Wharepuhunga Playcentre - 11/01/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

The service is very well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.


Wharepuhunga Playcentre is a long-established parent cooperative service that comes under the umbrella of King Country Playcentre Association. It has a positive reporting history and is located in a rural community between Te Awamutu and Otorohanga. The playcentre provides education for children between birth and school age. Two sessions are offered weekly. The general session caters for children of all ages attending with their parents, and the 'Big Kids' session is for children over four years of age who may attend unaccompanied. The centre maintains a close relationship with the nearby Korakonui School. Currently, 31 children are enrolled in the playcentre. Centre members receive valuable, ongoing support, advice and modelling of good quality teaching from the Centre Support staff member. She is employed by the association.

Playcentre qualifications are highly valued by centre members, many of whom complete higher level playcentre courses. More experienced members have been involved in professional development to expand their knowledge of up-to-date planning, assessment and self-review processes. They have also attended professional development about strategies to recognise and affirm children’s culture and identity, including a focus on Māori history, language and identities. This professional development has assisted the centre to address the areas for improvement in the 2010 Education Review Report.

The centre philosophy emphasises the expectation that centre members will contribute their skills to the centre programme, and support their children’s learning through child-initiated play.

This review was conducted as part of a cluster approach to reviews in ten early childhood education services within the King Country Playcentre Association umbrella organisation.

Areas of strength

Children enjoy the extensive opportunities for active play and exploration provided in the centre’s spacious, well-resourced play areas. They are confident learners who choose to follow their interests, and are developing positive social skills as they cooperate and include others in their activities. Children also visit a variety of places in the community, learning about areas of local significance and gaining experience of the wider world. In preparation for their marae visit, the team leader for the Big Kids session taught the children to respond appropriately to the marae protocols. This age-group also maintains close relationships with the nearby school. Babies and toddlers are included in centre experiences and develop high levels of independence and initiative.

Parents have enhanced the quality of the learning by reviewing and improving play areas and making ongoing developments to the playground. They listen to and respect children’s ideas and independence, support the development of their social and language skills and extend their learning. Literacy and numeracy are included as a natural part of the programme. Parents foster children’s love of reading by sharing books and stories. Children also appreciate revisiting and sharing their individual portfolios, which are well presented and increasingly record their learning and progress.

Playcentre philosophy is well enacted. Experienced members have established a welcoming, inclusive culture that involves parents in sharing centre responsibilities and making decisions about its operation. They make good use of self review to identify and address areas needing improvement. As a result of the attention given to planning and assessment practices, members are now better placed to notice and recognise children’s emerging interests, and are able to respond to them more promptly. The centre’s long-term focus on culture and identity is strengthening parents’ understanding of local history, and their confidence in using te reo and tikanga Māori. Members have benefited from the support and guidance of the association kaiawhina, and appreciate their developing relationship with the local marae.

Effective association and centre management and leadership, and well-informed parent members contribute to the quality of centre operations.

Areas for development and review

The centre has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps for the centre are to continue:

  • focusing on culture and identity
  • planning to foster and extend children’s interests as they are recognised in their play and conversations.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wharepuhunga 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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

11 January 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service


near Te Awamutu

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

Girls 17 Boys 14

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

NZ Māori



Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

11 January 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

December 2006

April 2003

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.