Brooklyn Playcentre - 09/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Brooklyn Playcentre

How well placed is Brooklyn 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.


Brooklyn Playcentre is one of 19 parent-led early childhood centres governed and administered by the Wellington Playcentre Association (the association). It is licensed to provide mixed-age, sessional education and care for 24 children four mornings a week. This includes provision for 18 children up to the age of two at any one time. 

A council, of elected volunteer representatives from each of the association's member centres oversees operation of the association at the governance level. Their work is assisted by an operations manager and general manager.

An executive committee administers the adult education programme and tutors provide timely guidance and support for members. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders.  

A centre support worker is employed to visit the centre and provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. The support worker's more formalised role was developed after the 2014 ERO review that identified the need for a more effective response by the association to the needs of individual centres. 

The association philosophy, Whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together, is articulated as empowering parents and children to learn, grow and play together and underpins practice. This was reaffirmed by the association and Brooklyn Playcentre at their 2016 annual general meetings and guides service provision and practice for their learning community.

Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Each session is supported by a duty team of parent educators who hold playcentre training certificates. All centre members participate in the playcentre courses and in the additional adult education programme provided by the association. The centre has sustained high numbers over time enabling parents to be actively involved in their child's education.

Brooklyn Playcentre has a positive reporting history with ERO and responded proactively to the areas identified for improvement in the 2014 ERO review. The report identified that centre leaders would benefit from association support to further develop a more bicultural perspective, assessment, planning and self-review practices. Since this review, the centre’s bicultural journey has been planned and deliberate.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation, of which the Wellington Association is part, is planning a significant restructure for 2017. Playcentres will be grouped in regional hubs, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

The review was part of a cluster of nine in the Wellington Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children's learning is meaningful and responsive to their interests. Their holistic development is enhanced through engagement in child-initiated, play-based learning. Te Whāriki and Playcentre philosophy underpin centre practice. Assessment, curriculum planning and evaluation practices provide adults with timely and useful information that help them plan. Children's progress, their developing skills, knowledge and attributes are celebrated in individual learning portfolios.

Children’s early learning experience is well supported by strong, effective leadership from the centre support person and duty teams. Helpful strategies are in place to assist newer members document and record children's learning and progress.

A sense of collective responsibility for children and high levels of community involvement are evident.  Members are a diverse group of enthusiastic parents and whānau who bring valuable skills and knowledge to their roles. Well-developed systems support the smooth day-to- day running of the playcentre.  Children have a positive platform for learning.

The inclusion of te ao Māori as an integral part of children's daily experience has strengthened through ongoing internal evaluation. A comprehensive internal evaluation was undertaken, during 2014, to discover how well the association and centres included te reo me ngā tikanga Māori as part of a culturally rich, responsive curriculum.

Brooklyn Playcentre participated in this process and carried out a further evaluation in late 2016. Planning is strengthened by the up-skilling of members in te reo Māori, who bring their new knowledge and enthusiasm to the sessions. Increasing use of te reo Māori by children and members is evident.

The dual purpose of self review for accountability and improvement is well understood and guides ongoing decision-making. Planning priorities are aligned to the service and association vision and positioned to improve teaching and learning.

In 2015, a review identified the need to better meet the learning of a group of four year olds. A successful pilot, and now an established weekly session, has used the context of weekly outdoor play sessions to introduce extension and challenge to the curriculum for these children. Self-review practices have had a positive impact on children’s social development and learning.

Members are aware of the importance of maintaining the continuity of learning across all sessions to ensure that all children’s learning needs are recognised and met. Effective systems to collate and communicate observations about children’s developing interests and skills inform planning and assessment. 

Well-considered transition processes for children and parents new to the centre enable them to become part of the learning community. Parents are mentored by more experienced members who model an open collaborative approach.

Well-chosen age-appropriate equipment and effective session planning enables and supports children of all ages to play and learn together. The centre is responsive to and provides well for the up to two year olds and for all children. Successful transition to school is enabled through reciprocal information sharing and visits between the centre and the local school.

Key Next Steps

Association and centre leaders should continue to improve outcomes for children and families by using internal evaluation effectively to ensure the very good practice occurring is sustained and prioritised developments are achieved.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Brooklyn 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 Brooklyn Playcentre will be in four years. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 May 2017 

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

24 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

22 Boys, 14 Girls

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

9 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

September 2010

Education Review

November 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.