Linwood Playcentre - 16/07/2014

1 Evaluation of Linwood Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Linwood Playcentre is well placed because of the enthusiasm and commitment of the new group of parents and the support that the association will provide to ensure the quality of education improves.

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


Linwood 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 programme and centre operation.

Linwood Playcentre operates four morning sessions a week. A playcentre programme called Babies Can Play also operates a session a week from this centre.

The outdoor area is a special feature of the centre. It has been carefully developed over a number of years to incorporate community values and memories. It has many interesting spaces for children to explore and use their imagination. Well cared for vegetable beds provide considerable produce for the children, families and community.

The Linwood community was significantly affected by the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. There have been many changes in coordinators and families attending. The centre has become a meeting place for young families. A number of new families have enrolled during 2014.

This review was part of a cluster review of seven playcentres in the Canterbury Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The centre provides a welcoming, calm and accepting environment for young children and their families. Children are encouraged to actively explore the environment and their parents regularly join them in their play and talk with other parents.

Strong bicultural values are embedded in the culture of the centre. Māori whānau willingly share their cultural identity and join the centre’s journey to become more bicultural. Professional development is well attended and suggestions are thoughtfully included into the programme.

The centre has a good range of resources that children can easily access. Adults carefully observe children and have a good knowledge of their interests. They help extend children’s learning experiences by providing extra resources and talking to children about their play.

The area for infants and toddlers has recently been reviewed. It provides a spacious, well resourced play space where infants and toddlers can easily access resources that are suitable for their age group. ERO observed children and parents playing, relaxing in and enjoying this space.

Playcentre education courses are well attended by the parents who are nearly all new to playcentre. Leaders are starting to emerge from the parent group. A good understanding of playcentre as a parent cooperative is developing.

Canterbury Playcentre Association

The association has effective systems and practices for monitoring health and safety, and parent involvement in the centres. The association’s support team visits assist centre staff to meet the association's expectations for the daily operation of the centre.

The association centre support team provides a vital link between the parents and the association. In centres where this link is strong, ERO found the centres received good quality targeted support. In these centres the coordinators and parents worked effectively as a parent cooperative. They had well defined roles and responsibilities and were able to provide evidence that the centre’s programme was extending children’s learning.

Key Next Steps for the Canterbury Playcentre Association

The association is undertaking major restructuring. A new manager was appointed in April 2014. The playcentre philosophy provides a good foundation for the association to build its vision and make the changes for the organisation and its centres. Plans to support the achievement of this vision have yet to be put in place.

Next steps for the association should include:

  • clearly documenting the association’s future goals, plans and progress
  • making clear links from the association’s strategic plans to centre plans, and association and centre self review
  • strengthening the support provided to centre support team members through more targeted professional development and robust appraisal
  • providing ongoing documented feedback from the centre support team to parent groups about the quality of teaching and learning.

Key next steps for Linwood Playcentre

The centre parents need significantly more support from the association to be able to successfully manage and sustain the centre, and improve learning outcomes for all children.

The centre parents have identified key priority areas for development and ERO agrees with these priorities. The association and centre now need to clearly document future goals, plans and expected progress to improve administration, the programme and learning outcomes for all children.

The plan should include:

  • defining roles and responsibilities for the parents and coordinators
  • developing a shared understanding of self review and consistently implementing the process to carefully manage change
  • developing child assessment and programme planning practices that clearly identify children’s learning and provide direction for their ongoing development
  • linking future plans and goals to self review, parent education and coordinators’ professional development and appraisal.


ERO requests a copy of the centre development plan from the association when it is developed.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

16 July 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


Linwood, Christchurch

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 18

Boys 8

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other Ethnicities




Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

16 July 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

December 2010


Education Review

May 2007


Education Review

June 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.