Onga Onga Playcentre - 14/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Onga Onga Playcentre

How well placed is Onga Onga 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.


Onga Onga Playcentre is located in the rural community of Onga Onga in Central Hawkes Bay. The centre is open for two morning sessions per week. It is licensed for 30 children, including ten children up to two years of age. The premises are adjacent to the community hall and near the local primary school.

The centre is managed as a parent cooperative with support from experienced personnel from the Central Hawkes Bay Playcentre Association (the association). Governance responsibility is with the association.

There has been an increase in the enrolments of infants and toddlers. Inquiring into, and catering for the learning needs of this group is a focus of the centre’s current self review. This is an appropriate focus.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

This review was part of a cluster of three playcentre reviews in the Central Hawkes Bay Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

A strong sense of community is apparent. Children and their parents know each other well and support one another. Children and parents are warmly welcomed within an inclusive environment.

Children actively engage in a curriculum predominantly initiated by them and offering a range of learning activities relating to their interests and strengths. The playcentre environment reflects the rural context and provides opportunities for challenge, risk taking and discovery.

Onga Onga Playcentre’s philosophy of ‘Whānau tupu nga`tahi; we are a family growing together’, is strongly evident in the programme where children are well supported by their parents and other adults and where they experience a strong sense of belonging. Parents are able to attend to the needs of their infants in a supportive environment where they learn alongside each other.

The programme is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and is responsive to children’s strengths and interests and parent aspirations. Visitors to the centre and excursions within the wider community extend children’s learning.

The philosophy and practice is strongly based on the importance of relationships. Adults demonstrate respectful, sensitive and nurturing interactions with children. They encourage children to develop their independence, problem-solve, inquire and take risks as they learn. They engage in sustained learning conversations with children.

Children up to two years of age learn in a calm, unhurried environment. Adults support them to make choices, master their own physical development and celebrate milestones.

Children’s learning is highly visible and celebrated. Literacy features throughout the playcentre. Children see themselves at work through displayed photos and learning stories.

Parents are growing their knowledge and understanding of how to document learning. They are actively supported by more experienced members and through Playcentre training. Good systems focus on sustainability.

There is a clear alignment between planning for individual children, session evaluation and term planning. Profile books attractively capture and celebrate children’s learning, development, engagement in centre activities and life outside playcentre.

A commitment to bicultural practices is evident. Te ao Māori is reflected through the centre philosophy, environment and routines. Members recognise the importance of continuing to build these practices and to strengthen strategies to support Māori children and their whānau. They are seeking guidance from the Māori whānau convenor at association level.

A strong reciprocal relationship with the local school, effectively supports children’s transitions from playcentre. Centre members have identified transition to school as a planned self review in response to the number of children turning five next year.

Parents are encouraged to work towards a Playcentre qualification. The association has identified that parent education is a priority. A new education convenor has been appointed.

Members have engaged in professional learning and development to strengthen their understanding of self review. An established framework guides the process. Alignment between self review and improvements to assessment, planning and evaluation is visible. However, members recognise and ERO agrees that self review is still developing.

Key Next Steps

Parents are committed to the ongoing improvement of the centre. Members and ERO have agreed that there is a need for members, with the support of the association, to continue to:

  • engage with Playcentre training
  • build bicultural practices and strengthen strategies to support Māori children and their whānau
  • embed knowledge and understanding of self review
  • establish a regular cycle of policy review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 January 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


Onga Onga, Central Hawkes Bay

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 11, Boys 6

Ethnic composition





Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

14 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013


Education Review

October 2009


Education Review

October 2006

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.