Kaeo Playcentre - 15/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Kaeo Playcentre

How well placed is Kaeo 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.


Kaeo Playcentre is located in a rural area, beside the local primary school. Operating as a parent co-operative, it is licensed to provide three sessions per week for 28 children, including up to 10 under two years. Children currently attending are from Māori and Pākehā cultural backgrounds. They learn and play together in a mixed age group.

The Playcentre philosophy affirms parents as valued and best educators of their children. Sessions are guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and the organisation is committed to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Two parents with Playcentre training have responsibility for the management of the centre. Newer members are working to complete training courses, and are taking on roles and responsibilities in the centre.

The 2015 ERO report resulted in Ministry of Education (MoE) assistance to help develop effective practice in the areas of strategic, annual and curriculum planning. A centre support worker from the Northland Playcentre Association has worked with members to establish these processes.

A process has begun for Kaeo Playcentre to become part of the Northland Playcentre Association. The Association provides systems to help members to manage the centres and support their children's learning. It also provides adult education programmes for Playcentre qualifications. As part of a national restructure of Playcentre Aotearoa there will be a new regional manager and new centre support roles.

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

The Review Findings

Children play well together in small groups, and for sustained periods of time. They use the environment well. There are good opportunities for children to engage in physical challenges in the spacious outdoor area. Toddlers explore and participate well in the programme, alongside older children. Good information is available to support members to provide meaningful play for infants.

Adults provide a wide range of experiences for children. They follow the lead of their children as they settle in to play. An attractive wall display notes the strengths and interests of each child, supporting adults to get to know individual children. Most children keep close company with their parents or caregivers as they build confidence and a sense of belonging in the centre.

Literacy, mathematics and science are included in the programme in meaningful ways. There is some use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the centre environment and practices. This has been identified by Playcentre members as an area they want to develop further.

The Playcentre and local primary school have a close relationship that offers older children opportunities to participate in a transition to school programme.

A planning process has been established. Members record children's participation in the programme and identify their interests, strengths and abilities. They recognise that this process could be strengthened by consistently documenting planned responses to observations of children. This practice could support continuity in the programme, and promote more complex learning.

The principles in the philosophy are evident in children's portfolios which document their lives and learning in their families, and during Playcentre sessions. Individual assessment records provide opportunities for parents to reflect on children's learning and to plan for the next session. Relevant links are made between children's learning and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Professional development funded by the MoE has helped members to develop effective management systems. These systems have contributed to the viability of Kaeo Playcentre, and promoted positive outcomes for children's learning.

A sustained commitment from experienced members has resulted in the successful implementation of internal evaluation, long term goals and curriculum planning systems. Detailed information is provided for new parents on how they can contribute to the management of the centre.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that to improve outcomes for children they could:

  • use daily programme records to plan meaningful learning experiences in response to children's interests

  • continue to develop bicultural practices that reflect the dual heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

To strengthen operations in all Northland Playcentres, key next steps for the Association include supporting members to:

  • build upon recently established programme planning and assessment practices

  • develop programme evaluation by recording the impact of the programme on children's learning

  • evaluate progress towards long term and annual goals. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

15 June 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 


Kaeo, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

28 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 10 Girls 4

Ethnic composition





Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

15 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

March 2015

Education Review

December 2011

Education Review

April 2008

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.