Whataupoko Playcentre - 03/02/2016

1 Evaluation of Whataupoko Playcentre

How well placed is Whataupoko 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.


Whakaupoko Playcentre is one of eight early childhood centres administered by Tairawhiti Playcentre Association, (the association), which oversees governance operations. A board of governors provides guidance and support for members.

The playcentre is located in the grounds of a local primary school in central Gisborne. It operates three mixed-aged sessions each week for a maximum of 25 children, including 15 up to two years of age. Of the 34 children enrolled, half identify as Māori. Most are infants and toddlers, less than three years of age. A recently appointed qualified teacher is paid to work with the parents to lead the programme provided.

The February 2012 ERO report identified that improvement was needed and an action plan was developed particularly in relation to learning conversations and strengthening of self review.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Tairawhiti Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Playcentre members have made good progress in improving the consistency and quality of interactions with children. These are purposeful and focused on raising children’s curiosity. They draw children into conversations that extend learning and link to their home environment.

Adults are warm and responsive and children’s interests are nurtured within the programme provided. Routines are well understood by children and provide a useful framework for the day. Members use their understanding of the characteristics of infants and toddlers well, enabling them to extend their interactions through the provision of resources.

The service philosophy promotes child-initiated play and the development of an appreciation, conservation and protection of the natural environment. It outlines the expectation that parents share in the responsibility for the education of their children. This approach is evident in practice.

Adults have been building their bicultural practice. The use of te reo Māori is integrated in their interactions with children and aspects of tikanga Māori are practised. This should continue to be strengthened. The recent appointment of a bicultural officer on the playcentre's management committee should provide expertise to help members embed this into the curriculum. The association plans to provide greater strategic guidance to promote success for Māori children as Māori. ERO's evaluation affirms this planned development.

Group planning guides the programme provided and reflects children’s emerging interests. Children’s portfolios show activities that they have participated in, links to Te Whāriki and celebrates their successes. Recently, an increased understanding of the purpose and use of these portfolios by members has led to greater parent participation in the documentation of children’s learning.

Playcentre members identified, and ERO agrees, that assessment, planning and evaluation are areas requiring ongoing development. In particular:

  • promoting children's culture through assessment documents
  • identifying children's progression of learning overtime.

Self review is not yet a well-established practice and is an area for ongoing development. Spontaneous review is used to reflect on aspects of the programme to make improvements. The focus of these reviews should be more relevant and useful if they investigated children's participation in areas of play was investigated, to identify what is working well, what is not and why. At the time of this review, members had not participated in any planned reviews.

Adults have an understanding of the implications of the changes required to meet the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. The Playcentre Association has provided initial guidance in this area.

The board of governors demonstrates leadership in supporting playcentres in their understanding of legislative requirements. Monitoring of these in the playcentres has been supported through the appointment of a liaison officer. In addition the association has developed:

  • an operational manual which provides policy guidance for members
  • appointment procedures
  • a system for police vetting
  • an appraisal process for employees
  • an approach for reviewing and evaluating the services’ guiding documents and ongoing developments.

The association has identified a next step is to develop an internet safety policy. ERO agrees that social networking and appointment policies should also be developed.

Key Next Steps

The association should assist members to address the key next steps to:

  • build understanding of assessment, planning and evaluation to reflect the planning cycle
  • develop their knowledge of the purpose and use of self review.

The association should:

  • provide greater strategic direction for centres in promoting success for Māori children as Māori
  • develop policies for social media and staff appointments.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

3 February 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 19, Boys 15

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

3 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

February 2012


Education Review

November 2010


Education Review

July 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.