Helensville Playcentre - 07/10/2013

1 Evaluation of Helensville Playcentre

How well placed is Helensville 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.


Helensville Playcentre operates as a parent cooperative under the guidance and support of Te Akoranga Playcentre Association. It caters for 30 children, including up to 20 infants and toddlers. Children can attend from birth to 6 years of age. Three morning sessions are offered per week.

A feature of playcentre is that children and parents learn alongside one another which promotes parents as first teachers of their children. Centre practices reflect the aspirations stated in the playcentre’s philosophy.

Helensville Playcentre has a history of positive ERO reporting and good practices continue to be evident.

The Review Findings

Children are calm, settled and engaged in their play and display good levels of social competence. They interact positively with adults and other children of all ages. Children are encouraged to sustain their own play. Members foster children’s language development through good quality conversations and the use of open-ended questioning.

Adults are positively engaged in the various levels of course training. They bring their strengths and professional skills to the centre to enhance operations and learning programmes. They effectively share responsibility for all children and skilfully interact with children to respond to their interests.

The environment is well resourced and accessible. Equipment is used responsively to support children’s learning and a range of activities and experiences are provided. Members adapt the use of resources to cater for different age groups.

The programme demonstrates a good balance of child-led and adult-led learning. Good systems are in place to identify children’s individual and group interests and to use these to inform planning. Planning is linked to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Effective use of assessment and evaluation is made to extend children’s learning. Further consideration could be given to how the cultures and languages of all families attending could be a learning focus in the programme.

Many of the older children attend local kindergartens prior to transitioning into schools. Members have adapted programmes to focus on working with the small numbers of 4 year old children that they do have, in order to develop their readiness for school. Children have many opportunities to work with adults other than their parents. This is good preparation for working with teachers when they attend school.

Members have a strong collaborative approach to managing the playcentre. Key leaders are very competent in their roles. The association is helping to build capacity in new leaders by providing training for specific leadership roles. Members access relevant external professional development to help them improve with the current focus being curriculum and programme planning. Members find that association personnel are approachable and that they provide good support and guidance.

The playcentre has clear processes for self review and resulting actions are addressed in annual and strategic planning. Management planning is linked to New Zealand Playcentre Federation goals. Effective systems are in place to manage finances, and health and safety practices.

Key Next Steps

ERO and playcentre members agree that they should:

  • continue to develop bicultural and multicultural aspects in the programme
  • implement appropriate literacy practices within the context of play
  • develop clear curriculum planning and self-review systems to help newer members to understand their role in learning programmes and in making improvements
  • review, reduce or combine policies and procedures, and develop a policy review cycle
  • document the outcomes from self review and annual and strategic planning so that members have better information to guide their decisions.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Helensville 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 Helensville Playcentre will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

7 October 2013

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


Helensville, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 18

Girls 15

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

7 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2010


Education Review

May 2007


Education Review

March 2004

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.