Totaravale Playcentre - 16/11/2017

1 Evaluation of Totaravale Playcentre

How well placed is Totaravale 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.


Totaravale Playcentre is an urban centre located on Auckland’s North Shore. It operates in an established building adjacent to a council reserve and caters for a multicultural community. The centre is licensed for 25 children, including 15 up to two years of age, and offers mixed-aged sessions five days each week. In addition, the SPACE NZ Trust offers one session each week at the centre for a group of parents and their infants.

The Playcentre philosophy values parents/whānau as the first and best educators of their children. They take on roles and responsibilities that contribute to the running of the centre. This structure offers opportunities for emergent leadership. Sessions are guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The centre is one of 21 in the North Shore Playcentre Association. The Association provides a management and policy framework, and centre support personnel. Playcentre Aotearoa is in the process of a national restructure and the North Shore Association is now part of Playcentre's northern region. A new regional manager has been appointed and support personnel, roles and expectations are being confirmed.

Professional development from the Association and support from the centre support worker (CSW) have helped centre members to maintain good practices, and respond positively to ERO’s 2014 report. Centre members have widened the scope of evaluation, strengthened assessment portfolios, and now frequently incorporate te reo and tikanga Māori in the context of children’s play.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the North Shore Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are happy, confident learners. They are supported by adults who are eager to engage with them and foster learning opportunities. Children in the centre have a strong sense of belonging and whanaungatanga. They play cooperatively, and initiate imaginative play and group activities. Older children show leadership, kindness and care for younger children.

Parents/whānau facilitate children’s play choices and support child-led learning in a calm, unhurried environment. They provide opportunities for children to use literacy and numeracy and learn more about science. Adults recognise when to offer additional resources that affirm and foster children’s sustained play. Warm, respectful relationships are nurtured, creating a strong sense of community.

The Playcentre has a strong commitment to inclusion. Centre members value and affirm children’s cultural identities. They integrate the three official languages of New Zealand into the programme.

Adults use te reo Māori confidently during the session, and integrate it effortlessly as children play. Children are learning to respond to and use simple phrases in te reo. Parents/whānau are committed to growing their bicultural practice and encourage others to learn and practice. Participation in professional development offered by the Association has helped to build knowledge and confidence. Manaakitanga is a strength of the centre.

Centre members have a good understanding of Te Whāriki the early childhood curriculum. They weave Te Whāriki into the planning and portfolios. The current system for evaluation is successfully building parents'/whānau knowledge of how to respond to children’s interests. A stronger focus on children’s learning should strengthen this process. Adults could now consider how documentation in portfolios could be strengthened to show the progression of children’s learning over time.

Centre members are eager to ensure the sustainability of the centre. A core group of qualified members is developing internal systems to ensure that future families are aware of the next areas that need improvement. Plans are currently underway to landscape the outdoor area. The annual plan has a strong focus on continual improvement.

Parents/whānau are provided with good information to support children’s transition into the centre. Knowledge is shared with new members by mentoring and buddy systems. Leadership roles are distributed and individual strengths and talents are recognised. Continuing education and training for all centre members is an ongoing priority. Many are currently enrolled in Playcentre adult education programmes.

The Association management team has a strong commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and having a bicultural partnership with whānau Māori. This is evident in Association operations and in support provided to centres. There is an understanding and awareness of different languages and cultures in the centre.

The Association currently has effective governance and management practices. A voluntary executive committee takes responsibility for specific management and centre support tasks. Good systems help them to monitor the quality of programmes, adult education levels, and health and safety requirements. The management team provides professional leadership to help centres respond to changes, particularly as they transition to the new national and regional structure.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for centre members are to:

  • strengthen how well portfolio entries focus on children's learning

  • identify and make the extension of learning more visible in programme planning and evaluation

  • continue to support new members by transferring knowledge to ensure the sustainability of good practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

16 November 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


Sunnynook, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 13 Boys 6

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

Parent led

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

16 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2014

Education Review

November 2011

Education Review

November 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.