Takanini Playcentre - 23/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Takanini Playcentre

How well placed is Takanini 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.


Takanini Playcentre is a well-established, parent cooperative early childhood service operating three morning sessions each week. The centre is licensed to cater for 28 children, including 10 under the age of two years. A challenge for this centre has been the decreasing roll. Recently, several new families have joined and the roll at the time of this ERO report was five children.

The playcentre is one of 17 centres in the Counties Playcentre Association (CPA). The New Zealand Playcentre Federation and the CPA provide governance oversight for the centre. This includes strategic direction, management support, documentation and adult education programmes. The centre receives regular visits from association personnel whose role is to provide advice, guidance and support to centre members. The New Zealand Playcentre Federation is currently undergoing restructuring, and this has implications for CPA governance actions in the future.

In response to recommendations in the 2013 ERO report, CPA and centre leaders developed an action plan for strengthening practices that promote centre sustainability, organisation and shared leadership. This plan has provided the centre with a clear strategic approach to centre development and improvement. There continues to be a need for CPA to provide targeted and consistent support for members to rebuild and strengthen centre leadership and sustainability.

The centre philosophy aims to provide a fun, whānau-based, caring environment where children can grow physically, emotionally and mentally. There is a strong emphasis on parents and children learning together.

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

The Review Findings

The centre's indoor and outdoor environments are spacious, attractively presented and well maintained. Adults prepare and present 16 areas of play for children to explore throughout each session. Children demonstrate confidence as they make choices and interact with a wide variety of materials and equipment that respond to their interests and provide opportunities for problem solving and challenge.

Children benefit from learning through play alongside their parents and other supportive adults. Babies, toddlers, and young children are settled and confident. New members are establishing positive and affirming relationships and making respectful and inclusive friendships. Parents ensure that the language, culture and identity of each child is valued and affirmed. This is resulting in continuity of learning for children between home and the centre in a safe and secure environment that promotes their sense of belonging.

Children under two years of age maintain familiar routines, including breast feeding. They benefit from tuakana-teina relationships as they participate with older children in a mixed-age setting. Older children express their views to interested adults and explore creative ideas. They challenge themselves physically as they experiment with outdoor equipment that promotes active play. A calm and settled environment is promoting children's social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Children access a wide range of materials to explore early literacy and mathematics concepts. There is a generous centre library for both children and adults to enjoy. Some children were observed integrating writing into the context of dramatic and creative play. The programme is extended by trips and excursions into the wider community. The interesting programme is building children's understanding of the natural and wider world.

Centre members have recently developed and implemented a useful approach to planning and evaluation for groups and individual children. Members meet regularly to evaluate the programme, identify the current strengths and interests of children, include parent aspirations and broadly plan to respond to an emergent programme. This planning process ensures parents have a strong sense of ownership in developing meaningful learning experiences for children. Centre displays and children's portfolio books record aspects of children's participation in the programme. Members are exploring further ways to use digital technology to enhance the sharing of children's learning with the wider family. There is now a need to document how planning contributes to children's progress and development.

Experienced members provide models of learning stories for newer members and foster their growing confidence as first teachers of their children. New members are participating in playcentre training to continue to build their understanding of planning and assessment. To further support this learning, there would be benefit in CPA encouraging members to make greater use of Ministry of Education early childhood guidelines and exemplars.

A centre support worker provides effective support for supervising centre sessions. She models good practice through positive learning conversations and interactions with children and adults. A CPA Liaison Officer regularly visits the centre to provide members with advice, guidance and support with aspects of playcentre training. The centre education officer has maintained continuity of day-to-day centre operations through a period of challenge and change. She is encouraging emergent leadership and building the confidence of new members as they take increasing responsibility for centre management. This shared leadership approach is contributing to centre sustainability and fostering ongoing commitment to training amongst centre members. 

Key Next Steps

A next step is for centre members to explore and integrate the stories and places of local significance to Maori, and to continue to build their confidence and knowledge of sharing tikanga and te reo Māori with children. While CPA has an appropriate Treaty of Waitangi policy, their bicultural advisory committee is not currently functioning. This results in minimal support in te ao Māori for centre members.

As identified in the 2013 ERO report there continues to be a need to strengthen the quality of support provided by CPA through Liaison Workers and Centre Support workers. This should include:

  • documented feedback to members aligned with Ministry of Education and CPA expectations and requirements

  • specific guidance on self review

  • rebuilding and strengthening centre leadership and membership.


ERO recommends that CPA:

  • continues to access support for Takanini Playcentre for professional learning and development that focuses on strengthening self review
  • develops strategies to ensure that its centre members are kept up-to-date with obligations and expectations in relation to current regulatory requirements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Takanini 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. 

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance and management and health and safety. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • implement a system of regular appraisal for employees
  • ensure the centre Sun Safety policy is enacted.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA 7, HS 6,]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Takanini Playcentre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

23 June 2017 

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

28 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 3 Boys 2

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

23 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

December 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

May 2007

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.