Granity/Ngakawau Playcentre - 18/08/2016

1 Evaluation of Granity/Ngakawau Playcentre

How well placed is Granity/Ngakawau 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.


Granity/ Ngakawau Playcentre is a remote playcentre in Granity, a small settlement half an hour's drive north of Westport. It is located in the grounds of Granity School and provides for up to 26 children from birth to school age.

The centre roll has been lower over the last two years as families have moved out of the district. However, a change in session hours in 2016 and the efforts of a hard-working, dedicated group of parents has seen increased enrolments and improved attendance. About eight children currently attend the twice-weekly sessions.

The sessions are led by a paid team leader and playcentre members who are gaining playcentre qualifications by being involved in adult-education training provided by the association.

Granity/ Ngakawau Playcentre is one of nine playcentres within the Buller/Westland Playcentre Association. Three of these playcentres operate as certified playgroups. The association consists of a core group of dedicated paid and elected members. It provides a framework for centre management and operations, as well as parent-education programmes and personnel to support centre members.

The Buller/Westland Playcentre Association is experiencing a time of change as all playcentre associations throughout New Zealand merge with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF) to reduce duplication and make cost savings. This restructure will mean significant changes at the local association level.

The 2012 ERO report noted some areas for review and development including planning, assessment and self review (internal evaluation), and some aspects of health and safety. Some progress has been made, however with the turnover of families coming into and moving on from the playcentre these are areas to continue to develop. There is now adequate risk-management planning for outings and excursions and the centre has strategies to ensure that children do not leave the premises without an adult in attendance.

This review was part of a cluster of five playcentre reviews in the Buller/Westland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Granity/ Ngakawau Playcentre provides a sense of belonging for adults and children. The playcentre has become a supportive, welcoming community for families.

Children are very settled and a sense of tuakana-teina is evident in the way older children play alongside younger children. There is an interesting area provided for babies to safely and freely explore.

Children benefit from the close attention they receive from the team leader and centre members. Adults join children in their play, follow their lead and extend their ideas. The adults provide many interesting and varied experiences for children to discover and enjoy. These include science, baking and exuberant singing sessions. The indoor and outdoor areas are inviting and well resourced.

Children regularly hear te reo Māori and sing waiata. The environment reflects Māori perspectives. For example children's mihi are displayed, and there are many visual prompts to help parents with simple te reo Māori phrases.

The programme that the team leader and other centre members provide for children is underpinned by the overarching NZPF philosophy of whānau and children learning together in an enjoyable and nurturing learning environment. The team leader and centre members now need to develop a Granity/Ngakawau Playcentre philosophy that is meaningful to their community. It should highlight what learning is valued and important and what are their shared values and beliefs.

Most parents are involved in the playcentre adult-education training programme. Planning, assessment and evaluation processes are developing. Parents have very recently begun to write learning stories for their own children and contribute to planning with ideas for activities during the sessions. They need to consolidate and grow their confidence in this area as they continue with their playcentre training.

The long-serving team leader is very supportive. She has guided parents through a process of self review that has led to the centre members having a greater awareness of the importance of their role in working with children during the sessions. It is important that guidelines are developed for self review that others in the centre can follow in the future.

The playcentre has an annual action plan which is designed to ensure it runs smoothly. This is a well-thought-out document, giving members clear direction for the year. It needs to be carefully implemented and monitored to help the centre sustain the good work underway. 

The Buller/Westland Playcentre Association has a strategic plan to help guide the association work. This, along with each playcentre's annual action plan should be more formally monitored. Currently the association provides a policy framework for all the playcentres. This will change as the playcentres merge under Playcentre Aotearoa next year. Some policies and procedures within the association need immediate development to give better guidance to playcentres. 

These include:

  • developing robust guidelines and procedures for internal evaluation (self review)
  • embedding the learning from recent Playcentre Federation professional learning
  • developing clearer guidelines for assessment, planning and evaluation
  • ensuring each playcentre's philosophy includes its community's shared values, beliefs and desired outcomes for its children.

Key Next Steps

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation, the current Buller/Westland Playcentre Association, playcentre team leaders and parents need to:

  • further develop the Granity/Ngakawau Playcentre philosophy
  • continue to improve and embed assessment and evaluation practices
  • further develop self review
  • maintain and sustain the good practices underway
  • find ways to monitor progress against the strategic and annual plans to show how well these are supporting and contributing to the Association's and the Playcentre Federation's vision and goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Granity/Ngakawau 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 Granity/Ngakawau Playcentre will be in three years. 

Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

18 August 2016 

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 


West Coast

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

26 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls:  6

Boys:  2

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates

Parent Led

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:1                                                               Better than minimum


Over 2

1:5                                                               Better than minimum


Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

18 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012

Education Review

March 2008

Education Review

May 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.