Cockle Bay Playcentre - 29/08/2018

1 Evaluation of Cockle Bay Playcentre

How well placed is Cockle Bay 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.


Cockle Bay Playcentre is a parent-led cooperative and is licensed for 30 children, including 15 children up to two years of age. Centre practices are based on the Playcentre philosophy of whānau and children learning and growing together.

The centre offers five morning sessions each week. Increasing the roll is a current strategic goal for the centre. A Monday afternoon SPACE (Supporting Parents Alongside Children's Education) programme provides an introduction to Playcentre for parents with babies under one year of age. Parents also receive useful information on early learning and development. Some parents from the SPACE programme enrol their children in Playcentre sessions.

The 2015 ERO report found that children were confident learners in inclusive mixed-age play settings. These features continue to be evident. Areas for development included strategic planning, evaluating the effectiveness of planning and assessment, and extending older children's learning. Building the capacity of members to use te reo Māori was a further area for development. The centre continues to make good progress in these areas.

Playcentre Aotearoa is in the process of restructuring, moving from 32 Associations to six regional offices. The Auckland region includes 45 centres from the former Auckland, Tamaki and Counties Playcentre Associations. A regional manager oversees governance, management and administration and has a team of staff to support individual centres. Centre whānau and regional staff are in a period of transition. Regional staff are helping whānau as they adapt to new systems and responsibilities.

This review was part of a cluster of six Playcentre reviews in the Auckland region.

The Review Findings

Children are secure, settled and happy. A welcoming atmosphere is created for children, parents and visitors through respectful and responsive interactions. The strong relationships at this centre provide opportunities for families to connect and form friendships and a sense of community. Effective centre leadership and a recently developed induction process help new members to settle into the centre.

Adults work collaboratively, ensuring that children can make choices and enjoy uninterrupted play and learning opportunities. Thoughtfully provided resources and well arranged indoor and outdoor environments support children's sustained exploration. Centre members have ensured that a separate calm area with appropriate resources is available for infants. Parents have access to comfortable spaces to feed infants as needed.

The centre has deliberately formed a close connection with the natural environment in the adjacent domain, and participates in community restoration initiatives. This connection provides children and families with an opportunity to experience a sense of kaitiakitanga.

Centre members have developed a shared understanding of bicultural practices through a recent internal evaluation. They are aware of and appreciate the importance of incorporating te reo Māori me ngā tikanga Māori in centre practices. To improve consistency, members should continue to support each other with the daily inclusion of bicultural practices.

The centre celebrates events that are significant to families' diverse cultures, with all families having an opportunity to take leadership roles. Families report that they feel confident in their own cultural identity within the centre community.

Parents/whānau are interested in and engage with children's play and learning. They notice what children are doing and saying, and document some of the learning and discussions in well-presented individual portfolios. The quality of these assessment records varies depending on the adult's level of experience. To achieve consistency of practice, members should develop a shared understanding about using learning stories to record children's progress and learning over time.

Centre members meet regularly to plan the programme. Planning discussions occur in daily session evaluations and a termly LEAP (learning, evaluation, assessment, and planning) meeting. Planning would be improved by members reflecting on how effectively they have contributed to children's learning and what else they could do to support and extend learning. They should also consider incorporating children's ideas and contribution in planning future extensions to learning.

Internal evaluation uses a sound framework and is improvement focused, regular, and linked to the strategic plan. Developing ways to revisit and sustain improved practices would help to maximise the positive impact of internal evaluation.

Collaborative leadership enables opportunities for all members to extend and share their knowledge and skills. Newly appointed regional personnel are making progress building on existing systems and establishing regional management structures for supporting centres. Centre support workers are guided by regional centre support coordinators. Systems are being developed for monitoring the quality of programmes for children, adult education levels, and health and safety requirements.

The regional management team takes responsibility for specific tasks relating to effective operations of individual Playcentres. The team is aware of the unique strengths and needs of each centre and provides professional leadership to sustain improvement, growth and the focus on fostering positive learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that to improve the quality of programmes for children, they should continue to:

  • reflect on their practices to help them identify ways to better support and extend children's learning

  • develop understanding about and build capability in recording learning stories

  • strengthen the quality of planning and evaluation.

In order to improve and strengthen practice, the regional leaders should continue to:

  • revisit the commitment to Te Tiriti partnership, and to increase bicultural understandings and the integration of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori in centre practices

  • clarify and upskill centre support roles

  • build regional office capability to embed new adult education programmes and qualifications

  • improve the understanding and use of internal evaluation as a tool to guide practices

  • develop, evaluate and report against regional long-term and annual action plans that align with goals for improvement at national and regional levels

  • embed the new Playcentre structure and systems and evaluate how effectively they support all children, including Pacific children and children with additional needs.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Cockle Bay 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.

Repairing the asphalt in the outdoor playground would improve provision for children's safety.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

29 August 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


Cockle Bay, Auckland

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

Girls 15 Boys 15

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent Led

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

29 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

November 2010

Education Review

September 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.