Belmont Playcentre - 17/06/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Belmont Playcentre is well placed to sustain positive outcomes for children. Families’ strong sense of commitment and willingness to become involved in leadership roles and training should enable it to continue to sustain and improve practice.


The playcentre is one of 18 administered by the Hutt Playcentre Association (the association). Bicultural partnership is integral to the way the association operates. An executive committee provides guidance and support for centre members. This includes leadership for strategic planning, financial management and policy development and for decisions related to the education programme, property and equipment. A kaitautoko, a centre support person employed by the association, visits and provides professional advice, feedback and role modelling to strengthen practice and promote improvement. The recently commenced review of the association’s structure, supported by an external consultant, is aimed at improving the operation and ensuring the sustainability of playcentres.

The centre runs four mixed-age sessions per week and one session for children aged over three and a half years. The majority of centre members undertake playcentre training with high numbers attaining the course two (Te Puna) and three (Te Manga) certificates.

The recently reviewed philosophy emphasises the importance of play, learning, friends and community. Having parents learning alongside children is valued. Leaders and members are committed to following Playcentre philosophy.

Development of the outdoor play space continues to be a focus for members.

The playcentre was recently relicensed under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. It has a positive reporting history with ERO.

This review was conducted as part of a cluster approach to reviews in eight early childhood education services within the Hutt Playcentre Association.

Review Findings

Members’ inclusive and well considered approach provides good support for a diverse range of learning needs. All children are encouraged to investigate, explore, interact with others and have fun. Adults are responsive and purposeful in their engagement particularly in relation to promoting social and language learning. Infants and toddlers are valued members of the playcentre community and are given consideration in planning for learning. Support for families making the transition to school is an area which would be timely to review and possibly further develop.

The playcentre environment effectively supports children's independence and confidence as learners. Members maintain a wide variety of high quality resources and learning materials which are well organised and freely available to children. The outdoor area supports physically active play and adventurous activities. Sustained free play and creative self expression are encouraged. Literacy is well integrated into the programme in the context of play. A calm and positive tone is evident. Children are cooperative, friendly and settled.

The association actively promotes bicultural partnership. A Māori perspective is evident in the environment, programme and some interactions between parents and children. Members continue to support each other to use Māori language and protocols.

Centre members have a purposeful and flexible approach to planning the programme. Ideas are carefully considered and well communicated to build on parents’ views about their own children's needs and the emerging interests of others as they attend daily sessions. Learning records are well presented showing aspects of children's participation and learning at playcentre. Daily discussion and sharing of information about session happenings and individual children’s interests, support decisions about further planning. Parents are well supported to recognise learning linked to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and to participate in planning for learning.

The friendly culture, well developed communication and support for each other fosters parents’ confidence and willingness to become involved in leadership roles and training. Adults take pride in being part of a learning community, alongside their children. Families display a strong sense of belonging and commitment to the playcentre philosophy.

Self review is valued and strongly promoted by the association. Good frameworks are in place to support members’ practice. Long term plans highlight priorities for development both of the learning programme and centre operation. Parents are reflective and make regular opportunities for discussion about the children and programme, aimed at improvement.

The kaitautoko provides regular and valued feedback to support members’ practice. A more formalised approach focused on developing particular skills and knowledge is likely to strengthen reflection on practice over time.

The association has a proactive approach to governance. It effectively works alongside members to support self management. The centre makes good use of association systems and processes to ensure legislative requirements are met, good practice is sustained and improvement is promoted.

Key Next Steps

Further development is needed to strengthen centre members approach to assessment, planning and evaluation. New processes to help members are starting to be implemented. These include:

  • identifying next learning steps and following up on these ideas to show progress
  • emphasising the learning underpinning activities
  • enhancing children's ownership of their portfolios by making them more accessible increasing opportunities for children to reflect on their learning
  • using more te reo Māori in portfolios.

Members need to further develop their understanding and use of self review. Support to use some association frameworks more effectively, particularly those that build quality improvement, should strengthen their approach.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Belmont 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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

17 June 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service


Lower Hutt

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 19, Girls 12

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Other ethnic groups





Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2

1 : 1

Exceeds minimum requirements


Over 2

1 : 3

Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

17 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

June 2006

October 2003

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.