West Harbour Playcentre - 31/01/2019

1 Evaluation of West Harbour Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

West Harbour Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


West Harbour Playcentre operates as a parent cooperative and is licensed for 30 children, including 15 under the age of two years.

Programmes for children are underpinned by the Playcentre philosophy of parents and children playing and learning together. The vision of West Harbour Playcentre members is to affirm parents as the first and best educators of their children. They aim to empower children and adults to play, learn and grow together. Te Tiriti o Waitangi is acknowledged as a guiding document and the diversity of their Playcentre whānau is valued.

The centre is part of the newly established Northern North Island Playcentre Region. Regional systems support centre members to manage their centres and to provide educational programmes for their children. Playcentre personnel also provide adult education programmes for parents/whānau to achieve Playcentre qualifications.

ERO's 2015 report identified areas for development that included the levels of adult education, internal evaluation, the programme for infants and toddlers and bicultural practices. Centre members have responded positively and worked towards strengthening these aspects of practice.

This review was part of a cluster of 12 reviews in the Northern North Island Playcentre region.

The Review Findings

Children lead the programme. They choose freely from a good range of easily accessible resources and quickly settle in to their play. Children confidently talk with adults about their ideas, or to request a revisit of a favoured experience or activity. They are relaxed, independent, and show a strong sense of belonging in the Playcentre environment.

Infants and toddlers are well integrated into the daily programme. All children benefit from the mixed-age setting where there are plentiful opportunities for them to be leaders or followers and to nurture each other.

Centre members enact the Playcentre philosophy well. Their interactions with children and each other are positive and collaborative. They provide good role models to support children's language development and social competence. Te reo and tikanga Māori are evident in conversations and centre routines. Centre members could now focus on how the diverse cultures of their Playcentre whānau might be more visibly woven through the programme.

Good indoor/outdoor flow provides children with opportunities to engage in physical and sensory play, or to engage in quieter play by themselves or in small groups. Adults provide meaningful opportunities for children to engage with print and to develop a love of books and storytelling.

Children's portfolios are good records of their learning. They foreground learning dispositions, identify learning that is happening and include useful links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Parents/whānau are trialling new and innovative ways of planning their programme. They are reflective and increasingly focused on how they could bring more complexity to the learning they have identified through their observations of children.

A distributed leadership model is evident in action. Good levels of participation in Playcentre adult education are building whānau knowledge of effective ways to support children's learning through play. An improvement-focused strategic plan has been developed. The annual plan could be strengthened with the inclusion of improvement-focused action plans linking to the strategic direction. Centre members choose relevant topics for internal evaluation.

The regional structure is replacing individual Playcentre Associations. Newly appointed regional personnel are making good progress building on existing systems and establishing effective regional management structures for supporting centres. Centre support workers are guided by regional centre support coordinators. Systems are being developed for monitoring the quality of programmes for children, adult education levels, and health and safety requirements.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps for centre improvement include:

  • strengthening the evaluative aspect of internal evaluation

  • strengthening alignment between strategic and annual plans to better support the achievement of strategic goals over time

  • continuing to develop programme planning processes to promote children's more complex thinking and learning

  • continuing to strengthen centre members' knowledge and use of te reo, tikanga and te ao Māori.

The Northern North Island Playcentre regional manager (acting) and support personnel agree that key next steps include:

  • implementing and embedding the revised Playcentre adult education programme

  • establishing a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of centre support systems, roles and processes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

31 January 2019

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


West Harbour, 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

Boys 15 Girls 8

Ethnic composition

other ethnic groups


Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

31 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2015

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

May 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.