Leithfield Playcentre - 14/03/2014

1. Evaluation of Leithfield Playcentre

How well placed is Leithfield Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Leithfield Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


This playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative with parents encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the centre’s programme and operation. The playcentre philosophy is based on the belief that children reach their full potential when their parents understand their development and take part in the learning process. Adults with higher playcentre training take responsibility for coordinating the programme each session.

Leithfield Playcentre is open for two sessions a week. It operates out of a local community building. Since the July 2010 ERO review, there has been a complete change in the parent group and coordinators.

Recently there has been an increase in the number of parents involved in the playcentre and undertaking training provided by the association. In 2012 the playcentre parents, with the support of an association appointed centre mentor, improved practices to meet the requirements for relicensing under new Early Childhood regulations.

In response to ERO’s previous recommendations, improvements have been made to food routines, assessment and planning practices. There are now more systematic processes in place to monitor health and safety requirements.

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

The Review Findings

Children experience positive, nurturing relationships with adults and with other children in their play. The adults are helping children in the interactions and friendships they form with others to encourage children’s sense of belonging.

The learning programme includes:

  • a wide variety of activities that support children to choose and participate in new experiences
  • an outdoor area, while offering challenges, invites children to explore and face new challenges
  • opportunities for babies and toddlers to be involved in meaningful ways
  • well-planned responses to children’s interests that allows for independent, group and sustained play.

Parents are taking a more active role in the planning of programmes and for assessing children’s progress. This has occurred because of the contribution of parents, coordinators and the centre mentor to the development of useful guidelines to help them in their planning. The end of session evaluations with and by parents, plus the strong links to Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, are supporting positive outcomes for children and their learning.

The centre mentor is a positive influence in the numerous improvements that are occurring in the centre. Her collaborative and inclusive leadership is supporting the centre parents to develop confidence in the interactions with children and the strategic direction for the centre. Clear and focused reporting to the Playcentre Association by the centre mentor is ensuring these changes will be sustained.

Self review is well developed and understood by parents for making planned and informed improvements to centre practice. The process is well documented, includes the gathering of different perspectives and links with other Playcentre processes.

The adults in the centre are welcoming and provide a good community base for social interactions and advice and support for parenting. The centre has clear expectations for parent involvement and this is evident in the way parents work well together for the children.

The playcentre is located in the community centre and this encourages parents to develop and maintain strong links to the community. Parents make good use of community resources and are building strong links with the local school and other playcentres.

Key Next Steps

The parent group and ERO agree, that the following developments would help them continue to improve the programme for children and to sustain the best current practices.

Developing long term plans would help the parent group to more clearly identify priorities for future development and provide greater continuity as changes occur in parent group leadership.

Children’s learning would be further supported by increasing parents' understanding and confidence in:

  • promoting Māori perspectives and language more in centre practices
  • evaluating how well the programme supports children as they transition to school
  • extending children’s problem solving and thinking skills more
  • contributing to session evaluation and making more visible in assessment how adults plan to extend children’s learning

There is significant change occurring in the structure of governance and management at association level. The recent review of governance and management has been supported by useful and consultative processes.

The association has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps for the association include association staff:

  • providing more documented feedback to parent groups about the quality of teaching and learning, with a particular focus on interactions
  • developing a stronger understanding of the government's focus on priority learners so that they can better support parent groups to respond more effectively to these children
  • helping parent groups more effectively sustain the developments in bicultural practices
  • providing more useful guidelines to parent groups about supporting children's transition to school.

In addition a system for the regular appraisal of Centre Support Team members should be re-established.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

14 March 2014

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service


Leithfield, North Canterbury

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 two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 10

Boys 8

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Review team on site

December 2013

Date of this report

14 March 2014

Most recent ERO reports

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

July 2010


Education Review

March 2007


Education Review

April 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.