Woodend Playcentre - 14/03/2014

1.Evaluation of Woodend Playcentre

How well placed is Woodend Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


This playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative with parents encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the centre’s programme and operation. The playcentre philosophy is based on the belief that children reach their full potential when their parents understand their development and take part in the learning process. Adults with higher playcentre training take responsibility for coordinating the programme each session.

Woodend Playcentre is open for three sessions a week and plans to increase this to four sessions per week in 2014. It operates in purpose-built premises across the road from a local primary school. The supervisors have been associated with the playcentre for a long period of time.

The parent committee has been focused on increasing roll numbers. It has been successful in increasing the number of families at the playcentre and children are attending more often.

The recommendations in the June 2010 ERO report have all been addressed. These include improvements to bicultural practice, meeting the learning needs of older children and provision for the under two year olds.

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

The Review Findings

Children benefit from the priority adults place on building effective relationships and supporting children’s sense of belonging. Interactions between adults and children are positive and caring. Children have developed strong relationships with a number of adults at the playcentre and parents regularly take responsibility for children other than their own. The coordinators and parent group know each other and the children and their families well. This is reflected in the high quality of the interactions between children and adults.

Infants and toddlers are viewed as competent and capable. Adults make sure these children have good opportunities to interact with older children and take part in the full range of playcentre activities. They ensure toddlers are challenged in their physical play and have regular opportunities to spend time with a variety of adults. A quiet play area provides a safe space for babies and a comfortable place for mothers to feed their infants.

Children benefit from the ways adults extend their ideas and thinking. The conversations adults have with children are encouraging problem solving and supporting creative ideas. Children and adults have fun together.

The programme is effectively based on children’s interests. Children’s individuality is promoted and respected. The programme also provides:

  • a wide range of interesting activities, including excursions in the local community
  • effective support for children’s developing oral language, and literacy and numeracy awareness
  • opportunities for children to make choices about their involvement in activities and the pace of their day
  • chances for children to be involved in independent and group play and to build on their social skills.

There is a strong focus on using parents' skills and ideas. Relationships between families, and support for parenting extend beyond the centre. Feedback from parents has been sought through surveys and their opinions responded to through useful self review.

The parent group is future focussed and has clear plans in place to guide future centre development. Appropriate long term planning has been developed that includes links to the wider Canterbury Playcentre Association goals as well as the parents' vision and values for their playcentre.

Key Next Steps

The parent group and ERO agree, that the following areas for development would help them to continue to improve the programme for children.

The enrolment of new families at the playcentre has had an impact on the numbers of parents who are able to contribute to planning and assessment. The next steps for the parent group are to:

  • encourage more parents to undertake association training
  • increase parent participation in recording children’s learning
  • improve programme planning by making clearer links to children’s assessment
  • clearly show how children are progressing and achieving.

The playcentre has undertaken a number of self reviews that have contributed to some positive changes in the environment and aspects of the curriculum. Further development to make the review process clear would help parents to participate more in self reviews. This includes:

  • ensuring learning outcomes for children are more evident
  • strengthening bicultural practice by increasing visibility and the use of te reo Māori.

There is significant change occurring in the structure of governance and management at association level. The recent review of governance and management has been supported by useful and consultative processes.

The association has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps for the association include association staff:

  • providing more documented feedback to parent groups about the quality of teaching and learning, with a particular focus on interactions
  • developing a stronger understanding of the government's focus on priority learners so that they can better support parent groups to respond more effectively to these children
  • helping parent groups more effectively sustain the developments in bicultural practices
  • providing more useful guidelines to parent groups about supporting children's transition to school.

In addition a system for the regular appraisal of Centre Support Team members should be re-established.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

14 March 2014

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service


Woodend, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 16

Boys 7

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Review team on site

December 2013

Date of this report

14 March 2014

Most recent ERO reports

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

June 2010


Education Review

April 2004


Accountability Review

June 1999

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.