Weston Playcentre - 21/08/2017

1 Evaluation of Weston Playcentre

How well placed is Weston 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.


Weston Playcentre is a semi-rural playcentre, licensed for 25 children. It provides four morning sessions each week for children aged from birth up to school age. Families attend from nearby Oamaru or surrounding farming communities. The sessions are led by a supervision team with playcentre qualifications.

Weston Playcentre is one of 25 within the Otago Playcentre Association (OPA). The association comprises a core group of dedicated paid and elected members. To support members it provides a framework for management and operations, parent-education programmes and personnel.

The OPA is experiencing a time of change as all playcentre associations throughout New Zealand merge with the New Zealand Playcentre Association (NZPF) to reduce duplication and make cost savings. The restructure is resulting in significant changes at an association level.

Since the 2013 ERO report of Weston Playcentre, the supervision team have made good progress in key identified areas, particularly in improving planning, assessment and evaluation systems for individual children.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentre reviews in the OPA.

The Review Findings

Children and adults show a strong sense of belonging to the Weston Playcentre community. This sense of belonging, and the respectful, positive relationships they have with one another, are contributing to positive outcomes for children. Supervisors and parents nurture children's sense of belonging and help them to be in engaged and sustained in their play by providing:

  • familiar routines

  • opportunities to make links to the wider community

  • support to develop friendships.

Children experience enriched bicultural programmes and practices. Supervisors and parents provide planned experiences for children to celebrate significant events such as Mātariki, and use te reo Māori. This supports Māori children to know their language and culture is valued. Supervisors and parents have created an environment where the diverse cultures within the playcentre are acknowledged and valued.

Children experience a varied programme that is based on the principles and strands of Te Whāriki (the early childhood curriculum). Supervisors and parents are intentional in the way they extend children's learning. Children have many opportunities to explore and learn about the natural world. Adults support the learning and wellbeing of infants and toddlers through responsive and nurturing relationships.

The playcentre's philosophy shows parents' values and beliefs. Supervisors and parents have clear ideas about what they believe and what they want for their children's learning. When the philosophy is next reviewed it should include these desired outcomes for learning and their commitment to the bicultural heritage of New Zealand.

Supervisors and parents have developed a useful system for planning, assessment and evaluating for individual children. Supervisors support parents to contribute to their own children's learning goals and assessment of learning. The next step for supervisors and parents is to strengthen documentation of learning to consistently show:

  • through the learning stories, the progress children are making

  • how well the planned strategies and experiences have supported the intended learning.

Group planning needs to be improved. To be more effective, the intended learning needs to be more specific to guide the adults when planning the strategies and experiences. Adults then need to evaluate how well the planned strategies and experiences have supported the learning.

The Weston Playcentre parent council has useful systems that ensure the smooth running of the playcentre. These include; clearly defined roles and responsibilities and ongoing monitoring of the playcentre operations.

Supervisors and parents use internal evaluation well to make improvements to centre operations and teaching and learning. Internal evaluation needs to be further strengthened by ensuring evaluative questions are used to guide the evaluation of programmes and practices. Adults should ensure their practice is guided by the most recent OPA policies and procedures.

There are high levels of parent involvement in the day-to-day programme and life of the playcentre. The parent council is responsive to community needs, focuses on roll growth and ongoing sustainability. 

The playcentre benefits from ongoing support from the OPA. Centre advisors use internal evaluation effectively to monitor how well centres are promoting positive outcomes for children. They identify the strengths and areas for support for each playcentre and report to the OPA. The OPA ensures that decisions are made about strategies to further support the playcentre. Regular appraisals are carried out, however the appraisal process needs to be further developed to be effective. The OPA is achieving its strategic goal of increasing the number of parents who participate in playcentre training to ensure ongoing sustainability. The OPA regularly monitor progress towards the strategic goals and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies they use.

Key Next Steps

The playcentre supervisors and parents with the support of the OPA need to:

  • review the playcentre philosophy

  • strengthen individual and group planning

  • further develop their use of effective internal evaluation.

A key next step for the OPA is to ensure:

  • the appraisal system continues to be developed and embedded.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Weston 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 OPA should ensure playcentre members use the most recent OPA policies and procedures to guide their practice. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

21 August 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 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 22

Boys: 18

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent led

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

21 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

January 2013

Education Review

August 2009

Education Review

March 2006

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.