Waimauku Playcentre - 30/10/2015

1. Evaluation of Waimauku Playcentre

How well placed is Waimauku 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.


Waimauku Playcentre is a family cooperative and is licensed for 30 children, including 15 up to the age of two years. It is a large spacious centre in a semi-rural setting and has operated for the past 40 years. The Playcentre philosophy of whānau and children learning together guides centre practices. Whānau value the way that Playcentre promotes social opportunities for children and families.

The centre is part of Te Akoranga Playcentre Association, which provides Playcentre’s adult education programme, frameworks of policies and procedures, and support personnel. The centre’s representatives at Association level support and guide the centre’s bicultural practices. Currently the national Playcentre organisation is in the process of a comprehensive restructure. This is likely to change the current structure of Te Akoranga Playcentre Association.

The centre provides a variety of session times in response to families’ preferences. The ‘Big Kids’ session is led by two paid supervisors and a parent. Other sessions are parent led. The centre is used for adult education sessions attended by trainees from across the Association. Recent self review has focused on and resulted in improvements to, the welcoming and settling in process for new families and on identifying new ideas for making the playcentre more manageable for busy families. A recent extension of the time allocated to the Big Kids sessions provides older children with a more indepth learning programme as they prepare to transition to school.

The 2012 ERO report noted many areas of good practice including a commitment to Playcentre training, and positive support for younger children. Since 2012 centre members have introduced sessions to specifically support younger children, and other sessions that focus on helping older children to prepare for school.

This review was part of a cluster of five playcentre reviews in the Te Akoranga Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The centre is welcoming and inclusive. Children, with their parents/whānau, enjoy a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing in the centre. They have continual opportunities to lead their own learning and are supported by responsive adults. Children confidently talk about their play interests. They play well together in mixed age groups and demonstrate tuakana/teina relationships, where older and younger children interact and support each other.

Since ERO’s 2012 report, members have worked hard to complete stage one of a comprehensive upgrade of the outdoor environment. The large spaces invite children to select from a wide range of indoor and outdoor learning experiences. Adults provide well for children’s creative, imaginative and physical play.

A broad selection of learning areas including science, music, family play and woodwork are available and easily accessed by children of all ages. The centre’s displays promote the value of te reo Māori, literacy and mathematics. There are well resourced areas for administration, equipment storage, and quieter spaces for children to explore and play in.

Parents/whānau work well together to gain consensus for all decision making around the programme and management of the centre. They understand the purpose of self review and actively participate in evaluating the quality of sessions and centre practices.

Parents/whānau are highly responsive to children’s interests, strengths and needs. They enjoy actively participating in their children’s learning experiences and recording these in individual learning portfolios.

Parents/whānau and children enthusiastically participate in te reo and tikanga Māori, including karakia and waiata. Māori whānau actively support other parents to promote a bicultural curriculum. They ensure that local hapū knowledge is shared and understood. Some share their skills with the Association.

The curriculum aligns Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, and Kei Tua O te Paei, the an early childhood assessment model. Adults regularly record observations of children’s learning. Programmes include trips and excursions. The end-of-session evaluations are well documented. They are used to inform future planning and extension activities relevant to children’s emerging interests.

The centre is well lead by a core of committed and long-serving parents and grandparents who provide role models for newer members and emerging leaders. The Association’s support has guided the centre’s strategic decisions. Centre members participate in a wide selection of learning opportunities available to them. Workshops have challenged and informed their theories of how children learn through play. Centre members use robust and consultative self-review processes to guide relevant changes.

Key Next Steps

The Association leaders and centre members agree that key next steps include:

  • building centre members’ knowledge about Auckland’s diverse cultures and increase their capacity to respond to this diversity
  • formalising a strategic plan that documents this centre’s strategic priorities as a guide for future centre members.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Waimauku 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 Waimauku Playcentre will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 October 2015

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


Waimauku, Auckland

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 16

Boys 15

Ethnic composition





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

30 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012


Education Review

September 2009


Education Review

March 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.