Matakana Playcentre - 08/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Matakana Playcentre

How well placed is Matakana 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.


Matakana Playcentre operates from spacious purpose-built premises in Matakana. The centre offers one session per week for up to 30 children, including eight children under two years of age. Small numbers of children who are Māori and have Pacific heritage attend the service.

Matakana Playcentre is governed and managed cooperatively by centre members, who support each other in their parenting and educator roles. Programmes are underpinned by the service's philosophy, which affirms parents as valued and best educators of their children. Sessions are guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

ERO’s 2013 report outlined how adults were attentive to children’s needs and interests, and skilled at extending children’s thinking and exploration. These good practices remain evident. This 2018 ERO evaluation recommends that members continue to build their capability so that they are well positioned to offer good quality learning experiences for all children.

The centre is part of the newly established Northern North Island Playcentre Region. Regional systems support centre members to manage their centres and to provide educational programmes for their children. Playcentre personnel also provide training programmes for parents/whānau to achieve Playcentre qualifications.

This review was part of a cluster of nine Playcentre reviews in the Northern North Island Playcentre Region.

The Review Findings

Children play happily together and enjoy a strong sense of belonging. They are actively involved in choosing who they play with. Children are very aware of others as they play, and older children are mindful of the needs of younger children.

The centre is very well resourced, offering many opportunities for purposeful experiences for all children. Members enthusiastically encourage children to use centre resources and equipment. They extend children’s learning through good questioning skills and conversation. Children’s preferences are valued and used to enhance the complexity of their play.

Members notice, recognise and respond to children’s interests and needs during the session and over time. Attractive portfolios of children’s learning contain learning stories based on photos and observations of the children. The more experienced members are mentoring newer members in writing these learning stories.

End-of-session evaluation meetings are good opportunities for members to review how well the session went. Members use this information to plan future play experiences that are relevant to children’s current and ongoing interests. This process helps build the early childhood education knowledge of all members, and promotes further learning about positive outcomes for children.

The Playcentre philosophy of members and children playing and learning together is well enacted. Cooperative approaches include a committed group of members who, as leaders, work collaboratively to ensure decisions are based on concensus. These decisions inform the programme and the daily management of centre operations. Strong connections between families and the local community further promote the Playcentre's effective functioning. Newer members are warmly welcomed and supported into the service.

Most members attend training workshops to help them in their educator role. The centre support worker (CSW) guides and supports members in the programme. Her support, and parents learning about Te Whāriki (2017) the early childhood curriculum, is enabling newer members to understand more fully about children’s learning.

Regional leaders have a strong commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. They are building links with local kaumatua that promote bicultural partnerships. Whānau Māori are invited to join Te Roopu Ngātahi o Puāwai. The inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori is an integral part of centre practices that affirm Māori children’s cultural identity. Members have plans to continue to build the capability of members to build their bicultural practice and value the language, culture and identity of all ethnicities in the centre.

Centre leadership is strong. Leaders are committed to promoting emergent leadership amongst its members. Internal evaluation is developing. Processes are purposeful and lead to improvements. Members agree that they could strengthen reviews by using more evaluative inquiry and including outcomes for children in their evaluation process.

The regional structure is replacing individual Playcentre Associations. Newly appointed regional personnel are making good progress building on existing systems and establishing effective regional management structures for supporting centres. Centre support workers are guided by regional centre support coordinators. Systems are being developed for monitoring the quality of programmes for children, adult education levels, and health and safety requirements.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for centre members are to continue to build membership capability to:

  • more effectively manage the daily operations of the centre

  • provide high quality learning experiences for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Matakana 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.

Centre leaders are aware that evacuation practices need to be ongoing.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Matakana Playcentre will be in three years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

8 June 2018

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


Matakana, Warkworth

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 10 Boys 6

Ethnic composition

Cook Islands Māori


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Playcentre requirements

Over 2


Playcentre requirements

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

8 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2013

Education Review

September 2010

Education Review

June 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.