Blueskin Playcentre - 07/02/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

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

Blueskin Playcentre is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.


Blueskin Playcentre is one of 37 playcentres administered by the Otago Playcentre Association (OPA) The centre has recently moved to new premises on the Waitati School grounds after many months of hard work and concentrated effort. The centre is the only early childhood service in Waitati.

The centre has increased its roll and provides two morning sessions a week for up to 25 children aged birth-to-five years. The vision is to be a fully parent-led cooperative. As the centre moves to parent-led sessions, parents will need to explore with the centre advisor how they will meet all the session requirements and fulfil their responsibilities. A group of parents is working towards completing the playcentre training to achieve this vision. Planning is underway to further develop the outdoor area.

The centre priorities since the last review have been on securing and establishing new premises. As a result, little progress has been made in addressing the recommendations of the May 2009, education review. Those recommendations are the same as the findings of this review. However, the centre is well placed to address these.

This review was conducted as part of a cluster approach to reviews in fifteen early childhood education services within the OPA umbrella organisation.

The Review Findings

The Blueskin Playcentre is a vibrant parent cooperative. The centre has strong links with the Waitati and surrounding community and receives good community support. The parents see the centre as a place for them and their children to learn. They are very involved in the management and operation of the centre. The parents are passionate about being their children’s first educators.

Children and their families benefit from strong relationships with one another. Children have good friendships with each other. The parents work alongside their children as they play. Children and parents have fun together. Parents support children in their learning through meaningful and nurturing conversations with them. For example, they support children to learn how to take turns and develop friendships.

Parents have a good understanding of what learning is important for their children. This includes following the child’s lead and supporting and extending their play and thinking. Children enjoy many outings into the local community.

There is a wide range of resources and experiences provided indoors and outdoors. The resources are good quality. Good use is made of natural resources.

Infants and toddlers are particularly well provided for. There are many resources to interest and intrigue this age group. The parents and some of the older children have sensitive interactions with them.

Many of the parents use te reo Māori in the programme with the children. There are many features of the programme and practices that integrate Māori perspectives. This includes protocols, such as, shoes off indoors and not putting chairs on the tables.

The centre has very good links with Waitati school. The school is accessed through a connecting gate and school children often visit the centre during their playtimes. When children transition to school the school welcomes the child with a mihi whakatau and they are officially farewelled by the playcentre.

The centre roll has grown and the centre is managed by a motivated and committed parent council. They have developed an ongoing strategic vision and plan for their centre. Policies are regularly reviewed according to OPA expectations. In-depth self review is in the very early stages. The next step is for the parents to:

  • develop a shared understanding of self review
  • develop a schedule for review
  • use self review in meaningful, manageable ways to show improvements over time in key aspects of the programme and practices.

There is a good system for programme planning. The next step is for parents and educators to:

  • continue to build their knowledge and confidence with using this system for planning
  • use the planning to guide their interactions, and the resources and experiences they provide, to promote and extend children’s learning.

Governance and Management

Blueskin Playcentre has received extensive support from the OPA throughout its building programme. In addition the Otago Playcentre Association (OPA) provides a comprehensive range of support to this and other playcentres. This includes:

  • developing an action plan for all centres to be relicensed with the 2008 Regulations
  • managing an association-wide system for all aspects of health, safety and compliance
  • ongoing support for employment processes
  • targeted support for playcentres requiring additional assistance
  • ongoing provision of playcentre training.

The OPA executive and personnel hold regular meetings with a specific focus on each centre. They discuss best ways to support individual centres. Records from these meetings could be more specific about what support is provided and the difference it has made.

A strength of the OPA is the ongoing support provided by the centre advisors. The centre advisor effectively supports the parents and educators at this centre to develop their understanding of planning and assessment and self review.

Centre advisors should continue to build their knowledge and understanding of self review. They should use each centre's self review as evidence to assure the governors of the OPA how well the playcentre is promoting positive outcomes for children.

OPA personnel need to further develop their understanding of self review and use the findings of self review to assure themselves of the effectiveness of their strategic goals and all aspects of the OPA management and operations.

The OPA governors have a sound policy framework to support the playcentre.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Blueskin 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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

7 February 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service


Waitati, Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Playcentre - Sessional

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 12

Boys: 12

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent lead educators with playcentre training

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Exceeds minimum requirements


Over 2


Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

7 February 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2009
February 2008
February 2005