Clarkville Playcentre - 04/03/2014

1 Evaluation of Clarkville Playcentre

How well placed is Clarkville Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Clarkville Playcentre promotes positive learning outcomes for children. ERO is confident that with increased support and guidance from Canterbury Playcentre Association, the playcentre will be better placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


This playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative with parents encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the centre’s programme and operation. Playcentre philosophy is based on the belief that children reach their full potential when their parents understand their development and take part in the learning process. A coordinator with higher playcentre training takes responsibility for facilitating the programme each session. Some roles on the parent committee, such as parent group president, have not been filled.

Clarkville Playcentre is located in a rural area, adjacent to a local school. It is open for four sessions a week. Many of the children attend one session a week and often use other early childhood services in the area as well.

Since the July 2010 ERO review, there have been some changes in the parent group and coordination team. In response to ERO’s previous recommendations the parent group has made most progress in increasing parents’ involvement in assessing children’s learning and programme planning.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Canterbury Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Relationships between adults and children are positive and affirming. Parents encourage children in their play and actively praise efforts by children that acknowledge endeavour and success. Parents like the sense of family and the ways they support each other and their children within and beyond the centre. There is strong support for adults with very young babies.

Children’s learning is well supported by an expansive and attractive outdoor area. It supports children to learn about the natural world. The variety of learning activities promotes children’s curiosity, challenges their physical skills and encourages active exploration. Children have a range of opportunities to play independently, follow their own interests and choose their own learning pace.

Parents actively promote new learning by setting up interesting activities. They regularly add new resources to sustain children’s interests. Planned experiences and excursions in the local and wider community provide meaningful links to the learning programme.

Self review has contributed to the increased involvement of parents in assessment and planning. The new ways for recording children’s learning are building parents' confidence in contributing to recording learning for other children as well as their own. Parents are focusing more on the learning that is occurring and are increasingly aware of the links to Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum.

Parents are obligated to contribute to the centre through participation in training, management and operations and the maintenance of facilities. While there are some areas for improvement there is good use made of some parents’ skills and prior experience. Parents receive good information through minutes and newsletters.

Key Next Steps

The association needs to provide better support and guidance to the parent group and coordinator. Limited progress has been made in the areas of future planning, strengthening parent involvement, increasing interactions that extend children’s learning or promoting bicultural awareness that were identified in the 2010 ERO review. Centre development would be supported by the association helping the parent group develop clearer long term plans that identify priorities for improvement and action plans to support the parent group to make progress towards their goals. ERO has requested a copy of this planning.

Children’s learning would be further supported by increasing parents' understanding and confidence in:

  • making use of interactions with children to extend their problem solving and thinking skills more
  • undertaking the roles and responsibilities of a parent cooperative and management of an early childhood service
  • self review, so that more parents are aware of, and involved in the review of centre practices, and that there is a clearer focus on evaluating the outcomes for children.

The parent group has identified, and ERO agrees, that parents also need to improve their bicultural understandings and practices. This is a current topic for their self review.

The parent group has undertaken significant work on redeveloping their planning and assessment practices. The next steps to build on these developments are to:

  • make better links between what they have identified as goals for individual children’s learning and the planning and evaluation of the daily sessions
  • support parents to use the new systems more consistently in recognising and recording the learning outcomes for children.

There is significant change occurring in the structure of governance and management at association level. The recent review of governance and management has been supported by useful and consultative processes.

The association has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps for the association include association staff:

  • providing more documented feedback to parent groups about the quality of teaching and learning, with a particular focus on interactions
  • developing a stronger understanding of the government's focus on priority learners so that they can better support parent groups to respond more effectively to these children
  • helping parent groups more effectively sustain the developments in bicultural practices
  • providing more useful guidelines to parent groups about supporting children's transition to school.

In addition a system for the regular appraisal of Centre Support Team members should be re-established.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Clarkville 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 Clarkville Playcentre will be in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

4 March 2014

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


Clarkville, North Canterbury

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 two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 18

Girls 11

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Review team on site

December 2013

Date of this report

4 March 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

July 2010


Education Review

April 2007


Education Review

April 2004

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.