Pinehaven Playcentre - 14/02/2020

1 Evaluation of Pinehaven Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Pinehaven Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Pinehaven Playcentre is one of 17 playcentres in the Hutt Valley region. The service operates for six sessions each week and is licensed for 28 children, including up to 15 aged up to two years. There has been a significant increase in new families in the past year. Families currently enrolled represent a diverse range of cultures. The development of the outdoor play space and environmental sustainability have been a recent focus.

At the time of its June 2016 ERO review, the centre was one of 17 administered by the Hutt Playcentre Association, under the umbrella of The New Zealand Playcentre Federation Inc. In June 2019, the 32 organisations nationwide amalgamated into one new entity, a charitable trust called Playcentre Aotearoa. Hutt playcentres are now managed as part of a regional hub (the organisation) within the new entity.

A centre support worker (CSW), employed by the organisation, regularly visits the playcentre and provides professional advice and feedback to strengthen the programme for children. A centre administrator (CA) works with parents and caregivers (members) to support compliance with regulations. Day-to-day management is the role of centre-elected office holders who are a mix of experienced and new members. Four session facilitators, with recognised levels of training, provide ongoing support for the implementation of the daily programme.

Playcentre philosophy recognises the importance of parents working together, alongside their children, to support their self-initiated play and promote their learning.

The previous ERO report identified areas for improvement. These included: assessment, planning and evaluation; appraisal and professional development for leadership; and internal evaluation. Good progress has been made in these areas.

This review was one of eight in Playcentre Aotearoa, Hutt Valley region.

The Review Findings

Children are well supported to be independent and capable learners. Adults are highly responsive, to their ideas and interests. Sustained, focused play was evident. The interesting outdoor environment promotes children's exploration and discovery. Toddlers are supported as bold and capable learners. Infants benefit from the responsive, caring and calm approach of members.

A strong sense of community and belonging is evident. Members take collective responsibility for the learning and wellbeing of all children, including those with diverse learning needs.

Members acknowledge that the bicultural curriculum and culturally responsive practice are in the early stages of development. Growing understandings and strategies in these areas should improve outcomes for children.

Adults are highly supportive of children’s interests. Playcentre's child-led philosophy is strongly evident in practice. Members should now consider how they can use their knowledge of individual children's interests as a platform for extending their learning, through meaningful and challenging experiences.

Members know children well, and regularly record the engaging experiences they provide to support their interests and learning. Further exploring the goals of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and considering how these could guide planning ‘where to next’ for children, would be a useful next step. The visibility of children's cultures, languages and identities and parents' aspirations should be strengthened in records of children's learning.

Collaborative internal evaluation processes are becoming embedded in centre practice, with organisation support and guidance. ERO and leaders agree that this is an area for ongoing development. The process would benefit from an increased focus on measurable success indicators, based on positive learning outcomes for children. This would better support members to know the impact of their practices.

Long-serving committed members appropriately focus on sustainability. In response to significant recent roll growth, strategies have been put in place to build collective understanding of Playcentre expectations. This should help to sustain effective centre operation over time.

The CSW works collaboratively to support centre members in their roles. Relational trust is prioritised. She offers useful guidance, support and encouragement to foster members’ understanding and engagement. At times, written feedback does not include sufficient detail about next steps to strengthen centre practices. The organisation should establish consistent reporting expectations, with a particular focus on promoting the next steps outlined in this ERO report and monitoring necessary improvements.

Across the organisation, children and their families would benefit from increased clarity around identifying and supporting children with diverse learning needs, including speech and language. This should involve proactive, timely information-sharing and guidance for all playcentres.

The restructure of playcentre operation is being carefully worked through to support a new and more sustainable future for the organisation. The regional office provides a range of support for centres. Regional leaders agree that priority next steps are to embed the recently reviewed policy framework and appraisal systems.

Key Next Steps

Organisation leaders should prioritise support for Pinehaven Playcentre members in the following areas:

  • continuing to grow culturally responsive practices

  • focusing assessment, planning and evaluation deliberately extending children's learning

  • using measurable, child-focused success indicators in internal evaluation

  • embedding new policies and procedures, including appraisal, in centre practice.

In addition, the organisation should:

  • establish clear and consistent practices for providing challenging feedback to centres, focusing on priority improvement areas

  • ensure that centres receive clear, useful and timely guidance around identification and support strategies for children with diverse learning needs.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pinehaven 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.

Guiding policies and procedures have been recently revised at national level by Playcentre Aotearoa, to reflect current legislation. To improve practice, members should:

  • build their understanding of these new documents and ensure they consistently guide centre practice

  • following Playcentre Aotearoa’s agreed guidelines for the monitoring of sleeping children.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

14 February 2020

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


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

28 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Female 40, Male 38

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

14 February 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

Education Review

August 2013

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

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.