Ohai Playcentre - 03/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Ohai Playcentre

How well placed is Ohai 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.


Ohai Playcentre is parent led and provides one session each week for children up to school age. At the time of the review there were seven children on the roll and four identified as Māori.

The sessions are facilitated by two session leaders who do not have children attending the centre. They are encouraging members to build their understanding so parents can pick up key roles and responsibilities.

Some parents are gaining Playcentre qualifications by being involved in the adult-education training programme provided by the Southland Playcentre Association (SPA).

The SPA is experiencing a time of change as all playcentre associations throughout New Zealand merge with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF) to reduce duplication and make cost savings. This restructure will mean significant changes at the local association level. An interim board has been established at SPA to support playcentres through this transitional period.

The October 2013 ERO report identified a number of areas that required strengthening. These included assessment, planning and evaluation, self review and the philosophy. ERO has concerns about the extent of progress made with limited documentation available to show the impact of any changes made.

This review was part of a cluster of 13 in the Southland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are a strong and embedded ethos throughout the centre. There is an ongoing focus on building and maintaining nurturing and positive relationships. Te Whare Tapa Whā is the guiding philosophy for teaching and learning. It is timely to review this philosophy in consultation with members to develop a shared understanding of the agreed approach.

Session leaders have a strength in, providing a bicultural curriculum.  Centre-based whānau activities and daily routines support children to build their confidence in and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

Session leaders have identified it is a challenge in recruiting office bearers to meet the requirements of operating a playcentre. This is having a significant impact on meeting the expected requirements of providing good quality education and care. Members identified that record keeping and documentation was not a strength of centre operation. As a result there is limited evidence to demonstrate how well the playcentre is meeting and implementing licensing requirements over time.

A limited curriculum is available for children to access and engage with. A priority is building members' understanding so they can provide a rich and stimulating curriculum that provides complexity and challenge.

Documentation of children's learning requires further development. Priority should be given to members developing their understanding of the purpose and use of assessment and identifying the most effective way of meeting this requirement. This requires urgent attention. Once achieved, this information can be used to guide planning for children's learning over time.

During the onsite phase of the review, ERO identified a number concerns related to the cleanliness of the centre, the systematic monitoring of and response to hazards, and implementation of SPA policy and procedural expectations. This requires urgent attention.

Self review was identified in the October 2013 ERO report as an area for development. Partial documentation provided showed that a review had been initiated in 2016. This process was not completed. Insufficient progress has been made in relation to implementing review and evaluation processes and practices to meet requirements. 

The board has been proactive in developing processes to assist in the smooth transition for playcentres to work under the NZPF. Opportunities have been offered to playcentre members to engage with the SPA to consider how the board could best provide support to services through the impending restructure.

The board has identified a number of systems and processes have lapsed and need improvement. Immediate attention is required to review policies that guide the appointments procedure and health and safety practices. The appraisal process has also lapsed or not been robustly implemented. These improvements are a priority to meet licensing criteria, and for monitoring the quality of centre practices.

More consistent, timely and evaluative reporting should be provided to the board to assure them that accountabilities are met and to better inform their decision making.

Members should continue to seek support to:

  • review the Ohai Playcentre philosophy, in consultation with parents
  • strengthen record keeping and evidential documentation processes
  • provide a rich and stimulating curriculum
  • develop their understanding of the purpose and use of assessment
  • effectively implement licensing requirements and SPA procedures
  • implement robust review and evaluation processes.

Key next steps for the association are to:

  • review SPA policies, giving priority to those related to appointments and health and safety practices
  • re-establish the appraisal process
  • facilitate the evaluative reporting to the board.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Ohai 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO found significant areas of non-compliance in the service related to:

  • planning, implementing and evaluating a curriculum
  • assessment, planning and evaluation
  • providing children with a range of experiences and opportunities to enhance and extend their learning and development
  • premises, furniture, furnishings, fittings, equipment, and materials that must be kept safe, hygienic and maintained in good condition
  • systematic processes for monitoring and hazard management, including risk assessment for excursions
  • an ongoing process of review and evaluation.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, Reg. 43 1(a) (i & iii), C2, C9, HS1, HS12, GMA6]

ERO also identified an area of non-compliance for the Southland Playcentre Association in relation to governance and management. To meet requirements the association needs to:

  • implement a system of regular appraisal.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7]

To improve practice the Southland Playcentre Association should:

  • ensure policies and procedures for travel by a motor vehicle clearly specify the person responsible for excursion approvals, has verified all drivers have a current full New Zealand driver licence and each vehicle is registered and has a current warrant of fitness.

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends that the Ministry reassess the licence of Ohai Playcentre. ERO will not undertake a further education review of this service until the Ministry of Education is satisfied that the service meets licensing requirements. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Ohai Playcentre will be in consultation with the Ministry of Education. 

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

3 May 2017 

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


Ohai, Southland

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 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 6, Boys 1

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

3 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

Supplementary Review

November 2010

Supplementary Review

August 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.