Richmond Playcentre - 07/10/2013

1 Evaluation of Richmond Playcentre

How well placed is Richmond 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.


The Richmond Playcentre is one of 19 centres governed by the Southland Playcentre Association (SPA). It is located in central Invercargill close to a range of amenities such as Queen's Park and the museum. The centre hosts a weekly Supporting Parents Alongside Children’s Education (SPACE) session for first-time parents with young babies. There are three morning sessions a week for children aged from birth to five years which are well attended. The centre has been led by parents since the beginning of 2013. Most parents stay during the sessions.

In recent times, the centre has retained older children in the sessions up to school age. They have the opportunity to attend a weekly SPA-provided “Explorers group” in the local community. This builds their knowledge of the environment, confidence and independence.

This review was part of a cluster of 17 reviews in the SPA.

The Review Findings

Relationships. There is a caring culture within the centre.

Families support each other in times of need.

Older children have friendships with each other.

Adults support children to relate to other adults besides their own parents.

Experienced parents help new parents gain confidence in relating to children, and in noticing and responding to their learning.

Environment. Children play and learn in a home-like environment. They enjoy a very well-resourced, spacious indoor area. Recent improvements to the outdoor area enable children to experience greater physical challenges.

Programme. Children enjoy a wide range of experiences within and beyond the centre. Early literacy, mathematics and science are evident throughout the session. Adults use specific language related to science, mathematics and literacy with children. Children enjoy hearing stories and joining in group experiences, such as making the playdough.

In the pre and post-session meetings, adults discuss what children’s needs are and briefly talk about how they can be supported. Parents are responsible for developing their own children’s learning pathways.

Interactions. ERO observed mostly high-quality interactions between parents and the children. Parents intentionally encourage children to be independent, negotiate and take turns. Through children’s imaginary play, adults build on children’s interests and ideas, and extend their thinking and understanding.

Planning. A useful, focused strategic plan guides decision making. There is a clear process for planning future developments.

Parents have made a good start to self review. They have recorded some positive outcomes for children as a result of developments to the outdoor area. They need to further develop the use and scope of self review to ensure that all aspects of the centre are reviewed over time.

Parents have been surveyed about aspects of the playcentre programme and organisation. The findings of these could be better acted on to show the difference they have made to improve what happens for children.

SPA Support. The SPA provides strong support to the playcentre through:

  • ongoing adult education
  • visits twice a term from the playcentre liaison officer
  • advice and guidance from a Māori liaison officer
  • property and maintenance advice
  • additional funding as required
  • help to meet relicensing requirements
  • a policy and strategic planning framework
  • sound governance practices.

The SPA provides strong leadership to guide the future direction and ongoing improvement of all its centres. This includes the way association team members foster emergent leadership. Currently, there are high numbers of people participating in playcentre training. The association has identified, and ERO agrees, that its next step is to improve its knowledge and understanding of self review. It then needs to support playcentres to develop and use effective self review.

Key Next Steps

The centre philosophy would be more useful if it included the parents’ values and aspirations for their children.

With the support of SPA, the parents need to continue to build confidence and competence in including a Māori dimension in the programme.

Parents should now plan to further enrich and extend groups of children’s learning by including some priorities that adults have set.

As a group, parents need to make sure that every child’s learning pathway is clear and visible and that all parents know the strategies they might use to support the learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

7 October 2013

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: 16

Girls: 6

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





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

August 2013

Date of this report

7 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)


Supplementary Review

May 2011


Education Review

March 2010


Education Review

March 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.