Mount Maunganui Playcentre - 06/07/2018

1 Evaluation of Mount Maunganui Playcentre

How well placed is Mount Maunganui 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.


Mount Maunganui Playcentre is located on Tauranga City Council land. It is a parent-led education and care service licensed to cater for 29 children including 16 up to the age of two years. The current roll of 66 includes 12 Māori and a small number of children from other nationalities.

The centre provides five mixed-age, morning sessions each week, including a bilingual te reo Māori session. There is an extension session for older children on one afternoon each week where older children may attend without their parents. The Supporting Parents Alongside Children’s Education (SPACE) initiative provides three sessions each week to support mothers and babies up to one year old.

During 2018 playcentres are transitioning from operating as The New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF) with 32 regional associations to a national organisation with six offices. In the central North Island eight associations have merged into a regional hub renamed Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island. This region includes 95 playcentres spread over a large geographic area. During the transition there is some overlap between association systems and new national approaches. At the time of this ERO review there was some uncertainty as new processes are established.

The governance management structure consists of a regional manager and a centre support coordinator who provides guidance and management for the playcentres. A centre administrator was appointed in early 2018. Responsibility for centre leadership is shared across centre members. A national professional learning and development team is in the early stages of planning for additional learning support to build members’ capability as first teachers of their children. A high proportion of members is in training, and a number hold higher levels of playcentre qualifications.

There are two qualified playcentre members employed to support supervised sessions and the extended session. The centre management team (CMT) contributes to succession planning and the smooth running of centre operations.

The centre aims to promote a service where adults and children can learn with and alongside each other in a family-whānau setting. Members value Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa and provide opportunities for sharing tikanga and te reo Māori together. Members see playcentre as an extension of home and maintain the paramount place of parents and whānau in making decisions about their children’s education and care.

The centre has a positive ERO reporting history. There has been good progress made with areas for development identified in the 2015 ERO report. These related to documenting self review and strengthening members’ understanding of ways to document children’s learning.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentres in the Western Bay of Plenty under the governance of Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island.

The Review Findings

The centre management team provides strong and effective leadership that supports ongoing sustainability. The team provides clear strategic direction and builds members' capability to maintain a well-respected education and care service in the community. There are members with a long association with the centre who make a significant contribution to positive educational outcomes for children and their families. Members have a good understanding of internal evaluation. They have implemented effective systems that contribute to ongoing centre improvement.

The curriculum is well designed to support children to make choices, pursue their interests and build their understanding of the world around them. It maximises the potential of the local environment through planned trips and excursions. Adults share their knowledge, skills and aspirations to enrich learning outcomes for children. They support children to build their understanding of early literacy, mathematics and science concepts. Members are in the early stages of becoming familiar with the revised Te Whāriki 2017 early childhood curriculum.

Children demonstrate high levels of belonging and wellbeing as they learn and play alongside trusted adults. There is well-informed leadership and commitment to implementing a bicultural curriculum and integrating te ao Māori into the life of the centre. This includes affirmation and support for Māori members. A particular feature is the weekly te reo Māori session for children and families. These initiatives are promoting success for Māori as Māori.

Children up to two years of age experience nurturing and responsive care as they learn alongside their parents. Children with additional needs benefit from a collective approach to inclusive learning and care at the centre. Leaders access appropriate specialist support where necessary.

Members consistently model positive, reciprocal and responsive relationships amongst themselves and children. Particular strengths of their interactions with children include:

  • initiating rich learning conversations to build children’s oral language and thinking skills
  • listening and responding to children's ideas
  • recognising children's interests and planning to add complexity to their learning
  • modelling a love of learning
  • affirming children's successes and providing coaching to achieve their potential.

Through these positive interactions children are building their confidence as capable, self-managing learners.

Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island is in the early stages of providing support for centres during a time of transition. Existing polices and systems are supporting centre operations until new systems developed by Playcentre Aotearoa are implemented. The strategic and annual plans are yet to consistently guide regional and centre direction. A particular strength is the Te Whare Tikanga Māori initiative, which promotes self-determination for Māori members through regular hui and targeted funding, and enacts the partnership aspect of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified the need for Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island management to develop:

  • more robust quality assurance processes for internal evaluation practice and reporting systems to inform priorities, future direction and provide targeted support for its playcentres
  • a strategic approach to professional development in relation to Te Whāriki 2017.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mount Maunganui 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.

Action for compliance

ERO identified an area of non-compliance related to appraisal.

The current appraisal process does not meet Ministry of Education regulatory requirements. Governance needs to ensure suitable human resource management practices are developed, documented and implemented.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7.]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

6 July 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


Tauranga City

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

29 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 42 Boys 24

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

6 July 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2015

Education Review

February 2012

Education Review

February 2009

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.