Russell Playcentre - 20/12/2018

1 Evaluation of Russell Playcentre

How well placed is Russell 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.


Russell Playcentre operates as a parent cooperative and is licensed for 23 children, including eight under the age of two years. Some families are not from the local community and travel long distances to attend the centre.

Programmes for tamariki are underpinned by the Playcentre philosophy of parents and tamariki playing and learning together. Russell Playcentre's executive board employs a supervisor to support parents to organise the sessions. Two days a week, a small number of children attend the centre independently without their parents. The supervisor works closely with these children. There is one weekly session just for older children.

The centre is part of the newly established Northern North Island Playcentre Region. Regional systems support centre members to manage their centres and to provide educational programmes for their children. Playcentre personnel also provide training programmes for parents and whānau to achieve playcentre qualifications.

Since the 2015 ERO review, the centre has experienced significant changes in parent membership and levels of support from the Playcentre Aotearoa as its planned restructure progressed. Areas for development identified in the 2015 ERO report included self review, strategic and annual planning, and evaluation of programme planning processes. There has been some progress in strengthening these aspects of practice.

This review was part of a cluster of 12 reviews in the Northern North Island Playcentre region.

The Review Findings

Children learn through play alongside their own and other playcentre parents. They experience inclusive, respectful interactions as part of the programme. Children are well supported to develop a strong sense of belonging as they make and deepen friendships. They have many opportunities to follow their interests and choose from a wide variety of resources and equipment.

Parents work collaboratively with the supervisor to provide the learning programme. Parents willingly contribute their ideas and lead planned activities with children. They prepare for the sessions efficiently and enthusiastically share responsibility for centre systems and tasks.

The supervisor thoughtfully models strategies to support children's learning and complete essential centre processes. She leads centre practices to build a focus on children's learning. The centre is well known in the Russell community. Children, parents and the supervisor take part in local events and regularly go for walks as part of the learning programme.

New parents and children are well supported by centre members to make thoughtfully planned transitions into, within, and beyond the centre. The supervisor and parents have established relationships with the nearby school, and children regularly visit to foster their successful transition. Parents and the supervisor also maintain strong connections to the local health and education networks.

Parents' leadership supports the cohesive management of the centre. They have developed useful strategic and annual plans to guide and achieve centre priorities. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities help parents build their understanding of Playcentre expectations and requirements.

The regional structure is replacing individual Playcentre Associations. Newly appointed regional personnel are making good progress building on existing systems and establishing effective regional management structures for supporting centres. Centre support workers are guided by regional centre support coordinators. Systems are being developed for monitoring the quality of programmes for tamariki, adult education levels, and health and safety requirements.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that the key next steps include:

  • developing a shared understanding about valued outcomes for children's learning

  • further developing and consolidating assessment, planning and evaluation processes to promote children's learning and progress over time

  • embedding internal evaluation processes and practices to support the centre's focus on ongoing improvement.

The regional manager (acting) and support personnel agree that key next steps for centre improvement include:

  • implementing and embedding the revised Playcentre training programme

  • establishing a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of centre support systems roles and processes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

20 December 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


Russell, Bay of Islands

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

23 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 21 Girls 9

Ethnic composition

other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

20 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

Education Review

July 2012

Education Review

February 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 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.