Waihi Beach Playcentre - 29/06/2020

1 Evaluation of Waihi Beach Playcentre

How well placed is Waihi Beach Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Waihi Beach Playcentre is not well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Waihi Beach Playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 25 children two days a week, including 12 children up to the age of two.

The Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy, ‘whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together’, is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. The Waihi Beach Playcentre philosophy is 'to provide a relaxed and welcoming child-led environment where whānau are supported and encouraged to grow, learn and have fun together'.

Since the April 2016 ERO report, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation has restructured by amalgamating all associations to form Playcentre Aotearoa. Waihi Beach Playcentre is part of the Central North Island Region and is supported by a regional manager and support persons.

Whānau and families share responsibility for the curriculum. Day-to-day operation is undertaken by session support personnel and centre-elected office holders. A centre support worker (CSW) and centre administrator visit playcentres to provide professional support, strengthen practice and promote improvement. The centre has made some progress in addressing the next steps identified in the previous ERO report in relation to planning, evaluation and te ao Māori. The area identified for attention in the compliance section, about checks and assuring the safety and wellbeing of children, has not yet been suitably addressed.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews in the Central North Island Region of Playcentre Aotearoa.

The Review Findings

Systems and procedures that promote children's health and safety are not effectively implemented. While onsite ERO observed significant aspects of the physical environment that posed a risk to the safety of children. These aspects include multiple hazards in the outdoor environment and to a lesser extent indoors.

Relationships among members are collaborative and a sense of community is evident across the centre. The indoor environment provides opportunities for children to choose and experiment with wide range of resources and equipment. New Zealand's bicultural partnership is affirmed in the centre with resources, displays and commitment among members to continue to focus on building their capability. Progress has been made in developing strategic planning and internal review processes. Spontaneous, planned and strategic review is now contributing to ongoing improvements to some aspects of the centre programme.

The revised parent education programme is becoming more accessible to centre members. At this playcentre a several experienced members have recently moved on and current members are accessing a range of relevant training. Changes to the national qualification structure have however resulted in a slower uptake of training. Consequently, a paid supervisor is currently working on session alongside parent members. Appraisal processes for session support staff have recently been strengthened to better evaluate performance in relation to specific roles and responsibilities, identify professional learning and development needs and focus on achievement of goals.

Under the new Playcentre Aotearoa structure, centres are supported by a centre support worker (CSW) and centre administrator. The Waihi Beach service was without a centre administrator from mid-2018 to April 2019, and without a CSW from mid-2018 to October 2019. This situation has impacted progress across a range of centre operation. The recent appointment of a new CSW is beginning to improve reporting structures and assist with centre support and development. It is now important that these systems and practices become established, embedded and regularly reviewed to prioritise positive outcomes for children.

The national restructuring process continues to require significant attention and support to implement an extensive range of systems and processes. Regular communication from Playcentre Aotearoa seeks to keep parents informed of progress, changes and upcoming requirements. National policies and procedures have recently been introduced and parents are in the process of aligning practices to these. Ongoing support is required to enable parents to understand and implement these procedures to meet licensing requirements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Waihi Beach 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO found significant areas of non-compliance in the service related to the provision of health and safety provisions and a suitable physical environment. These relate to:

  • fixtures and equipment that could fall or topple and cause serious injury or damage are secured

  • an outdoor environment that is safe and suitable for use, in particular the materials and construction of the 'Whare' outdoor playhouse

  • the identification of material, equipment and fittings to be kept safe, hygienic and maintained in good condition at all times

  • daily hazard checking, including but not limited to poisonous plants, the condition and placement of learning, play and other equipment and bodies of water

  • design and layout of the premises supporting effective adult supervision so that children’s access to the licensed space (indoor and outdoor) is not unnecessarily limited

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS1, HS6, HS12, PF1] [Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, Regulation 46]

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends that the Ministry reassess the licence of Waihi Beach Playcentre. ERO will not undertake a further education review of this service until the Ministry of Education is satisfied that the service meets licensing requirements.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

29 June 2020

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


Waihi Beach

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Female 14 Male 11

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


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

February 2020

Date of this report

29 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2016

Education Review

January 2013

Education Review

November 2009

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.