Otamauri Playcentre - 17/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Otamauri Playcentre

How well placed is Otamauri 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.


Otamauri Playcentre is one of ten early childhood centres administered by the Hawkes Bay Playcentre Association (the association) which oversees governance operations. A board of governors provides guidance and support for members.

The playcentre is located in a rural district, west of Hastings. The centre offers group supervised sessions two mornings a week for a maximum of 25 children, including 15 children up to two years of age.

Parents cooperatively provide the programme and are assisted by an employed support worker. Children and their families have a strong connection with the playcentre. Some families have a long history supporting and attending the centre.

The January 2014 ERO report identified that significant improvement was needed, particularly in assessment, planning and evaluation. Key next steps identified for the association focused on them ensuring the centre is effectively led and governed and that staff are appraised and police vetted.

Playcentre members and the board of governors of the association received targeted support through a Ministry of Education funded programme, Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO). The association has also provided ongoing support and professional development related to the key next steps.

The Review Findings

Playcentre members and the association have made good progress in addressing and improving the key areas identified in the previous ERO report. Members have participated in ongoing learning to build their understanding of assessment, planning and evaluation and leadership. Good systems are in place to support centre operations.

Children often lead and initiate their interest-based play supported by adults who know them well. Children's interests are nurtured in contexts relevant to their rural lives. A recent excursion beyond the community was an opportunity for families to participate in their children's learning in a different context. A review of the under-twos programme has resulted in the introduction of appropriate resources and an area in the inside space set aside for aspects of their play.

Routines are well established. Meal times provide an opportunity for parents and children to karakia, share food and conversations. Children's wellbeing and social development is fostered. A wide range of activities and resources provide opportunities for children to engage in physically active play and learn about healthy food choices.

Individual Achievement Plans (IAPs) are developed for children. These include each child's strengths, interests and emerging skills. Parents are beginning to revisit these IAPs. Continuing to build this practice should help them to link children's learning over time and show how learning has been deepened. Some parents effectively support children's language development. Building consistency with this practice is an area requiring further improvement.

Parents support each other to develop their knowledge of planning, assessment and evaluation practices. All parents participate in Playcentre training courses to increase their understanding of the curriculum, assessment and planning. Sustaining these practices is a next step for members. Parents have responded positively to te reo Māori professional learning. They are working on ways to further incorporate it into the centre curriculum.

Portfolios include stories based on children's interests and significant learning at the centre and home. Children with additional needs are well supported. Learning stories and information are displayed to help all parents understand strategies that work for these children.

Useful, child-centred self review and evaluation are used to make improvements. Session evaluations are based on the strands of Te Whariki. Parents have opportunities to lead reviews.

Parents provide caring support to new families transitioning into the centre. Transitions to school are specific to children's needs and experiences. The local school supports children's learning during transitions by making links between Te Whāriki and The New Zealand Curriculum.

The centre support person is appraised each year based on a job description and identified goals. The role includes working with parents to develop their knowledge and practices related to children's education and care at the playcentre. Recent learning has focused on further development of a bicultural curriculum. The annual plan provides a sound framework for focusing on priorities identified by centre members.

Appropriate operational policies and centre documentation are accessible for centre members to use. These are specific to Otamauri Playcentre. The centre committee has a planned approach for the handover of office holder responsibilities to support sustainability of systems and practices at the centre.

Key Next Steps

The association should support parents to continue to develop the following:

  • parents' use of conversations and questioning to prompt children's exploration of their interests

  • sustaining the progress made in planning, assessment and evaluation practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

17 May 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


Hawkes Bay

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 9, Girls 4

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

17 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

January 2014

Education Review

October 2010

Education Review

February 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 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.