St Albans Playcentre - 12/11/2018

1 Evaluation of St Albans Playcentre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


St Albans Playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative, where parents are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the programme and centre operation. A centre support worker assists the parent group with the curriculum, relationships, parent education and health and safety practices.

The playcentre philosophy emphasises parents as the first and best teachers, and a play-based curriculum. Parents are encouraged to participate in playcentre education training to support them in their role as a parent-led early learning service.

St Albans Playcentre operates five morning sessions a week. The parent-led service provides early childhood education for children from birth to school age. Infants, toddlers and young children play and learn in a mixed age-group setting.

Since the May 2012 ERO review, the parent group have addressed the next steps identified by making better use of daily reflections in self-review, and focusing more on centre experiences that directly promote children’s learning.

At the time of this ERO review, the playcentre was being led by a centre coordinator who has responsibility for supporting the parent group. The coordinator and parent group have worked collaboratively to promote the playcentre and to increase the roll. Parents have been empowered to take on office bearing positions on the committee.

The Review Findings

A high number of parents are actively involved in the programme and participate in playcentre professional development to build understandings and skills to support the effective operation of the centre. The playcentre philosophy is clearly evident in practice. Parents have a strong focus on children's wellbeing and promote learning through play.

The coordinator and parent group foster positive and respectful relationships. They warmly welcome children and their families into an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Adults are well supported by centre leaders through a culture of cooperation and collaboration. They interact and respond appropriately to the needs of children and families in caring and nurturing ways.

Parents are empowered to grow and learn with their children and to become valued partners in their children's learning. They use a new system to provide focus on the identification of learning that is increasing the regularity and usefulness of assessment.

Children are confident and have a sense of belonging in the centre. They have access to a well-resourced and thoughtfully considered and planned programme that provides them with choice. Children are actively involved in a wide range of interesting and challenging learning experiences that support the development of social skills, through creative, sensory and physical play. Infants and toddlers play and learn with and alongside older children in tuakana-teina relationships. Excursions into the local community enhance the learning programme offered to children.

The parent group demonstrates a commitment to developing understandings of bicultural perspectives and growing practices that are respectful of the Māori culture. They have considered the ways Māori values of manaākitanga, whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga are incorporated naturally across all aspects of the programme.

After each daily session, adults reflect on their children's learning and interests during their centre experience, and use this to enhance the curriculum, inquiry topics and for investigation through internal evaluation.

The parent group are reflective and are making good use of strategic planning and internal evaluation to support improvement and positive outcomes for children. Parent group leaders use a range of effective communication strategies to ensure that processes are collaborative and inclusive of the views of all of their valued members.

Key Next Steps

The parent group and ERO agrees, that the key next steps are to:

  • strengthen understandings of children's learning and the way this is captured in assessment, planning and evaluation, including how learning will be extended

  • strengthen the use of te reo Māori by adults and provide regular opportunities for children to hear and use te reo Māori during sessions

  • provide opportunities to integrate the home language, culture and identity of children across the programme, particularly in their learning stories

  • continue to build a shared understanding of internal evaluation processes and practices, and evaluate the impacts of actions on valued outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

12 November 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 two Monday to Thursday, 20 aged under two on Fridays

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 56 ; Girls 56

Ethnic composition



Other ethnicities




Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

12 November 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

June 2008

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.