Culverden Playcentre - 25/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Culverden Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Culverden Playcentre requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children. Many management and curriculum processes are at the early stages of development, including assessment, programme planning and internal evaluation. Understandings of bicultural perspectives and practices need to be developed.

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


The playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative, where parents are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the programme and centre operation. A centre support worker works with the parent group to support the curriculum, relationships, parent education and good health and safety practices. A centre administration team has been appointed to assist centres with administration, including aspects of health and safety monitoring.

The playcentre philosophy gives emphasis to parents as first and best teachers, and the provision of a play-based curriculum. Parents are encouraged to participate in playcentre education training to support them in their role as a parent-led early learning service. Infants, toddlers and young children play and learn in a mixed age-group setting. The playcentre serves a diverse community.

Culverden Playcentre operates two morning sessions a week. The parent-led service caters for children from birth-to-school age from the immediate small community and rural area. A challenge for the playcentre is that many families move in and out of the area for work. This has a direct impact on retaining parents who have completed training to support the operation of the playcentre. Many of the ERO recommendations in the 2014 report remain as next steps for the playcentre.

At the time of this ERO review, the playcentre was being led by a long-serving coordinator, centre president and centre support worker. There has been a recent increase in the number of parents and a refocused approach to providing positive outcomes for children. Parents are taking increasing responsibility, including a commitment to office bearing positions on the playcentre committee.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentre reviews within the national organisation of Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aotearoa - Playcentre Aotearoa.

The Review Findings

The coordinator and parent group foster positive and respectful relationships. They warmly welcome children and families into an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Adults and children are well supported to develop a positive sense of belonging at the playcentre.

Centre leaders model care and respect for children and families. They promote sensitive and nurturing interactions with and amongst children. Children are encouraged to develop social skills and friendships with others within an inclusive group of children of mixed ages, cultures and backgrounds. Older children play well with and alongside younger children.

Centre leaders work well together to promote the playcentre philosophy that values parents as first and best teachers of their children. Adults are well supported by centre leaders to be increasingly involved in decision making and take on responsibilities within the centre.

The coordinator and parent group provide a child-led curriculum that is focused on children learning through play. Children have many opportunities to make choices and to follow their interests. Adults provide a range of resources and activities to support and extend on children's interests.

Centre leaders are trialling a number of strategies to help parents document children's interests and consider the valued learning that is occurring. They are at the early stages of developing ways to promote understandings of strategic planning and internal evaluation that is meaningful for parents and focused on positive outcomes for children.

A range of useful communication approaches has been developed to enhance collaboration, share information and ensure that the views of parents are included.

Key Next Steps for Culverden Playcentre

ERO's evaluation has identified, and centre leaders agree, that the key next steps are to continue to develop and encourage:

  • parent education and course qualifications to support the sustainability of the playcentre

  • access to professional development on Te Whāriki 2017 to inform the centre philosophy, curriculum priorities and learning opportunities for children

  • understandings of children's learning and ways to support and extend on learning, particularly in regard to the provision for children under two years old

  • parent engagement in regularly documenting assessment, planning and evaluation of and for children's learning

  • greater emphasis on bicultural perspectives and practices, including the use of te reo Māori

  • the understanding and making better use of internal evaluation that is consistent and regularly monitored for positive outcomes for children.

The Canterbury Playcentre Association

Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aotearoa - Playcentre Aotearoa is undertaking major restructuring, including the amalgamation of some regions and improving systems and processes. The centre support team now have more defined roles. The centre support person provides guidance with strategic direction, internal evaluation and curriculum. The centre administration role has been developed to provide centres with administration support, including the oversight of health and safety. The centre support team provide a vital link between the parent group and Playcentre Aotearoa.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Culverden 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

During the on-site stage of the review ERO identified that the provision for sleeping children was inadequate for the number of children under two years old. Systems for monitoring sleeping children are inconsistent.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to children's learning, the quality of teaching and the quality of internal evaluation. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • provision for sleeping children

(since the on-site stage of this review the Association and playcentre have begun actions to address this concern)

  • provision for children's learning

  • the quality of teaching

  • the quality of internal evaluation.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008 HS9, C2, GMA7, GMA6

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Culverden Playcentre will be within two years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

25 June 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



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 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 13

Boys: 12

Ethnic composition







Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

25 June 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2014

August 2010

May 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 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.