Whataupoko Playcentre - 26/08/2019

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

Whataupoko Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Whataupoko Playcentre is located in Gisborne. The centre provides three weekly morning sessions for 25 children, including 15 up to the age of two. At the time of this review, there were 24 children enrolled.

The centre is administered by Playcentre Aotearoa, Central North Island Region and is supported by a regional manager. National policies are in the process of being developed and distributed to playcentres for implementation.

The Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy, 'whānau tupu ngātahi-families growing together' is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. Alongside this, the centre philosophy fosters children's sense of belonging within a child-led curriculum.

Whānau and families are valued as the primary educators of their children and share responsibility for the curriculum. Day-to-day operation is undertaken by session support personnel and centre-elected office holders. A newly employed centre support worker is beginning to regularly visit the playcentre to provide professional guidance and support, strengthen practice and promote improvement.

The February 2016 ERO report identified key next steps for ongoing development at Whataupoko Playcentre. These included, assessment, planning and evaluation and building their knowledge and use of internal evaluation. Positive progress is evident in assessment of children's learning.

This review was part of a cluster of five playcentres in the Tairāwhiti area.

The Review Findings

Children confidently and competently engage in a play-based curriculum that promotes their independence and exploration. Positive, reciprocal relationships between parents fosters children's sense of trust and belonging.

Adults are responsive to children's interests and use a range of strategies to engage children in play. Language development is promoted through open-ended questions, sustained conversations and extension of ideas. Children are encouraged to express their ideas and build relationships with others. Their social and emotional competencies are promoted through modelling of expected behaviours and consistency of teaching approaches. Seamless transitions between routines and play foster children's independence.

Infants and toddlers, through sensitive and nurturing relationships within an inclusive learning environment, have time and space to explore with older children. The learning environment is well designed to support interactions.

A well-resourced environment reflects the cultural diversity of children and their families. Parents provide rich opportunities to learn about each other's cultures. Children's first language is visible within the environment, contributing to their sense of identity. Adults' use of te reo Māori is strengthening and tikanga is observed within routines. Further strengthening te ao Māori knowledge is self-identified as an area of ongoing development.

Adults are working collaboratively to strengthen the documentation of children's learning. Information is regularly shared to ensure that they consistently respond to each child's needs and interests. Children's profile books capture their participation and engagement in the programme. A range of useful tools has been developed to support parents to identify the learning that occurs.

Further strengthening of assessment, planning and evaluation is required to:

  • identify the intentional teaching strategies used to assist children's progress in learning over time, and

  • evaluate how effective these strategies respond to and promote the ongoing learning of children.

During a time of change, parents continue to build their knowledge and understanding of Playcentre philosophy. New parents are well supported by experienced centre members to take on official roles and responsibilities. Leaders have identified that a priority is to further access relevant support from the newly employed centre support worker and Playcentre Aotearoa, Central Region. This support and professional guidance should strengthen practice to promote improvement.

The service is in the early stages of understanding the process of internal evaluation to bring about sustained change that promotes successful learning outcomes for all children. A regular cycle of review is leading to positive changes to the environment. Leaders have identified that a next step is to strengthen their understanding of internal evaluation for improvement.

Playcentre’s national restructuring process has significantly hindered the support and professional development provided to centre members. Regional personnel are in the early stages of rebuilding collaboration and support networks. National systems and processes are yet to be consistently implemented. There is a recent focus on building relational trust and a responsive parent education system to establish more effective operation. A key next step is for regional managers to ensure that expected levels of support are enacted for each centre.

The appraisal process is currently based on annual review of successes and challenges. This requires further strengthening to better reflect roles and responsibilities, building of capability and evaluation of performance aligned to outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

At playcentre level, priorities are to develop and continue to strengthen:

  • use of assessment, planning and evaluation

  • understanding and use of effective internal evaluation for improvement.

At the governance level (Playcentre Aotearoa), priorities are to:

  • continue to develop and implement national policies and procedures

  • ensure ongoing support and education is provided to centre members to grow understanding of quality early childhood education

  • strengthen the appraisal process for employed staff.


ERO recommends that the regional team actively monitors and evaluates the quality of support provided to playcentres to promote improvement.

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.

To improve current compliance practice Playcentre Aotearoa must ensure that:

  • a regular cycle of policy review is undertaken. The organisation has stated that the implementation of national policies will take place at the beginning of August 2019

  • the updated complaints policy and procedures for parents is displayed

  • loose equipment and resources that could fall or topple and cause serious injury or damage are secured in the office

  • it checks that the outdoor playground plans meet the Playcentre playground safety standards and licensing requirements.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

26 August 2019

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

Female 13, Male 11

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

26 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2016

Education Review

February 2012

Education Review

November 2010

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.