Queenstown Playcentre - 14/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Queenstown Playcentre

How well placed is Queenstown 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.


Queenstown Playcentre is one of 47 playcentres within the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's newly-formed South Island Southern Region (SISR). It is open five mornings a week. Up to 25 children aged from birth-to-school age attend with their parents. The playcentre is located in central Queenstown. It has close links to the local community. The families are from diverse cultural backgrounds and often change due to the transient nature of work in the area.

The sessions are led by an educator with early childhood qualifications, and parents who have a range of playcentre qualifications. Many of the parents are continuing to increase their levels of training.

In 2017, the playcentre was supported by a centre advisor, with occasional visits and frequent communications from the Otago Playcentre association (OPA). In 2018, as a result of the Playcentre Federation restructuring of the Association, the playcentre now has regular allocated time for visits and receives ongoing support from a centre support worker (CSW) and a paid administrator.

This review was part of a cluster of nine reviews of the SISR playcentres.

The Review Findings

The philosophy states that the 'Playcentre is a home away from home, strengthening families in our transient community.'  A strength of Queenstown Playcentre is the way that children and their families are welcomed and supported to develop a sense of belonging and whanaungatanga within the playcentre setting. The parents are committed to valuing and celebrating the cultural diversity within the playcentre. They do this by sharing food and simple vocabulary from their various cultures. The next step is to explore how they can increase the visibility of this multicultural dimension in the programme and practices.

Māori children attend with their whānau. They are supported by their own and other parents to know that their language and culture are valued and naturally presented in the programme. The parents identified growing bicultural practice as an area for ongoing development.

The parents and educator have identified that the playcentre's priorities and desired outcomes for children's learning are for children to:

  • take risks
  • challenge themselves to learn new skills
  • give back to the community
  • accept diversity.

These priorities are evident in the range of experiences and activities provided, but need to be clearly recorded in documents such as the philosophy, and planning records. Over time the educator and parents need to evaluate how well they are supporting all children to meet these desired outcomes.

Children play and learn in spacious and well-resourced indoor and outdoor areas. The calm, unhurried pace is conducive to child-initiated play and well suited to the needs of younger children and infants. Infants and toddlers are always in the care of their own parent and benefit from the attention of other parents and the tuakana-teina relationships shown by older children. The parents and educator have meaningful conversations with children. They extend children's thinking and learning by building on their ideas and providing many interesting experiences, including outings into the local community.

Planning, assessment and evaluation processes require further work to be effective. The centre support worker has been providing ongoing advice and support, and some progress and improvements have been made. This support needs to be continued. In particular, there needs to be clearer links between individual children's goals, and the programme plans.

Parents are collaborative and are actively involved in the operation of the playcentre. In the last 18 months there has been increased participation and enthusiasm for ensuring that the playcentre is well run and continues to be an important provider of early childhood education in the future. Internal evaluation practices are still in the early stages of being understood and implemented. This is a next step for the parents and educator.

At the time of this review the Otago Playcentre Association (OPA) was implementing the New Zealand Playcentre Federation's new operating model, and was amalgamating with Southland and South Canterbury Playcentre associations to become the South Island Southern Region. While the changes resulted in some disruption to the services provided to individual playcentres in 2017, the OPA are effectively managing the restructure with the resources available to them. Each playcentre now receives regular support from a paid administrator and a centre support worker. There are robust systems in the association for monitoring the progress and performance of individual playcentres, and targeted support given when needed.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for the parents and educator, with the support of the centre support worker, are to:

  • continue to improve planning, assessment and evaluation processes 
  • develop a shared understanding of effective internal evaluation, that is meaningful and manageable in the playcentre setting
  • ensure that the centre's curriculum priorities are included in documents such as the centre philosophy, and planning and assessment records (Over time the adults should evaluate how well they are supporting children to learn and achieve these priorities.)

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

14 May 2018 

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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 16
Girls: 11

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

14 May 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

August 2009

Education Review

December 2005

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.