Herne Bay Playcentre - 17/08/2017

1 Evaluation of Herne Bay Playcentre

How well placed is Herne Bay 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.


Herne Bay Playcentre is a well established centre. It operates as a family cooperative and is one of 16 centres in the Auckland Playcentre Association. The centre offers five sessions each week for up to 30 children, including up to 15 aged under two. In addition, the Association operates one SPACE session each week at the centre, for new parents and their infants.

The Playcentre philosophy affirms parents as valued and best educators of their children. The focus of parent education courses is to empower adults to play, learn and grow together with their children. Sessions are guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The 2012 ERO report highlighted the centre’s strengths, which have been very well maintained. Areas for development in 2012 were the use of children's portfolios to gauge the effectiveness of support for children's learning, and increasing adults' understanding and use of te reo Māori me ngā tikanga Māori. Centre members have responded very positively to ERO's recommendations.

The Association continues to provide a sound management framework and support personnel to assist centre members in managing their centres. It administers centres’ funding and provides an adult education programme for parents/whānau to achieve Playcentre qualifications.

The Association management team has a strong commitment to the principle of partnership inherent in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. There is an expectation that adults and children will gain an understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori.

Playcentre Aotearoa is in the process of a national restructure. As a result, it is expected that a new regional manager and centre support personnel will be appointed towards the end of 2017.

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

The Review Findings

Children are friendly and outgoing. Strong relationships amongst adults and children have supported children to develop a real sense of belonging and ownership in the Playcentre environment.

Children of all ages benefit from mixed-age play which allows them to mentor, support and learn from each other. High levels of collaboration across the parent/whānau team have created a stable and happy emotional environment.

Children confidently choose resources and places to play. Adults follow children's lead and are responsive to their needs and interests. Interactions with children are both conversational and purposeful in extending children’s thinking. Very good levels of adult education continue to build professional knowledge across the team.

The Playcentre philosophy is evident in children's individual assessment portfolios. Very good programme planning processes identify and follow children’s interests and strengths. Adults demonstrate their depth of knowledge about each child, documenting children’s learning progress over time.

Literacy, mathematics and science are included in the programme in meaningful ways. Adults plan well with the local primary schools, which offer older children the opportunity to participate in a transition-to-school programme.

Waiata, te reo and tikanga Māori are incorporated into each session by a centre member who is committed to growing the team’s bicultural knowledge. Centre-wide commitment to strengthening bicultural practice is growing as understanding deepens.

Shared leadership roles across centre members has continued to build parent/whānau capacity. Complementary individual skills and a willingness to be involved ensures the centre is well set up for success. Centre members regularly review and evaluate their philosophy statement to retain the focus on their core purpose of children and parents learning alongside one another and the role of parents as first teachers of their children.

Centre members have developed a strategic plan that highlights their vision and goals. This plan supports the leadership team to provide long term guidance and direction for the centre. The development of the annual plan helps members progress towards achieving bigger goals while assuring all aspects of successful centre operations are covered. Centre members review policies every two years and may change procedures to respond specifically to their own context.

The Association management team takes responsibility for specific tasks relating to effective operations. The team is aware of the strengths and needs of each centre and provides strong professional leadership to sustain improvement and growth. Individualised and effective support helps each centre to continue fostering positive learning outcomes for children. The management team works collaboratively with centres as they respond to change, including the national restructure.

Key Next Steps

Centre members have identified key focus areas as they plan for the future, including:

  • continuing to plan for centre sustainability

  • continuing to develop and strengthen bicultural practices.

To enhance practices in all Auckland centres, the new regional manager and support personnel should consider ways to support centre members to:

  • increase their bicultural understanding and integration of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori

  • improve their understanding and use of internal evaluation as a tool to guide and improve practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Herne 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 Herne Bay Playcentre will be in four years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

17 August 2017 

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 


Herne Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 22, Boys 14

Ethnic composition

Latin American
Cook Island
South East Asian
other European


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

17 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

January 2010

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.