Akaroa Playcentre - 20/06/2014

Evaluation of Akaroa Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Akaroa 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 co-operative with parents encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the centre’s programme and operation. 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. A coordinator with higher playcentre training takes responsibility for facilitating the programme each session.

The playcentre is open for two sessions a week. Many of the children are enrolled for one session a week and some families travel a considerable distance to attend the playcentre. Since the November 2010 ERO review, there has been an increase in the number of sessions provided and the indoor play space has been expanded. In response to ERO’s previous recommendations the parent group has made most progress in increasing parents’ involvement in assessment and planning.

The Review Findings

The playcentre philosophy is strongly evident in the way the playcentre operates. The parent group operates as a successful parent cooperative. Relationships among parents are positive and parents support each other well during the programme, and through sharing advice on how to best support their children. This includes helping parents access additional support for children with specific learning needs.

Extended whānau are welcomed and good use is made of parents' strengths and skills in the programme, and in managing the playcentre.

Adults interact with all children in positive, caring and respectful ways. They support children to successfully build relationships with other children and parents, and often extend these relationships beyond the playcentre.

Children are benefitting from a programme where adults notice and respond to their interests and ideas. Positive features of the programme and environment include the opportunities children have to:

  • actively explore a wide range of resources and take part in experiences that capture their curiosity and encourage them to explore and develop their ideas

  • play with children of different ages, including very young children interacting with older children

  • make meaningful links to local people, places and things through outings in the local community and visitors to the playcentre.

The parent group is making good use of family and community resources to support success for Māori children as Māori and promote a more bicultural curriculum.

Infants and toddlers are well involved in all aspects of the playcentre programme. Adults support infants and toddlers while also giving them the time and space to explore independently. Adults are responsive to the ways very young children communicate and make good efforts to respond to their preferences.

Adults use a range of effective ways to extend children’s learning. Parents are now more involved in recognising and writing about children’s learning. Parents with higher playcentre training are good role models for others in their interactions with children and assessment of children’s learning.

Contact between the playcentre and local schools is becoming more regular and purposeful. This is supporting children and their parents when children transition to school.

Parents use meetings to regularly reflect on aspects of the programme and discuss how the playcentre programme and environment can be improved. Current focus areas include improving the outdoor environment and reviewing how well the programme supports children’s learning about numeracy.

Since the 2010 ERO review, there has been an increase in the number of parents involved in playcentre education courses. This involvement, supported by delivery of the training in the local area, has had a positive impact on the quality of programme for children’s learning.

Informative guidelines from the Canterbury Playcentre Association help the parent group understand and meet their legislative and health and safety requirements. The parent group finds the support of the centre support person from the association useful.

Key Next Steps

The parent group and ERO agree that the following developments would help sustain and build on current practices:

  • strengthening planning and assessment records to more clearly identify children’s learning over time in assessments and how it links to planning the programme

  • developing a clearer process to guide and record self review so that it is better understood and involves more parents

  • developing long term planning to show centre priorities more clearly, and provide a more planned approach to centre development.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

20 June 2014

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


Akaroa, Banks Peninsula

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 17

Boys 12

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Other Ethnicities





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

20 June 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Supplementary Review

November 2010


Supplementary Review

July 2009


Education Review

April 2008

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.