Ruawaro Playcentre - 23/02/2016

1 Evaluation of Ruawaro Playcentre

How well placed is Ruawaro 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.


Ruawaro Playcentre is a well-established, rural playcentre situated in attractive and spacious grounds in the farming area of Ruawaro. Families come from a wide geographical area that stretches from Hamilton to Huntly. The roll has remained steady over recent years and there are currently 17 children enrolled. The centre operates under the umbrella of the Waikato Playcentre Association and is open for one morning session each week.

Parents are focused on centre improvement and further enhancing outcomes for the children. They have received valuable support from the Waikato Playcentre Association (WPA) and Centre Support Worker (CSW) in responding to the areas for development in the 2012 ERO report. These include improving the ways that parents document children’s learning, increasing te reo and tikanga Māori, and using self review to improve aspects of the curriculum.

The centre philosophy is evident in the relaxed and supportive way that children and their families learn and play alongside each other. There are positive relationships and effective communication amongst parent members. Children experience a strong sense of belonging and confidence within the centre environment.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Ruawaro Playcentre is well placed to provide positive outcomes for children. Children and their whānau are warmly welcomed into a family-like setting, which is based on developing respectful and supportive relationships. A very positive aspect of the playcentre is the way that parents share the care of each other’s children and contribute to the recording of their learning. They know the children well and provide support and encouragement when needed. Children experience a strong sense of belonging at the centre where both parents and children develop friendships that go beyond the centre.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation and the Waikato Playcentre Association (WPA) continue to provide effective governance, strategic direction, management support and adult education programmes for the centre. This support and training is underpinned by the WPA philosophy (Whānau tupu ngātahi - families growing together).

The association’s strategic commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi is evident in its bicultural leadership model, with high value placed on productive partnerships with Māori whānau. Funding is made available for related professional development. The association’s response to Ka Hikitia has resulted in high expectations, clear expectations, and a systematic and sequential approach to building members’ understanding, confidence and competence in te ao Maori.

An experienced Centre Support Worker (CSW) provides valued guidance and knowledgeable support for centre members.

A long-standing kawanatanga continues to support centre members to develop their understanding of te ao Māori and their confidence to integrate this knowledge in the context of playcentre philosophy.

Children are settled, engaged in play, and confidently communicate with parents, visitors and other children. They independently access resources and equipment, make choices about their learning, and help set up and pack away learning activities. Parents have a established a close and supportive relationship to the school next door. Children benefit from respectful learning interactions, which are modelled by the CSW, the supervisor and other parent members.

Parents contribute their knowledge and skills to enhance the playcentre curriculum and environment for children. They provide a play-based curriculum supported by high-quality resources and a wide range of interactive activities. The spacious and natural outdoor play area challenges children’s physical skills and promotes exploration. Parents encourage children to experience and learn about the natural environment. They often organise excursions into the local and wider community as a way of extending children’s learning experiences.

Parent members have created some useful and effective processes to help them notice, record and use to develop and extend children’s learning and play. These include the ‘who am I’ charts, recording of magic moments, learning portfolios, session evaluations and the learning story wall. Adults are increasingly using technology to document children’s learning to share with children and other parents. A next step is to continue to develop member expertise in recording and using their observations of children’s learning to plan for their next learning opportunities.

Leadership roles and responsibilities are shared amongst members and carried out collaboratively. A feature of this centre is their commitment to fund raise and purchase additional resources for children. These roles are strengthened through reciprocal relationships and effective communication between centres, with the WPA, and amongst parent members. A newly appointed supervisor is providing valuable support and feedback for parent members.

Key Next Steps

The playcentre leaders and CSW acknowledge that the next steps for ongoing development and improvement are to continue to:

  • build on and refine assessment, planning and evaluation processes
  • grow parent education and leadership
  • use self review to enhance learning opportunities for children across the playcentre curriculum
  • increase the inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori within the centre.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

23 February 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



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 9 Girls 8

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

23 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2012


Education Review

June 2009


Education Review

August 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.