Te Kauwhata Playcentre - 23/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Te Kauwhata Playcentre

How well placed is Te Kauwhata 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.


Te Kauwhata Playcentre is a well-established, parent-lead early childhood education service in a rapidly growing, semi-rural community. It offers group-supervised sessions for up to 27 children from birth to school age. At the time of this ERO review 27 children were enrolled and 5 identify as Māori.

Centre members promote a philosophy of learning alongside their children, as whānau, as friends, and as a community growing together. This philosophy is an extension of the playcentre motto, Whānau Tupu Ngātahi, Families Growing Together.

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

ERO's 2013 review identified key next steps in relation to, extending children's learning, culturally responsive practices, te reo and tikanga Māori, leadership and succession planning. Centre members have given strong consideration to these areas for development through focused self review, resulting in significant progress.

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

The Review Findings

Respectful, trusting and reciprocal relationships are highly evident. Integral to these relationships is the shared philosophy that supports a culture of care and shared learning for each child and their family. Centre members have established a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere where cooperation is promoted and leadership is effectively distributed. This enables all members to feel valued and to make contributions to the day-to-day running of the centre. Members are also encouraged and well supported to undertake parent education courses. This knowledge, and the leadership approach are resulting in greater understanding of children's learning and development, within the context of Te Whāriki and continuity of the playcentre service for children and families.

The playcentre has well-developed processes for strategic planning and self review. Members have identified key, long-term goals in relation to the learning environment, adult education, membership and the curriculum. These goals are promoted and achieved through specific action plans that include targeted and collaborative self review. This deliberate approach to centre development is resulting in ongoing improvements to the adults' knowledge of playcentre, the curriculum and the promotion of positive learning outcomes for all children.

Children's self-chosen play, exploration and learning is well understood and valued. ERO observed high levels of engagement where parents work as learning partners alongside children. They listen to children, respect their preferences and thoughtfully support them to grow their knowledge. Children are confident and capable learners who readily engage with peers, approach adults and involve them in play and conversations.

The learning environment is extensive and highly functional. All areas of play are promoted through carefully designed and creatively presented spaces both indoors and outside. Equipment and activities are flexible and able to be adapted in ways that ensure equitable access to learning experiences for children of all ages and abilities. Recent enhancements to the environment, including artwork reflect the children, their families and places of importance to this community of learners. The playcentre environment fosters children's curiosity, active exploration and sense of belonging.

The centre has well-considered and effective processes that guide assessment, planning and evaluation. Individual portfolios provide a valued record of children's friendships, interests and learning over time. These records are valued by parents and children, and often used to revisit previous learning experiences. There are regular opportunities for parents to share their aspirations and knowledge of their child as a learner. This information supports all members to respond to each child's interests, dispositions and learning. Session planning is informed by daily and termly evaluations, and promotes an environment and opportunities that supports the achievement of children's individual goals and continuity of learning.

Centre members have established positive relationships with, and close involvement in, the local primary school. Children enjoy opportunities to join in school events. The playcentre's curriculum and skilled adult interactions with children naturally promote children's social confidence and competence. Children's thinking skills and interests relating to literacy, mathematics, technology, science, creative and performing arts are effectively promoted. Children's experiences at playcentre are fostering self belief and preparing them to take their place in a school environment and culture.

Centre members demonstrate a shared commitment to strengthening their response to te Tiriti o Waitangi. They have benefited from previous and life-members' contribution to growing bicultural awareness and greater presence of the Māori language and culture. The bicultural officer position supports Māori families to promote te reo and tikanga Māori through the playcentre curriculum and philosophy. Māori children and families are affirmed for who they are and recognise that their language and culture is valued by others.

Key Next Steps

Through the centre's current self-review of cultural diversity and te reo Māori, it will be important for members to consider how the playcentre can more actively include Māori knowledge and perspectives for Māori children, and the cultural diversity of the Te Kauwhata community.

In addition, playcentre parents should explore ways to share what they know about their children's strengths and interests, to strengthen continuity of learning for each child as they make the transition to primary school education.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

23 June 2020

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 


Te Kauwhata

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 14 Girls 13

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

23 June 2020

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.