St Heliers-Glendowie Playcentre - 22/12/2014

1 Evaluation of St Heliers-Glendowie Playcentre

How well placed is St Heliers-Glendowie 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.


St Heliers-Glendowie Playcentre is one of 16 centres in the Tamaki Playcentres Association. The centre is governed by the Association which provides a management and policy framework to guide centre operations. Liaison officers and other Association staff provide support for centres, including adult education programmes to encourage children’s learning.

The Playcentre operates as a parent cooperative. A key feature of Playcentre is that children and parents learn alongside one another and promote the philosophy of the parents as first teachers of their children. St Heliers-Glendowie Playcentre provides early childhood education for children up to six years of age in five family sessions a week. It is well established and licensed for 30 children, including 12 children up to two years of age.

There is a great sense of community and belonging for families at the centre. Parents plan and deliver sessions and keep records of their children's learning. A noteworthy feature of the centre is the outdoor-based programme that was established to provide more challenging and stimulating learning experiences for four year old children. The retention of four year old children across all sessions has increased in recent years.

The Playcentre Association is currently undergoing a structural review to streamline its systems, policies and practices and promote the long-term sustainability of the organisation. A key priority is to encourage and support Playcentre members to take an active role in the governance of the organisation at the Association level.

The 2011 ERO report found the centre to be operating well. Parents/whānau provided very good support and a vibrant and well resourced learning environment that stimulated and sustained children’s engagement in play. Areas for improvement included self review, strategic planning and programme planning. Centre leaders and parents have made significant progress in addressing each of these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of eight playcentre reviews in the Tamaki Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and have a strong sense of belonging in the centre. They have warm and trusting relationships with adults and interact confidently with their friends. Children know that adults will answer questions, help and support them in their play.

Parents/whānau cater well for children’s different ages and stages of development and encourage their independence, self-help and self-care skills. Children are engaged in learning and enjoy many opportunities to explore interesting and challenging play areas, particularly in the outdoor environment. Children are seen as capable and competent learners and are able to plan and make choices about their play.

Parents’ interactions with children are affirming and encouraging. They are attentive and take a genuine interest in what children are doing. Parents allow them to make decisions about their play and consistently work alongside them asking questions, describing play and affirming their efforts.

A strong focus on individual children is evident in curriculum design. Parents/whānau identify children’s individual interests and strengths and relate these to their developmental stages andTe Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Adults plan collaboratively to respond to children’s interests. Written narratives help them to notice, recognise and respond to children’s learning more effectively. They set learning goals with children and review and revisit these each term.

Session evaluations are thoughtful. They encourage adults to be reflective about their practice, and to consider the things that worked well and children’s next learning steps. These evaluations also provide opportunities for parents to review areas such as literacy and numeracy and how they can continue to extend children’s learning in these areas.

There are good practices that reflect the bicultural expectations of Te Whāriki. A passionate and skilled bicultural officer provides strong leadership in integrating Te Ao Māori into the curriculum. All children hear, see and participate in meaningful examples of te reo me ōna tikanga. The emphasis on biculturalism provides a solid foundation for Māori to succeed as Māori and for other children to have their languages and cultural identities affirmed and celebrated.

A comprehensive review of mathematics in the curriculum, ably led by a centre member, has resulted in increased parent/whānau knowledge and more deliberate integration of mathematical concepts and language in the context of children’s play.

Self review is well developed and documented. It guides ongoing improvement effectively and informs the strategic direction of the centre. High quality reviews that have been shared with all centre members have resulted in improved teaching and learning and better outcomes for children.

Centre leaders demonstrate effective leadership. There is a strong culture of continuing education for all centre members and as a result they access a good range of professional learning and development and have high levels of training. Positive outcomes for children and a very good quality programme are evidence of this. Parents have high expectations of themselves as office bearers and members.

Association management practices are well established. Members report that the Association is very responsive to requests for support and guidance to manage the centre. The Association could now consider how staff can further promote improvement in effective centres.

Key Next Steps

Centre members agree that the next stage of centre development should focus on:

  • identifying attitudes that will help children learn better and considering how these might be extended
  • specifying strategies and planned actions in the annual plan that will contribute to the strategic goals and direction of the centre.

The cluster review has identified areas of governance and management for the Association to address. These include:

  • strengthening strategic planning and self-review practices
  • re-establishing performance management systems for all employed staff
  • ensuring liaison officers contribute effectively to improving the quality of programmes in centres.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St Heliers-Glendowie 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 Heliers-Glendowie Playcentre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

22 December 2014

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


Glendowie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 31

Girls 20

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Other European








Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

22 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2011


Education Review

September 2007


Education Review

June 2004

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.