Mayfield Playcentre - 20/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Mayfield Playcentre

How well placed is Mayfield 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.


Mayfield Playcentre is located in a small, rural community near Ashburton. It is licensed for four morning sessions a week for up to 26 children from birth to school age. At the time of the review there were three sessions a week. Roll numbers fluctuate at certain times of the year. The centre provides an important first point of contact for new families. In recent times the centre has become increasingly multicultural with nearly half of the families originating from South America or the Philippines.

Each session is led by a paid supervisor and playcentre members. They are gaining playcentre qualifications through an adult-education training programme provided by the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association.

Mayfield Playcentre is one of seven playcentres in the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association. The association is made up of a group of dedicated paid and elected members. The association provides a framework for centre management and operations, as well as parent-education programmes and personnel to support centre members.

The Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association is experiencing a time of change as all playcentre associations throughout New Zealand merge with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation to reduce duplication and make cost savings. This restructure will mean significant changes at the local association level.

ERO's 2012 report noted a number of areas for review and development. These included strategic and annual planning, self review, assessment and the bicultural programme. ERO found good progress has been made in most of these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of seven playcentre reviews in the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children and their families show a sense of belonging to the Mayfield Playcentre Community. Children and adults benefit from the positive, nurturing relationships they have with one another. The diverse languages and cultures of the families are valued. For example, some South American parents speak Spanish with their children and each other in the sessions. In doing so they enrich the experience for all children attending.

The supervision team and parents are building their capability in helping children to develop knowledge and an understanding of the cultural heritages of both parties to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This includes celebrating significant events such as Mātariki, using simple te reo Māori with the children and meaningfully including Māori perspectives in play activities. They should continue to build their confidence in this area.

Children are settled and focused in the programme. They independently make choices about what they want to do. They confidently engage with adults and know they will be listened to. Older children play well alongside younger children. Infants and toddlers are the immediate responsibility of their parents. They are fully included in the programme and there are many suitable resources and experiences available to them.

Other positive aspects of the programme that support children's learning include:

  • the well-resourced indoor and outdoor areas

  • opportunities for early literacy, mathematics, science and exploration

  • connections to local schools

  • visitors to the centre and outings into the community.

Parents are fully involved in the running of the sessions. ERO observed adults skilfully extending children's thinking and ideas. They work alongside the supervisors and contribute their ideas to the programme. They follow the children's play ideas.

Supervisors have a purposeful discussion before each session begins to set the direction for the day. After sessions they discuss what the children were interested in and what activities should be continued in the next session. These discussions and the written notes need to have a greater focus on what learning adults are supporting.

The supervisors and parents have a well-established system for planning. This includes regular planning meetings where parents think about their children's possible learning for the term. This system is being refined to make it easy for all parents to use.

The playcentre philosophy is regularly reviewed. It contains the parents' shared values and beliefs, and recognises the importance of families being involved in their children's learning. Centre documentation and the conversations ERO had with parents show that they have clear ideas about what the desired learning outcomes are for their children. When the philosophy is next reviewed these desired learning outcomes should be included and linked to aspects of planning and self review.

There are guidelines in place for self review that help parents as they reflect on and improve aspects of the programmes and practices. However, parents agree that self review is work in progress within the playcentre. They need to develop a schedule to ensure they review key aspects of the playcentre's programmes and practices over time.

The parents meet regularly to oversee the smooth running of the playcentre. All parents are encouraged to complete the adult-education programmes so there are enough qualified adults to run the sessions. This is an ongoing priority for the playcentre. Parents are yet to develop an annual plan to guide their work.

The Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association responded well to the issues and trends emerging from the 2012 ERO review reports for each playcentre. The board is very supportive of each playcentre and provides additional support in response to their needs. The board should ensure it receives evaluative reporting on key aspects relating to the centre support and supervisor support roles.

The board has a strategic plan with purposeful actions to help guide the association work. This should be more formally monitored. Board members meet regularly to discuss key aspects of the smooth running of the association. They are working proactively to assist the smooth transition through the New Zealand Playcentre Federation changes. The board has an expectation that each playcentre will have its own annual plan, however these are not yet in place. The association appraisal system for the supervisors has been reinstated and needs to continue to be embedded.

Key next steps for the association are to:

  • monitor the board's annual plan and support all playcentres to prepare annual plans

  • ensure it receives evaluative reporting on key aspects of playcentre operations.

Key Next Steps

The Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association, playcentre team leaders and parents need to:

  • review the playcentre philosophy to include their desired outcomes for children

  • continue to refine assessment planning and evaluation practices

  • develop and implement a Mayfield Playcentre annual and strategic plan

  • continue to build the bicultural programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

20 September 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

26 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 18

Girls: 11

Ethnic composition


South American





Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent Led

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

20 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

February 2009

Education Review

August 2005

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.