Freemans Bay Playcentre - 25/05/2015

1 Evaluation of Freemans Bay Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Freemans Bay Playcentre is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children. 

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


Freemans Bay Playcentre is an established parent cooperative that serves a multicultural suburb close to the Auckland city centre. Members provide sessional education and care for children from birth to school age, five days a week in a mixed age group. The centre is licensed to provide for 28 children including up to 15 less than two years of age. Children and their parents/whānau are encouraged to attend regularly. As children become more familiar with Playcentre, they are able to attend some sessions without an adult. The parent group takes collective responsibility for independent children.

The centre follows the Playcentre philosophy, and members have also recorded their own philosophy statement to guide their work with children.

The centre operates as part of the Auckland Playcentres Association, which provides Playcentre adult education, frameworks of policies and procedures and support from Association personnel. Each Playcentre contributes to the make-up of the Association and has representatives at Association level.

At present the Playcentre Federation is undertaking a restructure with the aim of maintaining the viability of Playcentres throughout New Zealand. This is likely to change the current structure of the Auckland Playcentres Association.

The 2012 ERO report identified centre members’ good practices and provisions in providing programmes for children. The report also identified a growing roll, and the intention of the centre to continue to develop the bicultural content of the programme.

This review was part of a cluster of nine Playcentre reviews in the Auckland Playcentres Association.

The Review Findings

Freemans Bay Playcentre members continue to provide high quality programmes for children. Centre members work well together, honouring the Playcentre expectation that the centre will operate as a parent cooperative.

Centre members work well with children, talking to them and developing children’s interests and strengths. Children show a real sense of belonging in the centre and ownership of their play. They are enthusiastic about their play. Friendships and tuakana/teina relationships between children are obvious as they happily play alongside and with each other.

Children are articulate and confident about working with adults and other children. Adults support their conversations, asking questions to prompt children’s thinking. They deliberately weave literacy and mathematical concepts into play, to support children’s developing understandings.

Children are provided with a range of high quality resources. As a result of recent review, new furniture, improved lighting and internal repainting have significantly enhanced the learning environment for children. The centre gardens have also been attractively developed. Good supervision on a difficult site increases opportunities for children to explore and learn from a wide variety of activities and experiences as part of their play.

Centre members have placed significant focus on improving their planning for children. Assessment portfolios include regular observations of children’s learning and are used to guide planning for future sessions. Evaluations at the end of each session lead to sound forward thinking about extending children’s learning.

Centre members continue to develop a bicultural emphasis in the programme. They are increasing their use of te reo and practising appropriate tikanga Māori. Resources clearly reflect these efforts. Parents/whānau also make a special effort to include and value families from diverse cultures. They reflect these cultures in centre displays and resources.

The Association’s strategic plan provides a guide for governance and is regularly monitored. Management and governance processes are well established. The Association provides assistance for centres, and appropriate Playcentre training courses. It provides regular visits every term from a curriculum and programme supporter. Association office holders are highly committed to the Playcentre philosophy and to maintaining Playcentre as a valuable early childhood education option for parents/whānau.

Key Next Steps

Centre members have identified next key steps include continuing to:

  • develop links between strategic and annual planning to better guide future actions
  • support members to engage with and complete Playcentre adult education
  • strengthen bicultural practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Freemans 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Freemans Bay Playcentre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 May 2015

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


Freemans Bay, Auckland

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 20

Girls 8

Ethnic composition











Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

25 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at

Education Review

May 2012


Education Review

October 2008


Education Review

November 2005

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.