Ashburton Playcentre - 21/06/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Ashburton Playcentre is one of eight playcentres managed by the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association. The association provides the framework and support for the operation of the centre. The parents and supervisors are responsible for the daily management of the centre and the programme provided for children. High child to adult ratios are maintained at mixed-age sessions.

Ashburton Playcentre provides good quality education and care for children. Children experience warm and affirming relationships. The supervisor and parents respect children and encourage them to make choices about their play and learning. They ask a good range of questions that help children to build upon their ideas and solve problems.

Children participate in sustained and meaningful play. They make effective use of the wide range of equipment and resources to explore and develop their understanding of the wider world. Literacy and numeracy are well integrated into the programme.

Association personnel provide a good range of support and training for parents. They help parents ensure the centre maintains a high level of health and safety. They provide programmes and guidance to help supervisors and parents develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to successfully manage the centre and promote positive learning outcomes for all children.

ERO, the association managers, the supervisor and parents agree that the next steps to improve children’s learning include:

  • extending curriculum self review
  • making better use of children's assessment to plan for children’s learning
  • increasing understanding, knowledge of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage among the children and their families.

Future Action

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

2 Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. To reach these findings ERO evaluates:

  • Pou Whakahaere – how governance and management determines the service’s vision/philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pou Ārahi – how the leadership and capability of all involved, including educators, enhances positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is implemented to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning reflect diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of partnerships with whānau and self review. ERO evaluates how well placed the centre is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at Ashburton Playcentre.

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


Children and families from the town and the rural community attend this centre. Parents have chosen this centre so that they can be actively involved in all aspects of their children’s early childhood years.

The playcentre philosophy states that the centre operates as a parent cooperative where parents are recognised as the child’s first and best educator. The family unit is valued, promoted and supported. Each child is accepted, nurtured and provided with a stimulating and creative environment. Te Tiriti o Waitangi is reflected in the centre environment and culture.

This review was conducted as part of a trial of ERO’s revised approaches to reviews in early childhood education services. The trial used a cluster approach for the reviews of eight playcentres within the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association umbrella organisation.

Areas of strength

Children experience warm and affirming relationships with the supervisor and parents. Older children readily play with and support younger children. Children are confident and happy in the playcentre environment.

Parents support each other and willingly look after each other's children and share responsibilities within the playcentre. Parents told ERO that a strength of playcentre is the time that they can spend with their own children and be part of their learning. They make good use of the parent education programme to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence as parents and educators of their children.

The supervisor and parents respect children and encourage them to make choices about their play and learning. They give children the time and space that that they need to actively explore and develop their own ideas and understandings. Children participate in sustained and meaningful play individually and in small, mixed-age groups.

Children’s learning is promoted by the way the supervisor and parents ask a range of questions that help them to extend their thinking, develop ideas and solve problems. The wide range of equipment and resources is well used to help children explore and develop their understanding of the wider world.

Children have many opportunities to develop literacy and mathematical skills. The supervisor and parents make good use of children’s interests to introduce these concepts within the context of their play. Story reading is well integrated into the programme.

The supervisor and parents are well supported by the association in the day-to-day operation, parent training and leadership within the centre.

Areas for development and review

ERO, the association managers and centre parents agree that the next steps to improve learning outcomes for children include:

  • developing a shared understanding and use of planned and spontaneous curriculum self review
  • using assessment and planning documentation to identify children’s learning and progress and ways that parents can support this learning
  • increasing the understanding and inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori in consultation with families of Māori children and the wider Māori community
  • making closer links between the strategic plan, self review, supervisor appraisal and training to strengthen sustainability and capacity at association and centre levels.

3 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Ashburton 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 documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

4 Future Action

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

21 June 2012

About the Centre



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Full Licence, Sessional Playcentre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Playcentre roll


Gender composition

Girls 30; Boys 22

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

21 June 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

March 2009

August 2005

May 2001