Te Poi Playcentre - 16/09/2013

1 Evaluation of Te Poi Playcentre

How well placed is Te Poi 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 Poi Playcentre is a long-established early childhood service located in the rural township of Te Poi, near Matamata. It is a family cooperative where parents share the responsibility to provide one morning session per week for children from birth to school age. The centre operates under the umbrella of the East Waikato Playcentre Association (EWPA).

Since the previous ERO review in April 2010 the centre has been relicensed by the Ministry of Education under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. The centre is licensed for 30 children, including up to 10 children under two years of age. A good proportion of members have playcentre qualifications.

Centre members have made good progress in addressing the areas for improvement identified in the 2010 ERO report. There has been a significant upgrade to the indoor area which has improved the learning and care environment for parents and children. Māori perspectives are visible and valued. Parents have improved the quality and consistency of how they document children’s interests and learning. Strong links with home are evident in planning and centre displays.

The centre philosophy aims to link home and playcentre to create a welcoming and trusting learning environment for families and children. Children play and learn in a spacious and well-maintained environment supported by an enthusiastic team of interested and well-informed parents.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 playcentre reviews in the East Waikato Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Centre members and leaders enact the playcentre philosophy of parents learning alongside their children. They have established an inclusive and positive culture for learning. Enthusiastic and experienced members take responsibility for centre operations and provide continuity for centre leadership. Positive and empathetic relationships are highly evident amongst adults and children. Centre members expressed appreciation for the significant support and mentoring provided for them in the centre as they grow and learn about their roles as parents and centre leaders. New members are warmly welcomed and able to settle their children at their own pace.

Strategic planning guides centre development and is reviewed to monitor progress. Self review is supported with useful frameworks and includes regular reports to the association. Consideration should be given to making effective use of Ministry of Education guidelines and documents when reviewing centre management and operations.

The centre programme provides a good balance of child-initiated play and parent-planned activities. This is promoting positive outcomes for babies, toddlers and young children. Children confidently explore, experiment and make choices about their play. There is an emphasis on children learning early concepts of literacy and number through shared stories, finger plays and music. Older children enjoy practising early writing skills and integrate these skills into their play. Children’s learning is documented and displayed through clear and effective learning stories. Individual scrapbooks provide an attractive record of children’s participation in the programme, their successes and progress. The programme is enriched through creative activities, trips to places of local interest, celebrations and seasonal festivals.

There is a wide variety of high-quality equipment available for children to explore. The outdoor environment provides many opportunities for children to experience the natural world and physical challenge in their play. Children learn in mixed-age and family groups that promote positive social interactions and provide leadership opportunities for older children. Babies and toddlers are able to play in an area specifically designed to meet their learning and care needs. Children would benefit from further opportunities to increase their independence, direct their own learning, and develop their problem solving skills.

Adults use rich language and open questions when conversing with children. This is supporting children to develop their thinking and communication skills. Children are encouraged to contribute to sessions in meaningful ways through activities such as tidy up time. Parents consistently and skilfully use positive guidance to redirect children and involve them in positive play experiences. Children are benefitting from positive relationships and interactions with many caring adults.

Some parents are confident to use simple phrases and words in te reo Māori and are good role models for children and adults. Parents recognise the need for a more strategic approach to the development and competent use of te reo Māori in the centre. This is likely to contribute to children’s growing understanding of Aotearoa/New Zealand, as a bicultural society.

The association provides support and guidance when requested, as well as policies and procedures that contribute to the effective operation of the service. Association support for this centre requires review and strengthening through the provision of regular:

  • visits and advice from well-informed association personnel
  • accessible training courses for enthusiastic members who are keen to achieve Playcentre qualifications.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

16 September 2013

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 Poi, Matamata

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 8

Girls 5

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

16 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2010


Education Review

June 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.