Tahuna Playcentre - 10/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Tahuna Playcentre

How well placed is Tahuna 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.


Tahuna Playcentre is a parent cooperative early childhood service operating under the umbrella of the Waikato Playcentre Association (WPA) and is affiliated to the New Zealand Playcentre Federation. Governance is effectively managed and there is support for strategic direction, administration and adult education programmes. This support and training is underpinned by the WPA philosophy 'Whānau tupu ngātahi - families growing together'.

The centre is located next to Tahuna School and is licensed to cater for 20 children, including up to 10 aged under two years old. There are currently 9 children enrolled for 2 mixed-age, parent-led sessions each week.

The association’s strategic commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi is evident in its bicultural leadership model. High value is placed on productive partnerships with Māori whānau, and funding is made available for related professional development. The association’s commitment to Ka Hikitia has resulted in clear expectations for continuing to build members’ understanding, confidence and competence in te ao Māori. The centre philosophy places strong emphasis on adults learning and playing alongside their children expressed as pakeke te ako me te tākaro i te taha o rātou tamariki.

Since the 2013 ERO report there has been a significant change in leadership and membership. The support from WPA has remained consistent and provides continuity through a time of change. Members have made some progress with the areas for development identified in the ERO report. These are related to improving assessment and planning, use of te reo and tikanga Māori practices, centre displays for learning and sharing leadership responsibility through developing clear roles and responsibilities. There continues to be a need to build members' understanding of learning opportunities that extend older children, and taking a more strategic approach to self review.

This review was part of a cluster of 8 reviews in the Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are learning in an interesting and spacious environment, which provides them with appropriate challenges to explore. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and independence as they make choices from a wide variety of equipment and resources.

Older children are confident to take leadership roles, include toddlers and infants in their play, and communicate their ideas and interests. Toddlers and babies benefit from an inclusive, mixed-age setting where they are cared for by their parents and other well known adults. There are comfortable and quiet spaces for breastfeeding mothers to maintain familiar routines for their babies. The wellbeing and learning of children is enhanced as they learn in the context of their own language, culture and identity alongside their parents.

Children and adults benefit from a shared approach by WPA and centre families to promote positive attitudes to healthy eating and physical activity. There are opportunities for children to participate in making and sharing food together at the centre. They are actively enjoying skills-based activities such as learning to ride bikes, roller blading and ball skills.

Some adults are confident to integrate their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori practices during sessions. It is important for all centre members to increase their knowledge and understanding and to build on their confidence and competence to provide a programme that enables children to learn about te ao Māori in local and meaningful contexts.

Adults plan, prepare and evaluate a programme that identifies and responds to children's interests, reflects playcentre philosophy and is underpinned by Te Whāriki, early childhood curriculum. They have established close, positive and highly cooperative relationships amongst members and their families. A high proportion of members are participating in playcentre courses to further their knowledge of learning and teaching in early childhood. There is an ongoing emphasis on healthy eating and physical activity included in the daily programme. Particular strengths of the programme are:

  • continuity of learning for children between the centre and their home

  • opportunities for children to share and revisit favourite stories, songs and dramatic play

  • children expressing themselves through conversations and creativity

  • planned trips into the local and wider community that reflect children's interests

  • a recent focus on learning about local tribal history and places of historic significance.

Learning is documented and attractively displayed for children and their families to revisit and celebrate successes. A high proportion of members participate in playcentre coursework, which is building their knowledge and understanding of appropriate teaching practices in the playcentre setting.

Members report there are very constructive and reciprocal relationships established with Tahuna School. Centre members participate with their children in planned transitions and are welcome to participate in school activities where possible. School children are able to regularly come to see their younger siblings at the centre. Members believe their children are well prepared for their transition to school.

The well-qualified centre leader and the experienced centre support worker have provided effective modelling and support for emergent leadership in the centre. They have established a warm and welcoming environment for families that fosters the leadership of members. There is a strategic goal to increase membership through sharing communication and information about the centre throughout the local community. This leadership and strategic goal place the centre in a good position to sustain the service through a time of change.

Key Next Steps

Important next steps for consideration are ongoing support from WPA for:

  • systems and processes that promote effective strategic planning and self review

  • more specific feedback from the CSW that is aligned to regulatory requirements and WPA expectations

  • continuing to build members' confidence and capability to implement te reo and tikanga Māori practices in meaningful contexts.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

10 June 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


Tahuna, near Morrinsville

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 6 Girls 3

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

10 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

December 2009

Education Review

December 2003

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.