Kaitaia Playcentre - 18/08/2016

1 Evaluation of Kaitaia Playcentre

How well placed is Kaitaia 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.


Kaitaia Playcentre is a parent-led early childhood education service which is part of the Far North Playcentre Association. The centre provides two morning sessions each week for children up to school age who all attend with a parent or caregiver. It currently caters for 15 children, most of whom have Māori heritage.

Parents provide programmes for children that are underpinned by the overarching Playcentre philosophy of whānau and children learning together in a supportive and playful learning environment. The small group of whānau at the centre is working hard to improve parent training levels and to independently manage the centre.

In 2015 ERO reported that the centre was not well placed to provide positive outcomes for children. As a result of that review centre members received intensive support from Playcentre Aotearoa, the national organisation, to help them understand self-review strategies and to operate the centre effectively. Members have also had ongoing help from an Association Centre Support Worker (CSW) who has guided the significant progress members have made in the last year.

Playcentre Aotearoa is currently in the process of a comprehensive restructure. A regional hub will be established to provide governance, management and parent education support for Playcentres north of Auckland. While this will mean significant changes at the local Association level, it is expected that support for individual centres will be maintained or strengthened.

The Review Findings

Kaitaia Playcentre is in a phase of growth and development. A small core group of enthusiastic centre members has taken responsibility for leadership of the centre. They are actively seeking new members and warmly welcome and support them to come and learn with their children. The group has a strong commitment to Playcentre adult education and helping their children to participate in meaningful learning experiences.

Children show a sense of wellbeing in the centre. They know about making choices and play happily with their friends, often supporting or encouraging each other. Children benefit from the close attention of caring adults who enable them to take learning risks and sustain their independent exploration. Children are developing the skills to engage in conversations and establish relationships with other adults in the centre. Whānau could further support children's learning by more deliberately including opportunities for early literacy and numeracy learning within their play.

Parents support toddlers very well. They are effectively catered for within the provision for older children and encouraged to explore independently. Some fearlessly tackle physical challenges and delight in their own successes.

Parents/whānau are developing useful strategies to prompt children's learning. They use the 'Day Book' to record interests they have noticed and use this information to plan resources and activities that will promote these interests. Parents capture children's involvement in the programme with photos and learning stories in the assessment portfolios. They could now enhance these records by increasing their focus on children’s individual learning and how adults have helped them to extend their ideas. Whānau continue to build their confidence with implementing bicultural practices and include some aspects of other community cultures.

The centre has had the support of the community to redevelop and improve the outdoor environment. A gifted adventure play structure, new swings and concrete paths, and the use of natural materials have significantly enhanced outdoor learning options. While further work is planned, this project has raised the profile of the centre in the community and fostered a sense of ownership among centre whānau.

The group of parents taking leadership responsibility for the centre collectively guide decisions at regular centre meetings. They are closely supported by their CSW who has helped members develop strategic and annual plans to guide the centre’s operation and maintenance. The CSW has also supported parents to understand the principles of self review and to progress through Playcentre training. The centre is now almost able to independently meet qualification requirements for both its sessions.

Key Next Steps

Centre members and their CSW agree that key next steps that will support centre progress and sustainability include:

  • further developing self review processes and parents’ ownership of self review findings and decisions
  • refining the strategic plan and establishing an annual action plan to guide progress towards long term goals
  • focusing planning in the ‘Day Book’ more specifically on learning and the continuity of support for children's interests
  • continuing to strengthen bicultural practices and celebrating the cultures of individual families.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

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 


Kaitaia, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       9
Boys      6

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

18 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2015

Education Review

July 2013

Education Review

October 2009

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.