Patumahoe/Mauku Playcentre - 14/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Patumahoe/Mauku Playcentre

How well placed is Patumahoe/Mauku 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.


Patumahoe/Mauku Playcentre is located on the grounds of the local school in the semi-rural town of Patumahoe, near Pukekohe. Parents cooperate to provide programmes for children from birth to school age. The centre is licensed for 30 children, including 10 children under two. At the time of this ERO review, there were 21 children on the roll, 6 of whom are of Māori origin. The centre is open during the school term for four morning sessions. There are also three afternoon sessions for older children, which are led by supervisors with a higher level playcentre qualification.

The centre operates as a parent co-operative and is part of the Counties Playcentre Association. Parents have the opportunity to be involved in all decision making. In accord with the national playcentre philosophy, the centre's philosophy values parents as first educators.

The centre continues to sustain a consistently high quality service for children and parents. Improvements to the outdoor play area have included a closed-in veranda area and new rubber matting under the climbing equipment. The 2012 ERO review suggested parents increase continuity in children’s learning by sharing information between sessions. Planning, assessment and evaluation practices have been reviewed to achieve this outcome. The centre has continued to provide opportunities for children to experience aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme and have included the adjacent school in an enjoyable Matariki occasion.

The centre is led by the vice president, who is nominated to fill the recent vacancy for president. In response to fluctuations in the roll, parent members are actively promoting the benefits of belonging to Playcentre in the local community.

This review was part of a cluster of two playcentres reviews in the Counties Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Positive, respectful relationships are highly evident among parents and children. Children lead their learning and play, make choices, help set up the environment, and confidently explore and access resources. Parents join children in their play, engage with them in everyday conversations and skilfully guide them to develop their social skills and competencies. Children are well settled and engage actively in imaginative and creative play for sustained periods of time.

There is a strong sense of whanaungatanga evident among the playcentre families. They warmly welcome new parents and visitors to the centre and share the parenting and support for one another's children. Older children support younger ones to participate in cooperative play. Parents show a strong sense of ownership and responsibility for the centre culture.

The centre curriculum provides positive learning opportunities for children. Special features of the playcentre programme include:

  • areas of play that are very well resourced and attractively presented to invite children into play

  • a wide range of learning activities suitable for all ages

  • authentic, hands-on learning experiences that promote creativity, experimentation and discovery

  • challenging climbing and balancing equipment, bikes, sand and water that extend children's physical skills

  • literacy experiences that are well embedded throughout the curriculum

  • the close relationship with the neighbouring school that assists children to make good transitions beyond the centre.

Parents readily assist with excursions into the local and wider community. Children benefit from the rich contribution that parents/whānau, together with the well-prepared environment, make to learning outcomes for children.

With the assistance of an outside facilitator, parent members have reviewed their planning processes. They record their observations of children's learning in each session's daily evaluations, ongoing planning and termly reflections. This approach has increased the continuity of children's learning and development from one session to another, for both the general sessions and the afternoon sessions for older children.

Centre members are very good at recognising what children are doing and learning. Parents work hard to meet playcentre expectations for maintaining high quality learning stories and observations. Children's individual learning experiences are recorded by parents in individual profiles, together with parent aspirations and goals for their children. The supervisors of the afternoon sessions also contribute individual observations. This information is discussed daily and at centre meetings to assist parents to plan how they will follow children's interests and extend their learning. These high level discussions and reflections assist parents to make valuable contributions to children's play and development.

Centre office holders demonstrate high quality leadership. Their roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, resulting in high standards of organisation. Parents volunteer to take on leadership roles and work collaboratively with all members. They value the contribution of Māori whānau to support and extend the bicultural programme. The centre leaders, together with other parents, make good use of the use of self review to inform decisions that result in ongoing improvement to the quality of education and care. Leaders show commitment to achieving parents' aspirations and high expectations for the quality of the service.

The Counties Playcentre Association provides a comprehensive training programme for parents of children attending playcentres. It also provides administrative support and a framework of policies and procedures to be implemented by the centres. The playcentre philosophy is based on that of the Playcentre Federation and places children, and parents as first teachers, at the heart of all operations. Parents demonstrate a commitment to implementing association expectations and following the playcentre philosophy.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that the centre continues to:

  • extend the use of te reo Māori in conversations and interactions with children

  • review the way that mathematical concepts are included in play and interactions

  • explore additional aspects of te ao Māori, including local history and places of significance, and the use of karakia.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Patumahoe/Mauku 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 Patumahoe/Mauku Playcentre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

14 March 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 



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

Boys 12 Girls 9

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

14 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

September 2012

Education Review

March 2009

Education Review

February 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.