Blueskin Playcentre - 08/11/2018

1 Evaluation of Blueskin Playcentre

How well placed is Blueskin 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.


Blueskin Playcentre is one of 47 playcentres within the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's South Island Southern Region (SISR). The centre operates three mornings a week and is licensed for up to 25 children, including 10 children under two. The playcentre is a fully parent-led cooperative. Parents lead the sessions and attend to the day-to-day operation of the centre.

The centre is located in the grounds of Waitati School. The playcentre children and parents have close links and involvement with the school, where many older siblings attend. The playcentre joins in with school and community activities.

Blueskin Playcentre's philosophy is based on being inclusive and welcoming to families and valuing their backgrounds and cultures. The playcentre is committed to including Māori culture and language as a living part of centre culture. The philosophy states that the children and adults will work and learn together in a safe, caring, supportive and attractive environment.

Since the last ERO review in 2013, the playcentre has made good progress in addressing the areas identified for development in the report. These areas were self review and programme planning. The centre has regular visits and receives ongoing support from a Centre Support Worker.

This review was part of a cluster of three playcentre reviews in the SISR.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from the active involvement their parents and caregivers take in their play and learning. They have opportunities to be independent in their play and are well supported when they need or choose to work with adults.

Children play and learn well in the mixed-age setting, and play across the age groups. They involve themselves in a range of activities, including imaginative and dramatic play, cooperative games, activities to help develop large and fine motor skills, and art activities. The centre is well resourced. Equipment is easily accessible to the children and presented in ways to invite participation.

Children and their parents have many opportunities to hear and use te reo Māori. The centre has introduced aspects of tikanga Māori into the practices and protocols of their centre.

Meaningful planning is contributing to interesting and rich learning. Planning for individuals and groups of children:

  • responds well to parents' thoughts, aspirations and observations

  • includes relevant goals that link to Te Whāriki, the Early Childhood Curriculum

  • is well supported by narratives that show the children's progress against set goals and provide direction for future learning

  • includes specific activities to ensure all age groups are catered for in group learning.

Parent leaders have developed useful self-review processes to identify what they are doing well and what could be improved.

Centre practices provide effective support for:

  • children to transition smoothly into playcentre and on to school

  • parents to have a deeper understanding of their children's learning and development.

At the time of this review the Otago Playcentre Association (OPA) was implementing the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's new operating model and was amalgamating with Southland and South Canterbury Playcentre Associations to become the South Island Southern Region. While the changes resulted in some disruption to the services provided to individual playcentres in 2017, the OPA are effectively managing the restructure with the resources available to them. Each playcentre now receives regular support from a paid administrator and a centre support worker. There are robust systems in the association for monitoring the progress and performance of individual playcentres, and targeted support is given when needed.

Key Next Steps

The education team and other interested parents need to explore Te Whāriki (2017) further to:

  • strengthen aspects of assessment, planning for, and evaluation of children's learning

  • identify centre-based priorities for learning

  • review and design the local curriculum to reflect the identified priorities.

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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Blueskin Playcentre will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

8 November 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


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: 13 Boys: 10

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent-led educators with Playcentre training

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

8 November 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

February 2013

Supplementary Review

May 2009

Education Review

February 2008

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.