West Melton Playcentre - 10/11/2014

1. Evaluation of West Melton Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


This playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative. Parents are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the programme and centre operation.

West Melton Playcentre has four morning sessions a week. It provides a mixed-age group programme where younger children play and learn alongside their siblings and older children.

The centre has made good progress towards addressing the recommendations from the 2012 ERO report with the help of external professional support and the association. This includes building on planning and assessment practices to increasingly make the children’s learning more visible. Self review is an area that is now well led by a number of playcentre parents. They are encouraging newer members of the parent group to develop these understandings and skills.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 playcentre reviews in the Canterbury Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The playcentre philosophy of parents and children learning together through play is highly evident in practice. Parents and children are warmly welcomed and well supported to become part of the playcentre community. Positive relationships are actively promoted and fostered between adults and children. ERO observed adults working cooperatively, and children caring for one another and playing well together.

The learning programme is a child-led, play-based programme that values children’s opinions and preferences. Adults notice and follow children’s interests. They help children to develop their oral language skills so that they are able to express and build on their ideas. Infants and toddlers are well included in all aspects of the centre programme.

ERO observed children who were comfortable and confident to freely explore and make their own choices, demonstrating a good sense of belonging. Adults and children were enjoying each other’s company and having fun together.

The playcentre is well resourced and provides a wide range of interesting learning experiences. Literacy and mathematics learning is well integrated into children’s play. The playcentre has a close link with the local school. This connection supports a positive transition for children and families.

The playcentre is well led and managed by an enthusiastic and dedicated group of parents. These parents model effective learning interactions that support children's learning and wellbeing. The parent group is reflective and focused on ongoing improvement. This helps new parents to make a valued contribution to the ongoing life of the playcentre.

Key Next Steps

The parent group has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps are to continue to:

  • strengthen all parents’ ability to identify and plan for children’s learning
  • develop bicultural understandings and centre practices
  • support and build the capability of new parents to sustain the playcentre into the future.

Canterbury Playcentre Association

This is the third cluster review of a number of playcentres that ERO has undertaken in collaboration with the association. Each of the previous cluster reviews have identified emerging strengths from all playcentres reviewed. This process has resulted in key next steps for the association to further support playcentres to improve learning outcomes for children.

The association has made some good progress in addressing the recommendations from the previous two cluster reviews. This includes:

  • supporting children’s transitions to school
  • re-establishing the centre managers’ appraisal system
  • improving feedback from the centre support team to parent groups about the quality of teaching and learning.

Further work is required to develop a stronger understanding of the government’s focus on priority learners so that the association can better support parent groups to respond to these children.

There continues to be significant change occurring in the structure of governance and management at association and federation levels. This has had a major impact on the association’s positive response to ERO’s recommendation from the previous cluster review, to document future planning.

Key Next Steps for the Canterbury Playcentre Association

During this cluster review the association has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps for the association include:

  • helping parent groups more effectively sustain the developments in bicultural practices and strengthening the focus on Māori achieving success as Māori
  • reviewing assessment and planning processes to help adults identify children’s learning and the ways that adults can help children with their learning
  • developing a clear understanding of the process of strategic planning at association level and sharing this with parent groups
  • continuing to support and grow emergent leaders in playcentres.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

10 November 2014

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 Melton, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

23 children, including up to 8 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 15; Girls 13

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Reported ratios of adult to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

10 November 2014

Most recent ERO reports

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

March 2012


Education Review

May 2008


Accountability Review

June 2004

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.