Waipu Playcentre - 22/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Waipu Playcentre

How well placed is Waipu 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.


Waipu Playcentre is an established semi-rural centre that operates as a parent cooperative. Centre practices are based on the Playcentre philosophy of families learning and growing together, and supporting children to become independent learners. It is open for three sessions each week.

Since the 2013 review the centre has gone through a significant change in membership and leadership. Most members are new to the centre and have willingly taken on leadership roles. Many members have completed Course 1 and 2 and are moving onto Course 3 in the Playcentre adult education programme.

The centre is part of the Northland Playcentre Association. The Association is the umbrella organisation for 22 centres in Northland, many of which are semi-rural. The Association provides systems to help members manage their centres and support their children's learning. It also provides adult education programmes for Playcentre qualifications. As part of a current Playcentre Aotearoa national restructure there will be a new regional manager and new centre support roles.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Northern Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children play in a family oriented environment where they feel safe to grow in confidence and capability. When left to their own play, children choose where they want to be and are comfortable to seek out their favourite activities in this well resourced and spacious centre.

Parents/whānau focus on the active participation of children and the development of social skills. They are responsive to children's needs and play with children in group activities that tend to be adult led. It is timely to adjust the focus of activities towards more child-led personalised play. More emphasis could be placed on children following their own interests and strengths with adults in a support role. This strategy is more aligned to helping children to develop independence.

Centre members are accepting, inclusive and supportive of each other's cultures and identities. Bicultural perspectives are strongly integrated into learning experiences. Adults' strengths are used well to enhance programmes for children.

Centre members are developing consultative and transparent internal evaluation systems so that they can make informed decisions about areas that need improvement. A recent review has resulted in a bike track being added to the children's outdoor play area.

Committee members are committed to the success of the centre. They are clear about their roles and welcome other members to join them as they feel ready. Parents/whānau are encouraged to take leadership roles and to share their wide range of strengths and talents. More experienced centre members support others to develop in their role as educators. Continuing education and training for all parents is an ongoing priority.

The Association management team takes responsibility for specific tasks relating to the efficient operation of Playcentres. They actively foster emergent leadership to sustain the Association and centre viability. The Association provides good support to help Playcentres remain well placed to provide positive learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre members recognise that the key next steps to develop their centre include:

  • developing the programme so that children have more opportunities to lead their play
  • continuing to develop assessment portfolios that focus on the individual child's learning journey.

To help strengthen operations in all Northland centres, new regional support personnel should consider ways to:

  • determine the best strategies to encourage centre members to take greater responsibility for all aspects of centre operations, including assessment, programme planning and evaluation
  • continue to increase emphasis on and financial support for the Kaiāwhina role in supporting centre members' bicultural understanding and proficiency
  • strengthen members' understanding of the need for succession planning and close alignment between strategic and annual plans for ongoing improvement, as well as operational plans for day-to-day management and maintenance
  • support centre members to recognise their role as facilitators of children's learning, social competence and independence. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Steffan Brough
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

22 May 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 


Waipu, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       10
Boys        9

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

22 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

December 2013

Education Review

December 2010

Education Review

September 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.