Thames/Parawai Playcentre - 08/02/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Thames/Parawai Playcentre is adequately placed to promote positive outcomes for children.


Thames/Parawai Playcentre is a family cooperative, early childhood service where parents and children learn and play alongside one another. The centre is located in Thames and provides sessional education and care for children from birth to school age. It operates under the umbrella of the Thames Valley/Coromandel Playcentre Association and is affiliated to the New Zealand Playcentre Federation.

At the time of this ERO review there were 31 children on the roll, including 13 children under two years of age. The centre has recently added an extra morning session on Mondays and is now open for four mornings each week. Centre leaders have recently renewed the lease of the centre land.

The centre philosophy emphasises child-initiated play with parents supporting and extending children’s interests. Many parents have undertaken training in Playcentre course work and have committed themselves to managing centre roles and responsibilities. Children learn and play in a well-resourced, purpose-built centre surrounded by a spacious, natural outdoor environment.

A liaison officer visits each centre twice a term and provides regular support and feedback to the parents. The association is currently reviewing and restructuring its governance and management roles to more effectively support centres in promoting positive outcomes for children and their families.

This review was conducted as part of a cluster approach to reviews in five early childhood education services within the Thames Valley/Coromandel Playcentre Association umbrella organisation.

The Review Findings

Children have access to a wide range of play activities, resources and equipment across the 16 areas of play. Parents encourage children to engage in carpentry, art, messy play and exploration of the outdoor environment. Some bicultural perspectives are being included in wall displays and centre practices. Further development of the outdoor environment is needed to reflect bicultural perspectives and foster children’s interest in the natural world, science and sustainability. Literacy and mathematics resources and ideas could be further integrated into each of the play areas.

Relationships amongst parents and children are caring and friendly. Parents follow children’s interests and help them to sustain their play. Conversations and interactions reflect the centre philosophy of ‘child initiated play’. A next step for parents is to display the learning more effectively so that children are able to revisit and celebrate their play and exploration.

An inclusive culture is being encouraged by the centre president who is reviewing the welcoming protocols, and encouraging social events. Centre leaders provide sound management of centre operations in their various roles and responsibilities, including attending regular monthly meetings. Parents are provided with useful information about how to support their children’s learning. They are encouraged to meet and make contributions to children’s profile books, and further their training opportunities. They participate in decision making, help plan the daily programme for children, and have established a focus for self review and reflection. Parents carry out end-of-session evaluations that link to Te Whāriki, The New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum. They make good use of their connection with local community organisations, including Puriri Whakamaru o Hauraki Whānau.

A liaison officer provides valuable feedback about areas for review and development. It is now timely for the centre to review its policies and procedures in conjunction with the planned rewriting of the constitution and policies of the umbrella organisation. In addition, the centre philosophy needs to be up dated to reflect the aspirations of the current families, the context of the centre, and current good practice in early childhood education.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Thames/Parawai 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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.

ERO identified an area of non compliance. To address this, the service provider must:

  • secure heavy furniture or equipment that could topple and cause injury or damage

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS6]

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

8 February 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 13 aged under 2

Service roll

31 children, including 13 aged under 2

Gender composition

Boys 18 Girls 13

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

NZ Māori



Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

8 February 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

June 2007

April 2004

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.