Blenheim Playcentre

Education institution number:
65002
Service type:
Playcentre
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
28
Telephone:
Address:

17 Eltham Road, Blenheim

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1 Evaluation of Blenheim Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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

Background

Blenheim Playcentre is one of five set up by the Marlborough Playcentre Association (the association). It operates five morning sessions each week, and is licensed for 30 children, including 15 aged up to two years. At the time of this review 45 children were enrolled.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation (the federation) is undergoing a significant restructure that includes amalgamating the 32 associations nationwide into one organisation, Playcentre Aotearoa. To date the legal amalgamation of the associations has not been completed so centres continue to operate in accordance with association policies. Blenheim playcentre is now managed from a regional office based in Christchurch.

A centre support worker (CSW) visits the centre to provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen the programme for children. Support for compliance with regulations is the responsibility of a centre administrator (CA). Both the CSW and CA are employed by the federation. Day-to-day management is the role of centre-elected office holders. A paid session facilitator with a recognised qualification supports curriculum development and parents' participation in the learning programme for three sessions a week. Qualified members run the other two sessions as a team.

The Playcentre philosophy recognises the importance of parents working together, alongside their children, to support their self-initiated play and promote their learning.

Key next steps from the August 2013 ERO evaluation were for the playcentre to continue to strengthen bicultural practice and assessment and evaluation skills. Progress in these areas is ongoing.

Since the 2013 ERO review all parents are new. A large part of the outdoor area has recently been upgraded with the installation of soft fall.

This review was one of five in the Marlborough Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children play and learn in spacious, interesting and well-resourced learning environments. Children enjoy the opportunities provided. Many sustain their play for long periods. They and their parents show a strong sense of belonging to the playcentre. Parents are closely involved in children's play.

Tuakana-teina relationships are fostered as children of mixed ages play together. The programme is responsive to children's needs and emerging interests. Adults encourage children to investigate, socialise, make their own choices and have fun. Creativity and self-expression are fostered. Oral language is well modelled and aspects of literacy introduced in play-based ways. There is good provision for infants and toddlers. Children are settled, cooperative, confident and happy learners.

The playcentre has good numbers of families attending, with potential new members welcomed and included. The focus on encouraging parents' interest and input into their children's learning plans and supporting their understanding of the Early Childhood Curriculum, Te Whāriki (2017), is occurring at planning meetings. The CSW and session facilitator model good practice in assessment and planning. All members should consider ways to make planning and evaluation increasingly focused on learning, rather than activity-based.

Guidelines are in place to help members successfully promote children's transitions to primary school. Regular excursions to the adjacent school assist them to gain knowledge about, and confidence in, the new environment.

The association’s and federation’s acknowledgement of the importance of bicultural partnership is yet to fully impact on the daily practice and development planning. The recent appointment of a Māori development officer at federation level, and regionally-based field worker, should further promote members' understanding of te ao Māori.

The CSW provides regular and valued face-to-face feedback and assistance to members, including strong support to build a sense of team. Her reports link to the region's current priorities. ERO's evaluation concurs with the regional centre support coordinator's findings, that CSW support should be increasingly focused on improvement and also individual centre's particular needs. A more evaluative approach is likely to promote and sustain improvement over time.

A new appraisal process is in place to support the CSW, CA and session facilitator in their roles which links to job descriptions and federation expectations, and supports reflection on practice. This process should be reviewed after its first cycle to ensure sufficient rigour in relation to goal setting, observations of practice and feedback to more effectively support development.

A comprehensive range of association policies is in place to support members' shared understanding of Playcentre expectations. Many of these are past their review date. Some no longer reflect current legislation at association level. While the legal amalgamation of the associations is imminent, in the interim, the centre should have access to a full range of up-to-date guidelines for practice.

A range of tools is being developed to assist with the implementation of internal evaluation at all levels. In this centre, understanding and use of this improvement-focused approach is at an early stage.

The restructure of playcentre operation is being carefully worked through to support a new and more sustainable future for the organisation. The regional office provides a range of support for centres. This includes the creation of new roles designed to redistribute the management of compliance and administration, and provide improved assistance to members for curriculum, teaching and learning, internal evaluation, adult education, marketing and property. Leaders report that the strategic focus on growing a sense of community, and increased membership and parent involvement, is already resulting in increased collaboration across centres and interest in Playcentre philosophy. Detailed action plans should contribute to progress in meeting goals.

Key Next Steps

ERO and regional leaders agree that the federation should prioritise the:

  • support for the CSW to further promote members' understanding of programme planning and evaluation, internal evaluation, te ao Māori and implementation of a bicultural curriculum

  • further development of CSW and CA support and reporting

  • review and further development of the appraisal process for CSWs, CA's and session support.

The continuing focus on strengthening leadership, growing a sense of community, parent participation and collaboration between playcentres should continue.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Blenheim 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified an area of non-compliance relating to governance and management. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following area:

  • self-review

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6.

In order to improve current practice the service provider should ensure:

  • the centre has a complete set of up-to-date policy guidelines

  • emergency plans are reviewed annually

  • provision for sleeping children is clarified.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

13 June 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

Location

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

65002

Licence type

Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

47

Gender composition

Boys 37, Girls 10

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

2
39
6

Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2

1:1

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:1

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

13 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

June 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.

1 Evaluation of Blenheim Playcentre

How well placed is Blenheim 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

Blenheim Playcentre is part of a cluster of five parent-led centres that operate under the umbrella of the Marlborough Playcentre Association (the association). It is located on the grounds of Whitney Street School in central Blenheim. The centre offers five morning sessions each week and is licensed for 30 children up to five years of age, including 15 aged up to two.

The centre is well supported by the association. Support workers, team leaders, tutors and facilitators provide professional advice and guidance for team members. They model effective planning skills and teaching strategies. Clear overarching policies support centre operation. The association is responsible for the recruitment, appointment and appraisal of all paid staff.

The centre's philosophy of 'child-initiated free uninterrupted play' and strong networks for families is evident in the programme. Members support each other and learn together. Parents are valued as first educators and all parents have, or are working towards, playcentre qualifications.

Since the June 2010 ERO report the team has effectively responded to the areas for improvement.

The Review Findings

Children and parents are warmly welcomed. Children confidently engage in play in a very well-resourced environment. They are able to experiment, be creative, use their imagination and develop a range of physical skills. Children play cooperatively and learn alongside, and from each other. Younger children are well supported by older children.

Interactions are respectful, nurturing and supportive. Adults engage in conversations with children to extend their play. Children are confident to approach adults to inquire and share their achievements. Children and parents have fun together.

A specific area for children up to two provides a safe space for them to play with resources appropriate to their age.

The programme is responsive to children's emerging interests. It is clearly linked to the strands and principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children are able to follow their own interests and strengths. These form the basis for group learning themes and excursions. Literacy and numeracy skills and science concepts are introduced.

Parents discuss each session to evaluate the programme and use of play areas. This enables children's emerging interests and learning to continue from one session to the next.

Profile books and learning stories capture children's involvement and engagement in centre activities. Special moments are celebrated. Team leaders model how to write learning stories and this is increasing parents' confidence to record and extend their child's learning. Team leaders acknowledge that continuing to develop all team members' understanding of assessment and evaluation is an on-going focus.

Inclusive bicultural practices are evident. These are reflected through some use of te reo Māori, waiata and karakia and a good range of resources. Increased confidence in the use of te reo Māori has been identified by the team as an area for further development and is a current focus of self review.

Parents are encouraged and assisted to take on leadership roles. A collaborative approach values parents and the knowledge and skills they bring to the centre. Parents working towards a playcentre qualification are well supported and their achievements celebrated.

A comprehensive strategic plan provides clear direction and focus. A sound framework for self review is in place. It informs decision making and is focused on improving outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Team members and ERO have identified that there is a need to continue to:

  • strengthen their confidence in using te reo me nga tikanga Māori
  • develop assessment and evaluation knowledge and skills.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie
National Manager Review Services (Acting) Central

21 August 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

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

65002

Licence type

Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under two

Service roll

45

Gender composition

Boys 23, Girls 22

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

45

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:5

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

21 August 2013

Most recent ERO reports

 

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

April 2017

Education Review

April 2004

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.