Wallaceville Playcentre - 11/09/2013

1 Evaluation of Wallaceville Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

While many members are new to management roles, their collective commitment, well considered forward planning and strong support from the Hutt Playcentre Association (the association) positions them well to improve and sustain good practice.

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


Wallaceville Playcentre is one of 18 administered by the association. Bicultural partnership is integral to the way the association operates. An executive committee provides guidance and support for centre members. This includes leadership for strategic planning, financial management and policy development, and for decisions related to the education programme, property and equipment. A kaitautoko, a centre support person, employed by the association, visits and provides professional advice, feedback and role modelling to strengthen practice and promote improvement. The recently commenced review of the association’s structure, supported by an external consultant, is aimed at improving operation and ensuring the sustainability of playcentres.

Four mixed-age sessions per week are offered. These are entirely supervised by centre members. A large proportion of the children attending during this review were infants and toddlers. The philosophy highlights the importance of child-directed play and adult education, consensus management and tuakana teina relationships.

An ongoing challenge is the high turnover of members and retention of older children. Recent new members show high levels of commitment to gaining Playcentre training certificates and to ongoing professional development.

This year the centre celebrates 60 years in operation. It was relicensed in February 2013 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. A plan is in place for the redevelopment of the outdoor area. It has a positive reporting history with ERO.

This review was part of a cluster of nine playcentre reviews in the Hutt Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The spacious playcentre environment effectively supports children’s developing confidence as learners. Members maintain a wide variety of high quality resources and learning materials which are freely available for children. Activities and equipment are adapted to encourage the participation of all age groups. The outdoor area supports a variety of physical and exploratory play. Children enjoy the learning opportunities provided and display a strong sense of belonging at playcentre.

Adults’ interactions are responsive, respectful and friendly. They get alongside and involved in children’s play. Self-management is encouraged and supported. Many children sustain their interest and involvement in play for long periods of time. They are generally cooperative, friendly and are comfortable working with adults and peers.

Infants and toddlers are valued and nurtured by all. They are settled and well supported in the playcentre environment. Parents help each other to care for babies and to play alongside older children wanting to explore.

The programme strongly reflects members’ belief in children learning through play and real-life contexts. Centre routines are used well as social and language learning times. Literacy and numeracy are appropriately integrated into the activities.

Centre practices reflect the association’s commitment to bicultural partnership. Māori values are evident in everyday practice and routines. Te reo Māori is used in meaningful ways within the programme. Some members share their expertise to support the understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

Members regularly observe, recount and record stories about individual children. Best examples of profile books are well presented and illustrate many aspects of children's participation and learning at playcentre. The daily team’s in-depth discussions and sharing of information helps in decisions about further planning. All parents are encouraged to recognise learning linked to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and to participate in planning the programme.

Members are reviewing and developing their approach to planning for learning. They have identified that they need to be more actively involved in writing observations, identifying and recording next learning steps and encouraging children’s ideas in planning. Recent professional development has resulted in an increased focus on identifying aspects of children’s learning linked to Te Whāriki.

The friendly, supportive culture and well developed communication foster parents’ confidence and willingness to become involved. Adults take pride in being part of a learning community alongside their children. They work collaboratively and bring a wide range of expertise and life skills to their roles. Families display a strong sense of belonging and commitment to Playcentre philosophy.

Members are improvement focused. A carefully considered, consultative process has led to the development of a strategic plan that provides clear direction for the future. An annual plan outlines actions to achieve specific goals and progress is monitored. Researching aspects of quality, linked to action points on the annual plan should help ensure decision-making about priorities is sound.

The kaitautoko provides regular and valued feedback to support members in their roles. A more formalised approach focused on developing particular skills and knowledge should strengthen reflection on practice over time.

The association has a pro-active approach to governance. It effectively works alongside members to support self management. Self review is strongly promoted. Association systems and processes help to ensure that legislative requirements are met, good practice is sustained and improvement is promoted.

Key Next Steps

Further development is needed to strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation practices, particularly in relation to :

  • focusing more on identifying significant aspects of individual children's learning in profile books and daily evaluations
  • showing progressions of learning in profile books
  • giving children improved access to their profiles and photographs to promote opportunities for them to independently reflect on their learning and past experiences at playcentre
  • continuing to encourage the participation of all members in planning for learning.

Members should further develop their understanding and use of evaluative self review. This should include working through the association self-review resources.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

11 September 2013

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


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including 15 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 19, Girls 18

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


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

June 2013

Date of this report

11 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2009


Education Review

July 2006


Education Review

October 2003

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.