Whangarei Heads Playcentre - 04/09/2013

1 Evaluation of Whangarei Heads Playcentre

How well placed is Whangarei Heads 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.


Whangarei Heads Playcentre is part of the Northland Playcentre Association. The centre operates in an historical building in a well-maintained, semi-rural coastal setting. The playcentre is open two days a week, providing sessions for children up to six years of age. The roll has recently increased with many new families with young babies joining the centre. The playcentre has more young babies than previously.

The playcentre operates as a parent cooperative, in which parents and whanau take responsibility for their children’s education and for centre operations. Northland Playcentre Association personnel provide professional support and organisational frameworks for parent education programmes and centre management.

The areas for review and development identified in ERO’s 2010 report have been addressed well by centre members. Parents are continuing to improve their training levels.

This review was part of a cluster of eight playcentre reviews in the Northland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Respectful relationships are a feature of the programme. Children play cooperatively and interact well with a variety of adults. Adults respond positively to children’s ideas. They are interested in children’s conversations and participate alongside children in their play. The playcentre’s philosophy has a focus on child-centred play and this is enacted well.

The well-resourced learning environment provides children with creative and imaginative experiences. They have regular access to the indoor and outdoor environment which gives them ample choice to initiate play, explore and develop social relationships. Their ideas about play are valued and recorded in individual portfolios. Children’s sense of well-being and the support of families and whanau is a strength of the centre.

Children enjoy mixed-age play opportunities and being read to by adults. Adults are considering ways to strengthen their use of te reo Māori and bicultural practices that are representative of the dual heritage of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Members work collaboratively to provide activities that involve children in social and cooperative experiences. Their group planning practice provides good learning for new members. Some members are skilled at analysing children’s learning. Modelling of good quality assessment practices supports members to strengthen their understanding of ways to record children’s learning.

Long term and annual planning goals focus on improving learning outcomes for children. Centre members are continuing to develop effective self review processes that promote ongoing improvement.

Participation in playcentre training courses has positively impacted on adult learning. Members are likely to benefit from opportunities to participate in professional development opportunities provided by the association.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre members agree that that key next steps include:

  • strengthening the provision for children up to two years of age
  • planning to extend learning and to identify children’s progress over time
  • evaluating progress against annual and long-term goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

4 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


Whangarei Heads, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

23 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 12

Boys 8

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Review team on site

July 2013

Date of this report

4 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2010


Education Review

May 2007


Education 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.