Spencerville Playcentre

Education institution number:
Service type:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

6a Heyders Road, Christchurch

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1 Evaluation of Spencerville Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Spencerville Playcentre is well placed to provide positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Spencerville Playcentre operates under the guidance of Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative where parents are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the programme and centre operation. A centre support worker works with the parent group to support the curriculum, relationships, parent education and good health and safety practices. A centre administration team has been appointed to assist centres with administration, including health and safety.

The playcentre philosophy gives emphasis to parents as first and best teachers, and the provision of a play-based curriculum. Parents are encouraged to participate in playcentre-education training to support them in their role as a parent-led early learning service.

Spencerville Playcentre operates three morning sessions a week. The parent-led service provides early childhood education for children aged from birth-to-school age. Infants, toddlers and young children play and learn in a mixed age-group setting.

This is the first ERO report for Spencerville Playcentre since it opened in 2015. After the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes the Brooklyns Playcentre (as it was previously known) had to relocate to the Spencerville Community Reserve. The centre was purpose-built with the support of the community. The parent group has made good progress with developing internal evaluation processes to make informed decisions about next steps to support ongoing improvement. The development of bicultural understandings and practices is a current focus for the parent group.

At the time of this ERO review, the playcentre was being led by two experienced coordinators who share responsibility for supporting the parent group. The coordinators and parent group have worked collaboratively to establish the playcentre in its new location. Parents have been empowered to take on the office-bearing positions on the playcentre committee.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentre reviews within the national organisation of the Canterbury Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The coordinators and parent group foster positive, supportive and respectful relationships. They warmly welcome children and families and encourage them to develop a good sense of belonging and wellbeing. Children are at the centre of all decision making. Strong links to the community are actively promoted to help provide a rich, local curriculum within and beyond the playcentre.

The playcentre philosophy is highly evident in practice. Parents are valued as first and best teachers of their children. They are well supported to take on responsibilities when they are ready. Most parents are involved in playcentre professional development to build their understandings and skills to support them as valued partners in children's learning through play.

Parents work well together to provide a wide range of interesting learning experiences that capture children's curiosity and encourage exploration, creativity and sensory and physical play. Infants, toddlers and young children play well with and alongside others. Older children are encouraged to care for younger children, within a nurturing and caring learning environment.

Parents notice, respond to and document the individual interests, strengths and capabilities of children. Good links to local schools help support a positive transition to school for children and their families. Children with additional needs are well supported within an inclusive learning environment.

Centre leaders are enthusiastic about providing a positive playcentre experience for families. They model care and respect for one another and for the children and their parents. The coordinators and parent group are reflective and are making increasingly good use of strategic planning and internal evaluation to support ongoing improvement and positive outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

For Spencerville Playcentre

The parent group has identified, and ERO's evaluation has confirmed, that the key next steps are to continue to:

  • develop and implement bicultural perspectives in practices and documentation

  • strengthen the way children's learning is captured in assessment, planning and evaluation, including how this learning will be extended

  • increase understandings and use of a consistent cycle of internal evaluation.

Canterbury Playcentre Association

Canterbury Playcentre Association is undertaking major restructuring, including the amalgamation of some regions and improving systems and processes. The centre support team now has more defined roles. The centre support person provides guidance with strategic direction, internal evaluation and curriculum. The centre administration role has been developed to provide centres with administration support, including the oversight of health and safety. The centre support team provides a vital link between the parent group and Playcentre Aotearoa.

Key Next Steps for Canterbury Playcentre Association

Canterbury Playcentre Association is undertaking major restructuring, including the amalgamation of some regions and improving systems and processes.

The key next steps are to:

  • embed the new governance and management structure and processes, and over time, review the effectiveness of these

  • support parents as first teachers and increase understandings of Te Whāriki 2017

  • ensure the long-term strategic goal for te ao Māori is successfully implemented

  • support centre support workers and centre administration teams to work effectively and provide consistent quality assurance and reporting processes

  • further develop and fully implement appraisal processes and provide quality professional development for leaders

  • update policies and procedures, including the requirements of the Vulnerable Children's Act, and ensure these are distributed and well understood at each playcentre.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

22 June 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


Spencerville, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

24 children, including up to 10 aged under 2 years old

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 14 ; Girls 5

Ethnic composition





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

22 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

N/A first report new service

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.