Aotea Island Playcentre - 17/11/2017

1 Evaluation of Aotea Island Playcentre

How well placed is Aotea Island 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.


Aotea Island Playcentre is a well established centre adjacent to Kaitoke School on Great Barrier Island. The centre offers two general sessions each week for up to 30 children, including up to 15 under two years of age. Currently the roll is 22, and about a third of the children enrolled are Māori.

The centre operates as a family cooperative. Practices are based on the Playcentre philosophy of families learning and growing together. Learning programmes are implemented by parents/whānau who are also centre members.

The 2014 ERO report highlighted the centre’s strengths, which have been maintained. Good progress has been made in the areas for development noted in the report, which included supporting children's learning through play.

The centre is one of 21 in the North Shore Playcentre Association. The Association provides a management and policy framework, and centre support personnel. Playcentre Aotearoa is in the process of a national restructure and the North Shore Association is now part of Playcentre's northern region. A new regional manager has been appointed and support personnel roles and expectations are being confirmed.

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

The Review Findings

Respectful and responsive relationships between families foster a sense of community. Children settle quickly and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in the centre. Centre members affirm and share the strengths of children and their whānau. Children make friends and play together for extended periods of time. The new cycleway in the expansive outdoor environment helps to promote children's physical activity.

Children are creative, curious and eager to learn. They make choices about their learning and benefit from respectful adults who listen and respond to their interests. Centre members ensure that the youngest children are well provided for, and included well in the programme. They encourage toddlers to explore and try out new activities. Te reo Māori is valued, and used in play and conversations. Children and adults have fun as they learn through meaningful play.

Internal evaluation is developing and used to improve practice. Recent evaluation has highlighted how parents/whānau could adapt the programme to better support the learning of the older children and boys. Centre members are considering how they can offer an additional session for older children.

Collaborative end-of-session evaluations help members provide learning continuity across sessions. These discussions guide future planning, and support adults to extend children’s interests. A next step is to improve records of children's learning.

The centre is well managed by a small group of capable leaders, who are exploring strategies to support ongoing centre sustainability. Encouraging other centre members to actively contribute and take greater responsibility for centre operations, and including specific goals in the centre's long-term planning could help promote continuity and sustainability.

The Association management team has a strong commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and having a bicultural partnership with whānau Māori. This commitment is evident in Association operations and in support provided for centres.

The Association currently has effective governance and management practices. A voluntary executive committee takes responsibility for specific management and centre support tasks. Good systems help them to monitor the quality of programmes, adult education levels, and health and safety requirements. The management team provides professional leadership to help centres respond to changes, particularly as they transition to the new national and regional structure.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for centre members are to:

  • continue to strengthen long-term planning for the centre generally, and for its sustainability in particular

  • strengthen the evaluation of how well centre goals are being met

  • keep improving records of children's learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

17 November 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


Great Barrier Island

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 13 Girls 9

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent led

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

17 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

July 2007

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.