Hukerenui Playcentre - 14/03/2014

1 Evaluation of Hukerenui Playcentre

How well placed is Hukerenui 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.


Hukerenui Playcentre is a small rural service situated within the grounds of the Hukerenui School. Centre practices are based on the Playcentre philosophy of families learning and growing together. The centre caters for children from birth to school age and is open for a family session one day a week. The centre is licensed for twenty-one children and has a current role of eleven children. It is well resourced with an outdoor learning environment that invites children to explore and to take on physical challenges.

The centre enjoys a close, reciprocal relationship with the adjoining school. Children benefit from the use of some school facilities and opportunities to join in many school activities. Children’s transition to school is well supported as they know many of the school staff members and are familiar with the buildings. Most children from the playcentre join their friends and siblings already attending the school.

At the time of the 2010 ERO report, centre membership and training levels were low. Sessions were only funded when an association support worker attended. Centre members currently have sufficient training levels to enable all sessions to be funded. Since the 2010 ERO report the centre has been relicensed under the 2008 Early Childhood Regulations.

The playcentre operates as part of the Northland Playcentre Association. The association is the umbrella organisation for twenty-three playcentres, covering a wide geographical area. Many of these centres are rural or semi-rural with a high turnover of membership. The association manages and distributes centre’s funding and provides a training programme for parents/whānau to achieve playcentre qualifications. It also has good systems to support centre members to manage the playcentres and to provide educational programmes for children. The Association support workers carry out the administrative workload for its members. They have reviewed ways to make courses more manageable and accessible for rural members and have implemented a ‘course two in a term’ initiative.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentre reviews in the Northland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Hukerenui Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The playcentre philosophy of families learning together within a child-initiated play programme is well evident in the centre. Parents and whānau share in the supervision of each other’s children.

Children are engaged in play for long periods of time. Behaviour management and social skills are fostered in caring ways. Aspects of literacy, mathematics and science are incorporated naturally into children’s play. There are examples of children playing co-operatively with friends, looking out for each other and being involved in imaginative play. Children under two are cared for by their parents and supported to access activities well suited to their age and developmental stages.

Centre members plan for the daily programme using information they have gathered about children’s interests. They provide interesting resources to scaffold children’s learning. Adults allow children to take the lead and make their own decisions about their play. Routines are generally flexible giving children choices about when to eat and where to play. While some parents/whānau engage in good learning conversations with children, this is an area that could be further promoted by all adults.

Children’s learning is recorded in their ‘daily book’ and portfolios in a variety of ways. Some learning stories record children’s ideas, and identify possible next steps. Centre members could think about ways of identifying and incorporating what they observe about children’s dispositions into learning stories.

The association management team provides training opportunities for parents and caregivers of the children attending its centres. It also provides systems and personnel to support the operation of the centre. The Playcentre philosophy statement has been personalised to the Hukerenui Playcentre and is modelled for new members by long-standing members. Centre specific strategic and annual planning is in place. While strategic plans include measurable, achievable, improvement focussed goals, they could now include timelines and detail how these plans will be achieved over time. Annual plans should also be better linked to strategic plans. They should include timelines, person responsible and enough details to ensure that goals are implemented over time.

Centre members are enthusiastic about their involvement in playcentre. A small group of centre members have shown a high level of commitment over several years to providing good quality programmes and to growing membership and parent/whānau qualification levels. They have taken on leadership roles and enabled new members to transition into the centre at their own pace. This commitment has enabled the playcentre to now meet funding levels independently. The core group of members has grown and, together with the association, are planning ways to increase and sustain training levels.

Commitment to promoting a bicultural partnership with whānau Māori is evident in the Northland Playcentre Association policies and procedures. The Association has developed Te Roopu Whakaaro Kotahi as a forum to support whānau Māori in playcentres. Kaiawhina have been appointed to help members develop bicultural practice and resourcing in centres. However, bicultural practices now need to be further strengthened. The New Zealand Playcentre Federation’s Te Tiriti O Waitangi Framework could be used to promote ongoing development if Association support is to impact authentically on bicultural practices in Northland Association Playcentres. Centre members use a low-key approach to developing their own knowledge of te reo and tikanga within the centre. Centre members acknowledge they are still developing their knowledge in this area.

Key Next Steps

The next steps for Hukerenui Playcentre are to:

  • continue to grow membership and member qualification levels over time, and share knowledge and skills with the next leaders
  • better align the playcentre’s annual plan with their strategic plan and self review, ensuring this work includes documenting timeframes and how they plan to achieve strategic and annual goals.

Playcentre leaders are responsive to external reviews. While they have established processes for self-review, these could be further developed to self identify and maintain improvements over time.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

14 March 2014

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

21 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 8 Boys 3

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

14 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2010


Education Review

February 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.