Mt Somers/Staveley Playcentre - 17/10/2016

1 Evaluation of Mt Somers/Staveley Playcentre

How well placed is Mt Somers/Staveley 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 Somers/Staveley Playcentre is a small, rural playcentre located near the local school, and is the only early childhood service in the area. It provides morning sessions for up to twenty children aged from birth to school age. At the time of the review the playcentre was open for one morning session a week, with eleven children enrolled. Over the last year the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association has provided extensive support to help the centre maintain the education programme and operations.

The sessions are led by two paid coordinators, with parent support. Some playcentre parents are gaining playcentre qualifications through an adult-education training programme provided by the Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association.

Mount Somers/Staveley 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 increasing parent knowledge and participation, and extending children's learning. These areas continue to be next steps.

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

The Review Findings

Mt Somers/Staveley Playcentre plays an important role in helping children and families develop friendships and find support within the local community. Parents see the value for themselves and their children in attending the playcentre. Children benefit from the small group size where there are close nurturing relationships between adults and children.

Adults help children to learn to be part of a group. They are responsive to children and encourage them to care and show empathy for one another. Adults are aware of children's diverse needs, follow children's interests and join them in their play.

Infants and toddlers are the immediate responsibility of their parents. They are fully included in the programme and there are suitable resources and experiences available to them.

Children have many opportunities to play and explore in the well-resourced indoor and outdoor areas. They are settled and confidently make choices within the programme. Aspects of the programme that support children's learning include opportunities for:

  • sensory play for younger children

  • exploring and developing physical skills

  • regular baking

  • celebrating Matariki and hearing some te reo Māori and waiata

  • visits to the local school and within the community.

The experienced supervisors are positive role models for the parents and support children's learning and development. They:

  • help parents to see what children may be learning as they play

  • build children's thinking and communication skills

  • foster children's interests and follow their lead

  • focus on making connections between children's home lives and the playcentre.

The supervisors are using the association's system for planning. They 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. Planning should also show how they are including Māori perspectives. Supervisors are aware that the next step is to involve parents in setting goals for their children.

Parents also need to continue to be involved in and complete the playcentre training so they can contribute more actively in the programme.

The association and playcentre are currently focused on the ongoing viability and sustainability of the playcentre. With the support of the association, the parent group needs to identify key priorities for sustainability and develop annual planning and actions to achieve this. This plan will need ongoing monitoring to ensure progress is being made in this area.

The playcentre has identified that the centre philosophy has not been reviewed for some time. It is now timely with support from the association to redevelop the playcentre philosophy to reflect the current parents' shared values and beliefs, commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and desired outcomes for children.

The playcentre supervisors and parents have made good use of use of self review to improve aspects of centre practices. The process would be further improved by using an evaluative question and developing and using indicators (criteria showing what good practice looks like) at all stages of the review. The supervision team and parents need to develop a schedule to ensure they review key aspects of the playcentre's programmes and practices over time.

The Mid Canterbury Playcentre Association responded well to the issues and trends emerging from the 2012 ERO reports for each playcentre. The board is very supportive of the playcentre and provides additional support in response to needs. It 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 its 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

Key next steps for the Mid Canterbury Playcentre 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's operations.

With the support of the association, the playcentre supervisors and parents need to develop planning to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the playcentre. This includes:

  • developing an annual plan

  • greater involvement of parents in all aspects of the playcentre's programmes and practices

  • redeveloping the playcentre philosophy

  • further developing planning, assessment and self-review practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mt Somers/Staveley 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 Mt Somers/Staveley Playcentre will be in three years.

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

17 October 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


Mt Somers

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 7

Girls: 4

Ethnic composition



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

August 2016

Date of this report

17 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

March 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.