Cornwall Park Playcentre - 12/08/2019

1 Evaluation of Cornwall Park Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Cornwall Park Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Cornwall Park Playcentre is located in Hastings and operates under the umbrella of Playcentre Aotearoa. The parent-led service is licensed to provide mixed-age sessional education and care for 28 children four days a week. This includes 15 children up to the age of two.

Since the November 2016 ERO report, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation has restructured by amalgamating all associations to form Playcentre Aotearoa. Cornwall Park Playcentre is part of the Lower North Island regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons. A challenge for centre members is the ongoing discussion about the future use of the playcentre building that is owned by Hastings District Council.

Centre support workers and centre administrators employed by Playcentre Aotearoa regularly visit playcentres. Their role is to provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Centre members share the duties associated with implementing the programme.

The previous ERO report for Cornwall Park Playcentre identified that development of internal evaluation practice and assessment, planning and evaluation was needed. Centre members have made positive progress in responding to these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of nine reviews in Playcentre Aotearoa, Lower North Island.

The Review Findings

The centre philosophy is an expression of what families want for their children. It reflects Playcentre Aotearoa's philosophy 'whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together' of parent-led education, learning through play and the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Positive and respectful relationships are evident and encourage a sense of belonging. Programme provision for infants focuses on nurturing their wellbeing through responsive caregiving. Older children's active exploration through play and engagement in their learning is encouraged by attentive centre members. They participate enthusiastically in a varied range of planned and spontaneous activities. The child-initiated programme is responsive to their current and emerging interests. Children direct their own learning, create their own challenges and problem-solve independently. A positive tone is evident.

Centre members increasingly acknowledge and value the cultural identity of Māori learners, linked to place and identity. Te ao Māori is becoming a meaningful part of children’s daily experiences. Parents continue to develop their understandings of culturally responsive practices.

Thoughtfully considered strategies support children and their families’ induction in to the centre. Children’s transitions to school are acknowledged and celebrated. Centre members consider ways to share information so that children’s confidence and capability at playcentre transfers to the new entrant classrooms.

Parents provides collaborative leadership and value the skills and knowledge of each other. The growing participation to the adult education programme impacts positively on the quality of the sessions. There is a deliberate commitment to improving internal evaluation. Planned and spontaneous review is used to reflect on aspects of practice.

Playcentre Aotearoa are reviewing their strategic plan. The 2014 to 2019 plan identifies useful priorities and goals towards achieving the Playcentre vision. Further consideration by centre members is needed to develop useful objectives and success criteria for Cornwall Park Playcentre that align to the service's annual plan. Playcentre Aotearoa and members should continue to use internal evaluation to identify how well their practices improve outcomes for children.

The centre support worker provides written reports that generally affirm environmental developments and programme practices. These records are beginning to focus on outcomes for children and next steps for centre members to improve teaching and learning. Reports should focus on providing centre members with evaluative feedback that assists them to sustain and further enhance the good practice.

Appraisal for the centre support workers, centre administrators and session facilitators requires improving. Further attention should be given to developing deliberate strategies for working towards educators' inquiry goals and making links to relevant professional learning and development. Supporting staff to strengthen their knowledge of high quality practice should be a key next step.

Key Next Steps

Playcentre Aotearoa should further support centre members to:

  • deepen assessment, planning and evaluation processes

  • align the centre's annual plan and objectives with the Playcentre Aotearoa strategic plan to strengthen internal evaluation and improve outcomes for children.

Playcentre Aotearoa should:

  • improve appraisal processes for the centre support workers, centre administrators and session facilitators to enhance their professional growth.

  • continue to support leaders to build centre members' understanding of effective internal evaluation through ongoing mentoring that helps them to measure the impact of practices on children’s learning.

ERO's evaluation shows that increased oversight and guidance from the organisation is needed to progress the playcentres' areas for development and to better meet legislative requirements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Cornwall Park 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

12 August 2019

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

28 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 13, Girls 12

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

12 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2016

Education Review

January 2014

Education Review

September 2010

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.