Whakamaru Playcentre

Education institution number:
45783
Service type:
Playcentre
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
6
Telephone:
Address:

Cnr Arataki Road & Tihoi Road, Whakamaru

View on map

1 Evaluation of Whakamaru Playcentre

How well placed is Whakamaru 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.

Background

Whakamaru Playcentre is located in a rural community south of Tokoroa and provides education and care for children from birth to school age. The centre operates under the umbrella of the East Waikato Playcentre Association (EWPA) and is licensed for 27 children, including up to 12 under two years. There are 36 children enrolled, including four Māori. The centre is open for two sessions per week. There has been significant roll growth since the 2013 ERO review.

The centre philosophy values parents as first educators, children's individuality and the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa. Parents aim to provide safe and stimulating learning environments, and be true to their name: 'Whakamaru - to nurture and protect'.

The centre has responded to the need to strengthen planning, identified in the 2013 ERO review. The need for the EWPA to improve support and communication has also been addressed and parents feel the association is supportive and responsive.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is currently undergoing restructuring, and this has implications for EWPA governance actions in the future.

This review was part of a cluster of nine playcentre reviews in the East Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy warm, caring relationships with all parents. They play and learn in a mixed-age setting, and regularly engage in collaborative play with others. Social competency skills are encouraged, enabling children to interact constructively and develop strong friendships with one another.

Children are highly engaged and have fun learning and exploring in spacious, attractive indoor and outdoor environments. They are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their own learning and wellbeing, and have many opportunities for safe physical challenges. Children have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of experiences, either following their interests or participating in parent-led activities. They are provided with feedback from parents that acknowledges their effort and success. Children demonstrate high levels of belonging and wellbeing, are settled and confident learners.

A broad, rich curriculum is in place with many opportunities for exploration and learning through play. Literacy and mathematics are naturally integrated into the programme in meaningful ways. Children enjoy participating in cooking, gardening and science activities. Trips into the local and wider community are a feature of the programme. Children are developing an interest in, and love of learning.

The centre is well resourced with quality, age-appropriate equipment and activities. Parents use authentic contexts and collaboratively plan interesting activities each term, based on the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Session evaluations identify children's developing interests and learning, and some possible extensions for future activities.

Infants and younger children are well supported by their parents to participate in the programme. They have access to resources that are appropriate for their age and stage of development. Parents have adapted the environment to ensure the safety of children who are crawling or learning to walk, and cater well for babies' and toddlers' individual needs.

Māori children and whānau benefit from the respectful, inclusive and welcoming culture. Parents have increased their knowledge of bicultural practices as a result of self review. There is some visibility of te reo Māori in wall displays and resources, and members are working to increase everyday use of the language. Each term's theme includes a bicultural focus, and parents and children visited the local marae last year. Parents agree there is a need to continue developing the way te reo and tikanga Māori are integrated throughout the curriculum.

Easily accessible individual profile books record individual and group activities, and identify some dispositions for learning. Useful playcentre templates encourage parents to include learning outcomes for children and possible next steps to extend interests. A more consistent approach to including the learning that is happening in the profiles would support parents in building children's identity as successful learners.

Recent self review has resulted in improved practices to assist children's transition to school. Members benefit from the input of several parents with a background in education in understanding links between Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and The New Zealand Curriculum. This focus supports children's positive transition to school.

Parent education has continued as many members participate actively in playcentre courses. The centre facilitates and funds training at the centre for parents undertaking Course 2. Parents are proactive in seeking and using further training to enhance their role as educators for their children.

The EWPA provides useful policies and procedures for centre management. The centre is well managed, with a large number of elected positions and additional voluntary roles. Knowledgeable leaders encourage collaboration and use parents’ strengths effectively. High levels of commitment are providing the playcentre with a strong sense of purpose and direction.

Members regularly review each session and centre organisation. They evaluate the curriculum and the service's effectiveness in promoting best learning outcomes for children. Well-developed, self-review processes are resulting in continual improvement in centre practices.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that the next steps are to:

  • include goals in the strategic plan that identify and focus on improving learning outcomes for children. This should enable parents to more closely focus on expectations and aspirations for learning in the centre

  • strengthen the consistency in profile books of the identification of learning, to show children's development over time and success as lifelong learners

  • strengthen parents' confidence and capability to integrate te reo and tikanga Māori in the daily programme. This should develop the identity of Māori children in the centre more fully and provide other children with a better understanding of New Zealand's dual heritage.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato / Bay of Plenty

26 June 2017 

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 

Location

South Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

45783

Licence type

Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll

36

Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 16

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

4
31
1

Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

26 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

September 2013

Education Review

May 2004

Education 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.

1 Evaluation of Whakamaru Playcentre

How well placed is Whakamaru 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.

Background

Whakamaru Playcentre is a sessional, parent-led service providing education for children from birth to school age, and their parents. This rural playcentre operates in a community hall and is licensed for 27 children, including up to 10 under two years of age. At the time of this ERO review, 13 children were enrolled. The centre is a member of the East Waikato Playcentre Association (EWPA).

The Whakamaru Playcentre philosophy emphasises the importance of parents as the foremost educators of their children. Children’s individuality, the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa/New Zealand and the provision of a safe and stimulating environment are key aspects of the programme.

ERO’s last review of the centre was in 2004. Between June 2005 and November 2006 the centre was in recess. At the beginning for 2007 it reopened as a licence-exempt playcentre. Members have worked conscientiously to meet licensing requirements. The centre was granted a full licence under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 in April 2013.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 playcentre reviews in the East Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Whakamaru Playcentre is a vibrant and well-led service for children and families. A core group of enthusiastic centre members bring a wide variety of skills and experience that contribute to the centre’s success in promoting positive outcomes for children. Centre members are proactive in accessing ongoing adult education and networking with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation and other playcentres. Members express a high level of appreciation for the leadership and long-term commitment demonstrated by the centre president. Her dedication has been pivotal to the revival of playcentre education in this community.

The centre has a strategic plan that gives clear direction for centre development and ongoing sustainability. This plan includes common goals and is informed by self review of the programme and centre operations. Centre members have effective strategies for engaging the wider community to support playcentre events and projects.

A feature of the playcentre is high levels of collaborative and respectful relationships among members and children. The playcentre’s philosophy is well implemented through the curriculum and childrens’ play and learning. Parents remain focused on supporting childrens’ ideas and interests. They skilfully foster children’s social and language development and integrate concepts related to literacy and mathematics.

Centre families demonstrate a strong commitment to strengthening links with stories and places of significance to the tangata whenua of the Central Plateau. They value opportunities to increase their understanding of Māori culture and language. ERO acknowledges progress made and affirms the centre’s strategic priority in relation to New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Members develop a plan for each term based on childrens’ interests and community happenings. It would now be beneficial for members, to consider ways to strengthen planning in response to what they notice about children’s play, and how they might respond in the shorter term.

Children make good use of spacious, well-resourced and interesting learning environments. Thoughtful design and readily available resources and equipment present children with possibilities and opportunities to make independent choices. They are able to involve themselves in a wide range of learning experiences. Members regularly review areas of play to enhance presentation and use by children.

Key Next Steps

During this review it became evident that relationships between Whakamaru Playcentre and EWPA are strained. Centre members feel unsupported by the association and do not believe that their ideas or contributions are valued by the umbrella organisation. Also, the current lack of locally-based playcentre adult education courses is a challenge for members of this remote rural centre. More responsive support and inclusive communication from the association is needed to minimise the sense of isolation, and to assist members to further enhance outcomes for children and families.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

16 September 2013

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

Location

Whakamaru, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

45783

Licence type

Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

13

Gender composition

Girls 7

Boys 6

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

2

11

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

16 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

May 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.