Whitianga Playcentre - 31/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Whitianga Playcentre

How well placed is Whitianga 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.


Whitianga Playcentre is located in Whitianga and licensed for 27 children including 12 up to two years of age. The current roll is 39 including eight children who identify as Māori. The playcentre runs two mixed-age morning sessions a week. Sessions are planned, organised and run by parent volunteers. A new president and secretary have been appointed and a significant number of new parents have completed Playcentre level courses.

Until the end of 2017 the centre was part of the Thames Valley Coromandel Playcentre Association, but are now associated with Playcentre Aotearoa. A centre support worker and administrator are yet to be appointed by Playcentre Aotearoa. The centre has been supported by a facilitator, employed by Playcentre Aotearoa, who is part of the professional development team.

The playcentre philosophy promotes learning through play. The focus is on child-led learning. The service believe that parents are the first and best teachers of their children and encourage all adult members to participate in the Playcentre education system. Whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are an integral part of the philosophy.

Whitianga Playcentre has responded well to the areas for development identified in the 2016 ERO report. Centre members have:

  • fostered parent education and understanding of playcentre practices and expectations

  • grown confidence in developing high-quality learning interactions, planning and assessment practices

  • included aspects of Māori culture and language in centre programmes

  • complied with all licensing requirements and regulations and now have a full licence

  • developed and implemented annual and strategic plans and a robust self-review process.

The Review Findings

The centre’s philosophy that parents are the first and best teachers of their children supports positive leaning outcomes for all children. A clear vision is responsive to the aspirations and expectations that parents and whānau have for their children. Self review is ongoing and informs planning, priorities and actions. Children and whānau learn and grow together in a supportive family environment.

Centre leadership is knowledgeable, collaborative and focused on building capability within the service. Parents are committed to the service philosophy and vision, and fully contribute to the running of the centre. There is increased participation by parents in the Playcentre Adult Education programme which is upskilling parents and supporting the provision of quality teaching and learning programmes. Leaders and parents prioritise continuous centre improvement and positive outcomes for children

The centre’s play-based curriculum supports children to lead their own learning, experience challenges and revisit prior learning. Parents' knowledge and observations of children’s interests is used to plan possible extensions. Learning portfolios document individual progress and include parent and child voice. Digital technology is used well to share children's learning and experiences with families and whānau. Children’s learning opportunities are enriched through local excursions.

Leaders and parents have improved aspects of Māori culture throughout the centre. Children gain independence and increased confidence in a safe and nurturing environment. Centre leaders have identified the need to continue to strengthen the use of te reo and tikanga Māori to better respond to Māori children's language, culture and identity. They have ready access to a richly resourced environment that extends their play and learning.

Parents strongly encourage children to direct their own learning and promote the concept of tuakana/teina. Meaningful and quality learning interactions between children and parents extends children’s thinking and exploration. ERO observed parents providing positive guidance to support children’s development of social skills and values. Babies and toddlers enjoy personalised caregiving that responds sensitively to each child’s changing needs and preferences. Parents affirm and acknowledge children’s efforts and successes.

Key Next Steps

ERO and management agree that the key next steps are to:

  • increase the complexity of play for older children

  • review the outside environment to increase children’s opportunities for learning and engagement including stronger links with literacy and mathematics.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

31 May 2018

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

27 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 21 Girls 18

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

31 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2016

Education Review

May 2013

Education Review

May 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 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.