Puahue Playcentre - 05/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Puahue Playcentre

How well placed is Puahue 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.


Puahue Playcentre is a small, rural parent-led centre providing education and care families in Puahue, near Te Awamutu. The centre operates under the umbrella of the King Country Playcentre Association, providing two morning sessions a week for children from birth up to school age. It is licensed for 25 children, including 15 children under two. At the time of this ERO review, 17 children were attending.

Centre members receive valuable, ongoing, administrative and educational support and advice from experienced and knowledgeable association personnel, in particular from their centre support staff member, who visits regularly. The association's education convenor also provides assistance.

Members continue to maintain strong links with the adjacent school. Their philosophy is that children learn best through play, supported by their families.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO. The 2013 ERO report acknowledged the centre’s respectful, trusting and affirmative relationships with children. Since that report, members have made changes to the property and these have improved safety provisions for children.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentre reviews in the King Country Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Parents and grandparents have positive and sensitive relationships with children. They play alongside children, supporting their interests and encouraging them to try new things. The centre is set up to prompt children to investigate and discover as they explore interesting indoor and outdoor environments. Children are encouraged to choose their activities and select from a wide range of equipment and resources. The centre programme naturally integrates literacy and mathematics in meaningful and varied contexts. The many interactions with adults strongly foster children's oral language. Children are learning from the personalised interactions with parents and their developing friendships with their peers.

The centre makes good use of the local and wider environment. Trips are arranged to visit places of interest, and there are frequent interactions with the neighbouring school. Children enjoy using the school pool, participating in some school activities and special events, such as agriculture day. These experiences, together with classroom visits, result in positive transitions to school.

The daily programme is well planned to support children's ongoing and emerging interests. Children's individual portfolios record their involvement in the programme through photographs and narratives. Group learning stories contribute information about centre trips and excursions. There is evidence of children's active involvement in meaningful learning opportunities that respond to their interests and development.

Centre members work cooperatively to share responsibilities for the day-to-day operation of the centre. They are currently reviewing the presentation of the centre and usefulness of resources. Decisions about centre management are made at centre meetings. The effectiveness of these decisions would be improved by implementing the association's well-designed, self-review procedure. This would enable them to:

  • develop indicators focused on outcomes for children

  • use the indicators to identify priority areas for improvement

  • evaluate the effectiveness of the resulting changes.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation and the King Country Playcentre Association continue to provide good quality governance and management for this centre. The association provides comprehensive policies and guidelines, and employs a centre support person who assists families to operate the service in the best interests of children and their parents and whānau. The benefits of this support would be made more evident if a process was introduced to provide formal reports on the quality of centre programmes.

Key Next Steps

The centre recognises the need to:

  • increase centre membership

  • involve parents actively in playcentre training, including at higher levels

  • improve the quality and consistency of learning stories to show children's learning and development over time

  • implement well-developed, effective self-review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

5 September 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


Puahue, Te Awamutu

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

Girls 9 Boys 8

Ethnic composition

Māori Pākehā

2 15

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

5 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

February 2010

Education Review

February 2007

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.