Coromandel Playcentre - 04/12/2019

1 Evaluation of Coromandel Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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


Coromandel Playcentre is situated in the small coastal township of Coromandel, next to the local Area school. It is licensed for 30 children, including 13 children up to the age of two years. At the time of this review 15 children were enrolled, including seven Māori children. The playcentre is currently open for Tuesday and Friday sessions.

During 2018 and 2019, Playcentre transitioned from operating as 32 regional associations that were individual legal entities, to becoming one national body, Playcentre Aotearoa. This was legally amalgamated in June 2019. Six new regional offices are moving to streamline and standardise support across the country. The Central North Island Region was created and covers a large geographical area with a total of 94 centres, both urban and rural.

The governing body has recently appointed a centre support and centre administrator to provide support for the parent-led committee of members at Coromandel Playcentre. Parent members fill the key committee roles at the playcentre.

Through its national philosophy, Playcentre Aotearoa places emphasis on 'whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together'. They empower adults and children to play, work and grow together and value and affirm parents as first and best educators of their children.

The April 2016 ERO evaluation identified the need for members to increase their knowledge of te reo and te ao Māori and make links with local hapū and iwi. This remains an area to strengthen.

This review was part of a cluster of four reviews in the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region.

The Review Findings

The curriculum strongly reflects the interests, knowledge and skills that children and their whānau bring with them. Literacy and science are well integrated in the centre's programme. A recent self review of resources has resulted in increased opportunities for children to explore and make sense of their world. Review should be an ongoing process to respond in particular to older learners, to extend and challenge their learning. Children up to the age of two years attend with their families and develop trusting relationships with a small group of familiar adults and older children. Children develop a sense of belonging at the centre.

The newly appointed centre support worker, and the re-introduction of adult training in the area, support members to strengthen their knowledge of New Zealand's early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. Children have rich and attractively presented portfolios. The quality of assessment reflects the level of knowledge and training that a member has engaged with. Playcentre members should consider strengthening the use of multiple voices in portfolios to share their skills and knowledge. This should further support the portfolios to build the identities of all children as successful learners.

Children benefit from having their parents support them as first teachers. Oral language is supported by high adult-to-child ratios and regular learning conversations. Social competency is supported by some adults accessing community funded professional development. To further strengthen members' knowledge of positive guidance strategies, they should develop a shared understanding of useful strategies and follow the newly developed national policy recommendations. Leaders have identified that a useful next step is to access resources and information to further support understanding of diverse learning needs. Developing relationships with the adjacent school is supporting older learners to transition.

A focus for leaders since the previous ERO evaluation has been to keep the playcentre sustainable through a period of restructure. The centre was left for a significant period of time with insufficient support from governance. New support is having a positive impact on the operation of the centre. The local philosophy has recently been reviewed. Leaders understand parent and whānau aspirations and expectations. They work collaboratively and responsively to achieve these. Members ensure that the environment is attractive and well maintained. Internal evaluation has been strengthened and is leading to positive outcomes for children.

During the transition period there is some overlap between associations and the new national or regional systems and processes. National policies and an online management tool are currently being delivered throughout the new region. Management need to ensure that support is in place for local centres to fully implement these. A revised adult education training course has recently been offered across the region to support adults grow in their capabilities and knowledge. The overarching strategic plan, philosophy and vision of Playcentre Aotearoa, and individual centre annual plans, have been implemented and guide direction.

A particular strength of Playcentre Aotearoa is the two-house governance model, enabling tangata whenua and tauiwi to work within their own cultural processes to contribute to organisational decisions. Te Whare Tikanga Māori promotes self-determination for Māori members through regular hui, targeted funding and a long-term strategic plan to promote te ao Māori and encourage enrolments from Māori whānau.

This national initiative is yet to impact on practice for Māori learners at Coromandel Playcentre. Some elements of te ao Māori are present within the environment. Centre leaders should consider how to best use the leadership and knowledge of their whānau Māori. This will further support Māori learners to achieve success and for all learners to appreciate the importance of our Aotearoa's rich bicultural heritage.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for Coromandel Playcentre are to consider ways to build capacity and share knowledge of:

  • committee roles to ensure sustainability for the centre

  • positive guidance strategies and information relating to diverse learning needs

  • te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and knowledge of local Māori history and legends to enrich the curriculum.


New support and professional development is in place for the centre. Those in governance and local members should continue to strengthen their relationships and align systems and processes to the new national directives.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Coromandel 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.

In order to improve current practice, accurate record keeping aligned to the new policies is required, particularly in relation to retaining documentation of fire evacuation drills and excursions out of the centre.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services 

Central Region

4 December 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

30 children, including up to 13 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 11 Female 4

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

4 December 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2016

Education Review

January 2013

Education Review

December 2009

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.