Whangamata Playcentre - 13/10/2016

1 Evaluation of Whangamata Playcentre

How well placed is Whangamata 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.


Whangamata Playcentre is a sessional centre providing education and care for children from birth to school age. The centre is a parent cooperative and is licensed for 25 children, including up to 12 under two years of age. At the time of this ERO review, 20 children were enrolled, including five who identify as Māori. Members are committed to providing a fun and friendly place for both children and caregivers.

Whangamata Playcentre is one of 13 centres governed by the umbrella organisation known as Thames Valley/Coromandel Playcentre Association (TVCPA) affiliated to the New Zealand Playcentre Federation. The centres in this association cover a wide geographical area, which presents challenges for both the governance/management body and individual centres. The centre’s philosophy is to foster learning through play in a rich, stimulating environment, in which children and adults are empowered to work, learn and grow together

Since the 2013 ERO review there have been improvements to both the indoor and outside learning environments. An increased number of parents studying the courses available has resulted in greater collective understanding of early childhood care and education in the centre. There is a continuing focus on child-led play, and identifying children’s strengths and interests to meet individual learning needs.

The centre has responded positively to the areas for review and development in the 2013 ERO report that relate to improving learning outcomes for children in the programme. Little progress has been made with the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori throughout the centre.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentre reviews in the Thames Valley/Coromandel Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The centre benefits from the dedication of experienced centre members who work collaboratively to effectively lead centre operations and the programme for children. They provide a co-operative leadership with clear roles and responsibilities and communicate well with each other and the community. Parents’ strengths and abilities are well used to provide good role models to benefit children’s learning. Effective leadership by parent members is contributing to positive learning experiences for children.

Positive and affirming interactions between parents and children contribute to a settled inclusive environment. Children participate in sustained individual and group learning experiences. Children of different ages play well together.

The centre provides a wide range of learning opportunities in a well-organised and resourced environment. Children move freely between indoor and outdoor activities that promote active exploration. They are secure and happy, and demonstrate a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging.

Suitably planned areas of play cater well for children’s interests and physical development. Other aspects of the programme that support children’s learning and sense of themselves as capable and confident learners include, high quality portfolios that clearly show children’s progress and achievements, the effective integration of literacy and numeracy, and regular opportunities for children to make links with the wider community. Children are engaged in meaningful and enjoyable learning experiences and benefit from a positive and exciting environment with many opportunities to play.

The TVCP provides overall guidance, support and clear policies, procedures and guidelines for self review, assessment, planning and evaluation. Playcentre workshops help parents establish strategies and practices that ensure positive educational outcomes for children. Parents recognise that evaluation of the programme and formalising self-review processes are areas for continued development.

At the time of this ERO review the TVCP was in the process of considering changes to the governance and management structure of the organisation. This is likely to present an opportunity for further review and improvement to communication and support for centres.

Key Next Steps

Centre members and ERO acknowledge the need to:

  • strengthen the extension and complexity of older children's learning

  • continue to develop the confidence of centre members to include aspects of Māori culture and language in the centre programme

  • continue to develop a strategic and annual plan.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

13 October 2016

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


Whangamata, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 12 Girls 8

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

13 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

May 2010

Education Review

June 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.