Kaponga Playcentre - 08/02/2017

1 Evaluation of Kaponga Playcentre

How well placed is Kaponga 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.


Kaponga Playcentre is one of 17 parent-led services under the umbrella of the Taranaki Playcentre Association (the association). A management team of elected volunteers oversees operation at governance level and provides the adult education programme, guidance and support for members.

It is licensed for up to 30 children, including 15 aged up to two years. Twenty one children are enrolled and three identify as Māori. The centre opens for mixed-age sessions two mornings a week.

Centre supporters are employed by the association to regularly visit playcentres. Their role is to provide professional advice and feedback to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders. Parents share the duties associated with implementing the programme.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is planning a significant restructure for 2017 that includes amalgamating all Playcentre Associations. Playcentres will become part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and support persons.

The association philosophy of parent-led education and child-initiated play, alongside the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, guide and inform centre practices to promote positive outcomes for children.

The January 2014 ERO report for Kaponga Playcentre, identified that centre members, with support from the association, should continue to build assessment planning and evaluation through professional development; and improve self review to know the impact of adults' practices and learning on outcomes for children.

The report also indicated that external professional input should be sought to support the association to strengthen: annual and strategic planning; assessment, planning and evaluation; understanding about Māori success as Māori; regulatory requirements; and self review.

Kaponga Playcentre has participated in the Taranaki Playcentre Association led internal review, 'Strengthening Taranaki Playcentres.' There have been positive gains in building parent, family and community involvement. 

This review was part of a cluster of eight playcentre reviews in the Taranaki Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children's purposeful engagement is anchored in playcentre philosophy and the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Values and beliefs are expressed through: whānau tangata, a sense of family and wider whānau connections; whakamana, individual prestige upheld; ngā hononga, respectful relationships; and kotahitanga, using all the senses. Children are viewed as confident, competent and curious learners.

Children have a strong sense of belonging. They independently lead their learning, make choices and actively participate. Access to a wide range of learning experiences includes community links that enhance the playcentre programme and foster wider relationships for children and adults. Excursions provide children with enriched localised learning opportunities.

Children's use of all their senses is encouraged through mathematics, literacy, science, creativity and physically challenging play and supporting resources.

Te ao Māori is integrated in centre practices. Karakia and waiata occur daily in rituals and areas of play. There are environmental signposts including kupu Māori, natural resources and children's creative art representing Taranaki maunga. Children's language, culture and identity are validated. Members identify continuing to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori, as a next step.

Children have a calm, settled environment with a high adult-to-child ratio. Tuakana teina relationships reflect nurture and support. Toddlers and infants are well supported. They participate across centre activities and all areas of play, interacting openly with children and adults. Their individual rhythms and interests guide their choices and participation in play. An inclusive environment supports all children.

Centre members are positive and enthusiastic. A core group has given input over time and this provides consistency and cohesion at the playcentre. Children, families and whānau know each other well. A useful transition process with local schools is in place.

Planning for learning is led by an education officer and guided by the employed association centre support person. The principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum guide planning and assessment. Parents meet each term to contribute to future planning for their children. Current interests of children are displayed, so that all members can purposefully support the learning.

Children's learning is shared in attractively presented folders. These include individual and group narratives, magic moments and observations that build a picture of children's interests, strengths, progress and achievements. Members are aware of the need to continue to strengthen the evaluative aspect of the planning and assessment process.

Members understanding and use of internal evaluation has been supported by an association professional learning programme. Continuing to strengthen evaluation as a centre, to gauge the effectiveness of practice, is an identified next step.

The association Māori representative of Puriri Whakamaru o Taranaki, supports centre members to gain further understandings of te ao Māori and this aspect is developing well as an integral part of the curriculum. Association and centre leaders should use strategic planning and internal evaluation to ensure the good practice occurring is sustained and continues to be built on.

The centre support person provides written reports that generally affirm environmental developments and programme practices. These reports should more deliberately focus on outcomes for children and next steps for centre members to improve teaching and learning. This should include a focus on providing centre members with evaluative feedback that assists them to sustain and further enhance the good practice already occurring.

Appraisal for centre supporters requires strengthening. The process should include: more focused goals that build their capability; and more regular and targeted feedback and feed forward about practices that enhance outcomes for children and their families.

Key Next Steps

Centre members should continue to:

  • strengthen knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori.

The association should:

  • improve appraisal for the centre support people to support individual needs and identify professional development to support them in their leadership roles

  • build centre support staff knowledge and capability to undertake effective internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

8 February 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



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 12, Boys 9

Ethnic composition




Cook Island







Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

8 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

January 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

May 2007

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.