Otakiri Playcentre - 08/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Otakiri Playcentre

How well placed is Otakiri Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Otakiri Playcentre requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Otakiri Playcentre requires further development. ERO has identified a number of non-compliances in relation to governance and administration, and health and safety. Leadership has not provided clear direction to inform the centre's vision/mission, annual plan development, self-review and required health and safety practices.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Otakiri Playcentre is a parent-led education and care service located in the rural village of Otakiri near Whakatane in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. It caters for children from birth to school age and operates three mixed-age morning sessions per week. The playcentre is licensed for 25 children including up to 12 under the age of two years. The current roll of 21 children includes two who identify as Māori.

During 2018, the New Zealand Playcentre Federation transitioned from operating with 32 regional associations to become one national body with six regional offices. In the central North Island six associations have merged into a regional hub renamed Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island Region that now includes 95 playcentres over a large geographic area. During this transition there was some overlap between associations and the new national regional systems and processes. At Otakiri Playcentre, the president is supported by a small committee of parent members. A centre administrator and support worker are provided by the federation.

The playcentre philosophy places an emphasis on whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together. The philosophy also affirms parents as first and best educators of their children.

Since the ERO review of 2015, new members have enrolled and been appointed into officer roles. All areas identified for development in the previous ERO report remain of concern.

This review was part of a cluster of four playcentres in the Playcentre Aotearoa Central North Island region.

The Review Findings

Children and their parents enjoy working alongside each other. They are encouraged to make choices about their play. Positive relationships are promoted and are focused on children's belonging. There is good support for families from different cultures who are encouraged to participate and are supported to integrate into the community. Children under the age of two years enjoy a calm and responsive learning space. It allows for free movement, fostering curiosity and independence. Children are well supported by their parents and other adults.

The indoor environment is well resourced and most curriculum areas are visible, accessible and inclusive to all learners. The outside environment needs further attention to be inviting and engaging for children. The learning space is deliberately set with adult-directed activities and experiences, which inhibit children's ability to engage in self directed play. Parents have identified children’s interests and strengths and are working towards planning for these, which is discussed at the end of session evaluations. Assessment documents children’s participation in the programme. Literacy and mathematics are visible in the environment, however a more meaningful approach to integrating these through play should be considered. Trips and excursions into the community are regular. Children are confident and are developing a sense of belonging at playcentre.

Leadership is promoting a sense of wellbeing and belonging for new members. Recent elections have seen most officer roles filled within the playcentre. New parents are welcomed and encouraged to begin playcentre training once they enrol. Emerging leadership positions are working towards building quality practice, however this is an area that requires more development. Ongoing leadership support is needed to effectively promote positive outcomes for children.

The Playcentre Aotearoa overarching strategic plan, philosophy, vision and individual annual plans have been implemented and guide the playcentre direction. There is a focus on building capability through recently reviewed and improved parent education programmes. Regular communication and support between the Playcentre Aotearoa and regions through the restructure promote positive management practices. The federation is committed to offering more accessible localised training to respond to the needs of the community during a period of transition and change.

Key Next Steps

In order to improve practice there is a need to develop a shared approach to centre leadership. Priority should be placed on:

  • including in the annual plan strategic goals and priorities for improving outcomes for children

  • developing ongoing documented processes of self-review that helps to maintain and improve the quality of education and care.

The key next steps for Otakiri Playcentre are for leaders to support members to:

  • strengthen assessment and planning practices to support a focused approach on children's learning outcomes

  • strengthen the curriculum so that it reflects the bicultural intent of the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki

  • focus on the visibility of children’s language, culture and identity throughout the centre

  • ensure all learning areas more inviting and engaging for children, particularly the outside area

  • ensure children have more opportunity to lead their own learning

  • implement a process of induction so that parents have knowledge of operational requirements and can easily access policies and other documents.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Otakiri 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 identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance and management, and health and safety. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • a shared vision for promoting positive outcomes for children

  • an ongoing process of self-review to guide change and improvement

  • ensuring parents have access to operational documents for induction purposes

  • documented records of excursions detailing names, time and date, location and mode of transport, assessment and management of risk, evidence of parents’ permission, and signature of person(s) responsible

  • ensuring the premises are checked daily for hazards and that the exterior gates are checked and secured

  • securing heavy furniture, fixtures and equipment that could fall or topple and cause serious injury or damage are secured.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA 1, GMA 2, GMA 3 GMA 5, GMA 6, GMA 8, HS 6, HS 12, HS 17

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

8 March 2019

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

25 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 14 Girls 7

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

8 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

September 2011

Education Review

October 2008

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 will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed
  • Well placed
  • Requires further development
  • Not well placed

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.