Rakaia Playcentre - 28/01/2020

1 Evaluation of Rakaia Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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


Rakaia Playcentre operates as a parent-led cooperative under the governance and management of Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aotearoa - Playcentre Aotearoa. The playcentre employs a lead coordinator who facilitates the sessions. Playcentre Aotearoa employs a centre support worker and an administrator who regularly visit the playcentre to support the parents and coordinators.

Playcentre Aotearoa has a well-established philosophy that acknowledges and values parents as the first educators of their children. It provides a broad range of support to playcentres including nation-wide training courses and personnel who liaise with and assist the centre. The effective implementation of a recently reviewed policy and procedure framework will help parents and whānau to ensure that children have safe and healthy learning environments while at playcentre.

The playcentre operates three morning sessions a week. It is licensed for 25 children including 10 children up to two years.

Since the 2016 ERO review, the coordinator and parents have made good progress towards meeting the key next steps in the report. The philosophy has been reviewed in consultation with parents and clearly states the desired outcomes for children. Internal evaluation is now well understood and used to improve outcomes for children.

This review was part of a cluster of six playcentre reviews in the Northern South Island Regional Hub of Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aotearoa.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and work well alongside and with each other. They are well supported by adults who know each child as an individual. Adults successfully use a range of effective strategies to nurture children's wellbeing and sense of belonging.

Children are confident and engaged in meaningful learning that extends their interests, skills and capabilities. The wide range of well-presented resources and activities are easy for children to access, and use in a variety of ways in the indoor and outdoor areas. Adults skilfully help children to extend their learning through problem solving and discussion.

Children and adults enjoy a welcoming and inclusive environment. Te reo and tikanga Māori is valued and visible in the programme. Māori whānau are actively encouraged to lead this learning and its natural integration into all aspects of child and adult learning. Children's home cultures and the skills that parents bring are recognised and readily included to further enhance learning.

Children aged under two years are well supported in the programme. A special music session for babies and their parents is a feature of the programme. It is competently led by members of the parent group. The under two area is large, well-resourced and regularly used by whānau with very young children.

Transition to school is very well organised and supportive of children and families. Internal evaluation was effectively used to identify what was going well and where further improvements could be made. The playcentre maintains close relationships with the neighbouring school. This is ensuring transition is individualised and appropriate for each child.

Assessment and programme planning are effective, well understood and used to improve learning outcomes for all children. All parents are involved and well supported to understand and use the assessment and programme planning processes. Children's home and centre learning are clearly documented. Learning goals are regularly identified and progress carefully monitored. The coordinators and parents now need to ensure the end of session programme evaluations include evaluation of the quality of the programme and learning outcomes for children.

Centre management systems and practices are strongly focused on ongoing improvement of learning and wellbeing for children and their whānau. Internal evaluation is well established, understood and used to improve the quality of the service. To improve the process further, the adults should evaluate the impact or outcomes on children's learning. Strategic planning has recently been introduced. A full cycle has yet to be completed and the outcomes evaluated. The parent education programme is successfully supporting parents in their role and its usefulness within the centre and at home is valued by parents.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for the playcentre include:

  • further refining internal evaluation and assessment and programme planning to include more emphasis on outcomes for children

  • completing the strategic plan cycle with an emphasis on evaluating the quality, impact and outcomes for children and adults.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Rakaia 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Te Tai Tini)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

28 January 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



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

Girls 13, Boys 9

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnicities




Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

Parent led service

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

28 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2016

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

March 2009

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.