Beachlands/Maraetai Playcentre - 29/08/2018

1 Evaluation of Beachlands/Maraetai Playcentre

How well placed is Beachlands/Maraetai 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.


Beachlands/Maraetai Playcentre is a parent-led cooperative and is situated on the grounds of Beachlands Primary School. Centre practices are based on the Playcentre philosophy of whānau and children learning and growing together. Centre members have good levels of Playcentre adult education qualifications and are supported well by experienced regional Playcentre personnel.

The centre is licensed for 30 children, including 15 up to the age of two years. It provides four mixed-age sessions each week. A Big Kids specialised outdoor programme for older children is held at Omana Regional Park once a week. Two paid supervisors facilitate this session. A Centre Support Worker (CSW) meets regularly with centre members and offers assistance where needed.

ERO's 2014 report noted that children were settled and confident, and their learning was based on their interests. The learning environment promoted physical and imaginative challenges. These positive features are still evident. Areas for development included building mathematics knowledge, programme planning and evaluation, establishing annual goals and self-review practices. Centre members have made very good progress in addressing these areas.

Playcentre Aotearoa is in the process of restructuring, moving from 32 Associations to six regional offices. The Auckland region includes 45 centres from the former Auckland, Tamaki and Counties Playcentre Associations. A regional manager oversees governance, management and administration and has a team of staff to support individual centres. Centre whānau and regional staff are in a period of transition. Regional staff are helping whānau as they adapt to new systems and responsibilities.

This review was part of a cluster of six Playcentre reviews in the Auckland region.

The Review Findings

Children are self-assured, inquisitive and friendly learners. They actively engage in sustained periods of play. Children are articulate and initiate conversations. They respect others as they play cooperatively and alongside one another. Children explore, make discoveries and have good opportunities to make choices about their play. Excursions, centre events and connections with the neighbouring school add to children's learning experiences. A feature of the programme is the opportunity for older children to be involved in the Big Kids experience.

Adults are committed to learning together with their children as kaiako. They value, celebrate and affirm children. The programme is responsive, inclusive and promotes rich experiences for children. Kaiako provide a physical environment that is well defined, richly resourced and conducive to learning. Intentional teaching supports children's learning. Kaiako place an emphasis on the promotion of literacy, mathematics, science and creativity.

Whānau are committed to strengthening bicultural practices throughout the programme. They are growing their skills and understanding around te ao Māori and te reo me ōna tikanga Māori.

Kaiako have a shared understanding of children's interests and needs. This is well documented in children's individual portfolios. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, guides the child-led programme. Adults regularly discuss children's learning and collaboratively plan for individual and group interests. End of session, monthly and termly evaluations contribute to future planning.

Centre leaders have a strong commitment to the philosophy and goals of the service. Good support from past and present members helps to build newer members' capability and knowledge. Meaningful professional development for whānau impacts positively on programmes and practices. A clear framework guides internal evaluation and contributes to a culture of ongoing improvement.

The centre's strategic direction is well documented and reviewed regularly. Annual planning aligns with the strategic plan and is discussed at monthly meetings. Members are beginning to explore options for succession planning.

Collaborative leadership provides opportunities for all centre members to extend and share their knowledge and skills. Newly appointed regional personnel are making progress building on existing systems and establishing regional management structures for supporting centres. Centre support workers are guided by regional centre support coordinators. Systems are being developed for monitoring the quality of programmes for children, adult education levels, and health and safety requirements.

The regional management team takes responsibility for specific tasks relating to the effective operation of individual centres. The team is aware of the unique strengths and needs of each centre and provides professional leadership to sustain improvement, growth and the focus on fostering positive learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that their next steps include:

  • strengthening evaluative thinking and their documentation of internal evaluation

  • continuing to strengthen bicultural practices and the promotion of cultural diversity

  • providing further opportunities for children to develop leadership

  • the implementation of succession planning strategies.

In order to improve and strengthen practice, the regional leaders should continue to:

  • revisit the commitment to Te Tiriti partnership, and to increase bicultural understandings and the integration of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori in centre practices

  • clarify and upskill centre support roles

  • build regional office capability to embed new adult education programmes and qualifications

  • improve the understanding and use of internal evaluation as a tool to guide practices

  • develop, evaluate and report against regional long-term and annual action plans that align with goals for improvement at national and regional levels

  • embed the new Playcentre structure and systems and evaluate how effectively they support all children, including Pacific children and children with additional needs.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Beachlands/Maraetai 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 Beachlands/Maraetai Playcentre will be in three years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

29 August 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


Beachlands, Auckland

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 20 Girls 16

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

June 2018

Date of this report

29 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

August 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.