their confidence with implementing bicultural practices and include some aspects of other community cultures. Te Roopu Whakaaro Kotahi is being re-established to support whānau Māori in the Association.

Children play independently and cooperatively and communicate confidently with adults. There are good levels of conversation amongst children and adults often extend these conversations to promote further thinking as children play. Infants and toddlers are supported and encouraged to freely explore the environment alongside older children. Whānau have made specific provision for infants in a quiet indoor area.

The learning environments for children are spacious and well resourced. Features in the outdoors are the garden areas and big, easily climbable trees that provide ample shade. A large, covered area provides extended space for children’s activities in all weathers.

Children have good opportunities to explore, experiment and solve problems. Aspects of literacy, science and mathematics are included naturally in children’s play. Whānau actively promote physical activity and challenge as a feature of programmes. Children’s achievements are recognised and celebrated.

Whānau have established a variety of ways to record children’s individual strengths, preferences, and involvement in learning programmes. A daybook is used well to record what adults notice about children’s play and their interests, and to identify next steps to support learning. Individual children’s portfolios provide worthwhile records of their time at the centre.

Whānau are able to contribute to decisions at regular meetings and share responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the centre. They are supported by an Association centre support worker and a kaiawhina who helps whānau to implement bicultural practices in the programme.

Centre members are developing self-review processes that help them to reflect on the ways that they foster and celebrate children’s learning. An upcoming workshop for whānau should help them to strengthen their self review and could support a review of strategies for integrating literacy and mathematics more deliberately in children’s play activities.

The Northland Playcentre Association supports centres well. The board of management communicates effectively and has responded positively to the need for flexible options in the parent education programme. Centre support workers tailor their support hours and focus to match centre needs. They are keen to further enhance the effectiveness of their centre visits. The Association has embraced the imminent restructuring of the national Playcentre body and is preparing centres well for the impending changes.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that key next steps that will support centre progress and sustainability, include:

  • refining self-review processes to help whānau to continue improving provision for their children’s learning

  • aligning strategic goals and plans with the centre’s philosophy and annual plan, and with the Licensing Criteria for early childhood services, to better guide ongoing development in each area

  • continuing to seek ways to refine assessment, planning and evaluation so that systems are manageable and support ongoing improvements for children

  • recording individual children’s development and learning progress more specifically in their portfolios

  • continuing to strengthen bicultural practices and exploring further ways to include families' diverse cultural backgrounds and home languages.


ERO recommends that the Association and or the new regional manager and officers consider ways to strengthen the formative and evaluative nature of centre support workers’ visits and reports in order to:

  • provide greater assurance about the quality of support for children’s learning

  • establish the effectiveness and impact of the personnel who are employed to support centres

  • ensure that self-review processes provide clear guidance for centre office holders and support the continuity and sustainability of centre operations

  • provide targeted support for centre members to establish effective strategic and annual planning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

17 June 2016

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


Ngunguru, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

21 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 14 Boys 8

Ethnic composition











Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

17 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2012

Education Review

May 2009

Education Review

May 2006

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.