Wainuiomata Playcentre - 21/09/2018

1 Evaluation of Wainuiomata Playcentre

How well placed is Wainuiomata 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.


Wainuiomata Playcentre is one of 17 early learning services set up by the Hutt Playcentre Association (the association). It operates for three, three-hour sessions each week and is licensed for 30 children, including 15 aged up to two years. Of the 18 children enrolled, six are Māori and two identify as Pacific.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation (the federation) is undergoing a significant restructure that includes amalgamating associations nationwide into one organisation, Playcentre Aotearoa. Hutt playcentres are now managed as part of a regional hub of the new organisation.

A centre support worker (CSW), currently employed by the federation regularly visits the centre and provides professional advice and feedback to strengthen the programme for children. A centre administrator works with members to support compliance with regulations. Responsibility for dayto-day management is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Parents share the responsibility for implementing the programme. Paid supervisors lead the group team to run daily sessions.

Playcentre philosophy recognises the importance of parents working together, alongside their children, to support their self-initiated play and promote their learning.

The June 2016 ERO report found significant development was needed to improve outcomes for children. Key next steps included: strengthening members' understanding of Playcentre philosophy and expectations; planning for learning and centre development; and internal evaluation. The association was required to: implement rigorous appraisal; provide professional learning and development opportunities for the CSW and paid supervisors; and support the CSW's capability to provide evaluative feedback to members to improve their practice. Non-compliance was identified in relation to governance and management and curriculum.

Since that time, the teaching team has received targeted support through a Ministry of Education funded programme, Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO). Good progress has been made in developing the quality of practice and operation.

The Review Findings

Work has been undertaken to support members’ understanding of Playcentre philosophy and expectations for their involvement in the organisation. Although low roll numbers remain a concern, a core group of highly committed members effectively share management roles, encouraging and supporting each other. Since the previous ERO review, a new centre philosophy has been developed that has promoted a stronger sense of belonging in this learning community. A new induction process is in place to support families to transition into the centre.

A wide variety of high-quality resources and learning materials is freely available for children to access. The outdoor area supports a range of physically active and exploratory play. Children enjoy the learning opportunities provided.

Adults are responsive and respectful in supporting children's play and learning. The diversity of the community is acknowledged in aspects of the programme. This provides a suitable context for promoting children's social learning and should continue to be a focus for development.

Bicultural partnership is actively promoted. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are valued parts of the programme. A bilingual session is offered each week. This is an authentic and meaningful approach to integrating the language and protocols. A relationship is in place with the local marae. Members agree they should continue to extend their understanding of success for Māori children as Māori.

Infants and toddlers are valued and nurtured by all. They are comfortable and happy in the playcentre environment. Tuakana teina (older children supporting younger) is encouraged and evident. A well-resourced play space is available specifically for infants who are not yet mobile.

A positive relationship exists with the primary school that shares the site. Members are keen to develop a relationship with other schools in the area to better support the transition of older children as they move on from playcentre.

Support for members’ participation in a more meaningful and responsive approach to planning and implementing the programme has had a positive impact. Collective discussions about individual children are a regular part of practice with more members now actively contributing. Children display strong ownership of their profile books that record special learning moments. To further strengthen the approach members should ensure:

  • alignment between displayed child information and that gathered at planning meetings

  • the focus stays on identifying individual children’s significant learning and interests as a basis for planning their learning

  • profile books record how children's learning is being progressed

  • children's learning linked to the bilingual programme is planned and recorded

  • members’ preparedness to implement the revised early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki is encouraged and supported.

The CSW provides regular and valued feedback to support members to implement a suitable learning programme for children. Regular discussions and reporting promote reflection on practice and the collaborative development of new ideas.

A useful appraisal process is now in place for supervisors that includes feedback from members about their strengths and areas of practice requiring development. Consideration should be given to identifying development goals linked to implementation of the revised Te Whāriki.

An annual plan is now in place that outlines management tasks to be completed over the year. Strategic goals and actions have recently been identified linked to improving outcomes for children.

Review is ongoing and resulting in improvement to aspects of practice and operation. A next step is for members to adopt a more evaluative framework to support decision making about change and development. The federation has established clear expectations for the CSW role, including building effective internal evaluation practice at centre level.

Key Next Steps

Members agree they should work with the CSW to continue to strengthen:

  • their approach to planning for children's learning

  • shared understanding and use of internal evaluation

  • understanding of success for Māori children as Māori.

At federation level, priorities are to continue to strengthen:

  • the new centre support process through effective evaluation

  • CSW appraisal and targeted professional development opportunities

  • CSW understanding of effective internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wainuiomata 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.

To improve current practice, the service provider should:

  • ensure that policy guidelines are collated and kept up-to-date in the policy file.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Wainuiomata Playcentre will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

21 September 2018

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


Lower Hutt

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

Boys 11, Girls 7

Ethnic composition

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

August 2018

Date of this report

21 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

Education Review

September 2013

Education Review

August 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 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.