Waikanae Playcentre - 12/07/2017

1 Evaluation of Waikanae Playcentre

How well placed is Waikanae 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.


Waikanae Playcentre is one of 19 parent-led early childhood centres governed and administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). The playcentre is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 30 children, five mornings a week. This includes provision for 18 children, up to the age of two.

A council of elected volunteer representatives from each of the association's member centres, oversees the association at the governance level. This work is assisted by an operations manager and general manager. An executive committee administers the adult education programme. A centre support worker is employed to visit the centre and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for the day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders.

Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Sessions are supported by a duty team of parent educators who hold playcentre training certificates. Many centre members are involved in the association's training programme. Parents come with a wide range of tertiary qualifications and are actively involved in their child's education.

The association philosophy, 'Whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together', is articulated as empowering parents and children to learn, grow and play together. This underpins practice and was reaffirmed by the association and Waikanae Playcentre in 2016.

The service and the association responded positively to the areas identified for improvement in the April 2014 ERO report. Internal evaluation and strategic planning were undertaken by association personnel to bring about changes to both the structural and organisational culture of the organisation. Clear boundaries between governance and management were expressed and changes made to improve support to individual centres.

The previous ERO report also identified that centre leaders would benefit from association support to: deepen their understanding of learners with diverse needs; implement a more bicultural perspective in the learning programme; and strengthen their approach to assessment, planning and evaluation.

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

This review was part of a cluster of ten reviews in the Wellington Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Programmes for children are clearly aligned to Te Whāriki and responsive to child-led initiatives. Parent educators work collaboratively to provide a welcoming, inclusive learning environment for children and families. Adults recognise the importance of developing positive relationships with each other and knowing all children well.

Parent educators' teamwork and collective responsiveness effectively supports children's learning and progress. Professional development has led to educators making assessment, planning and evaluation more visible for learners and adults. Wall displays and daily recording on a white board provide opportunities for parents to discuss and revisit children's progress.

Session and term evaluations further inform parents' understanding of children's strengths and interests. Individual learning portfolios celebrate and demonstrate their developing skills, knowledge, learning and development well. These processes contribute positively to continuity of learning for all children.

Children confidently engage in learning and make decisions about their involvement and participation. Aspects of literacy and mathematics are meaningfully incorporated in the curriculum. Flexible routines support children's sustained and purposeful play. Learners are well supported by adults who engage them in conversations that promote language development, exploration, thinking and problem solving.

Children with additional needs are very well supported and included in centre-wide programmes. Infants' and toddlers' independence, exploration, persistence and self-challenge are successfully encouraged. They are celebrated and affirmed.

Thoughtfully considered strategies support children and their families’ induction into the centre. Children’s transitions to school are acknowledged and celebrated. Parent educators continue to consider ways to share information so that children’s confidence and capability at playcentre transfers to the new entrant classrooms.

The redevelopment of the outdoor area has resulted in a challenging and inviting outdoor environment. Internal evaluation to measure the impact of the initiative continues. Adults have now increased their confidence in using the space and equipment to their potential. Children lead their own learning, group experiences or enjoy peaceful spaces in the thoughtfully organised learning environment.

A deliberate commitment to improving a shared understanding of internal evaluation amongst parent educators is evident. Spontaneous review is used to reflect on aspects of practice. The centre's internal evaluation effectively guides development. Planned evaluation priorities are aligned to the association's vision and clearly positioned to improve teaching and learning outcomes for children.

A comprehensive internal evaluation was undertaken, during 2014. This was to discover how well the association and centres included te reo me ngā tikanga Māori as part of a culturally responsive curriculum.

At Waikanae Playcentre, te ao Māori continues to be an integral part of children's early learning experience. Appropriate resources, displays and practices that reflect te ao Māori, support children to develop knowledge and understanding of their bicultural heritage. Parents are committed to further developing their practice to continue to support Māori children to achieve success as Māori. Children’s cultural identity is acknowledged and celebrated.

Waikanae Playcentre members are a diverse group of enthusiastic parents and whānau who bring valuable skills and knowledge to their roles. The high levels of involvement of the centre's community and a sense of collective responsibility to children, provide a positive platform for learning. Effective systems support the smooth day-to-day running of the playcentre.

The association is an improvement focused organisation. The 2014 ERO reviews found the support provided at the centre level by association support workers was appreciated. ERO also recognised that formalising this arrangement to provide a more effective approach to responding to the needs of individual centres was a next step for development.

The association, as part of reviewing its structural organisation, looked at the position of centre support workers and made improvements to human resource management. Timely and relevant leadership and guidance is provided for its member centres.

Key Next Steps

Association and centre leaders should continue to improve outcomes for children and families by using internal evaluation effectively to ensure the very good practice occurring is sustained, and prioritised developments are achieved.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Waikanae 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management. 

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 Waikanae Playcentre will be in four years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

12 July 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 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 16, Girls 12

Ethnic composition

North American
Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

12 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

November 2010

Education Review

November 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.