Tuatapere Playcentre - 09/09/2013

1. Evaluation of Tuatapere Playcentre

How well placed is Tuatapere 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.


Tuatapere Playcentre is a small, rural centre and is one of 19 playcentres governed by the Southland Playcentre Association (SPA). This review was part of a cluster of 17 reviews in the SPA.

Children attending Tuatapere Playcentre benefit from a large, spacious indoor and outdoor environment. The outdoor area, in particular, offers many opportunities for children to develop their physical skills. This is the only early childhood centre in the area and operates two mornings a week. About 12 children aged from birth to five years attend each session. A paid educator is supported by 2 parent helpers at sessions.

The key next steps in this report continue to build on the recommendations from the 2010 ERO report.

The Review Findings

Children at this playcentre enjoy a range of learning experiences and positive relationships which support their general wellbeing and learning.

Relationships. There is a sense of whanaungatanga in the centre. This is evident in the way:

  • visitors and new families are made welcome
  • guidelines are used to ensure new families are helped to settle quickly and feel they belong
  • children have positive and nurturing relationships with all the adults and other children
  • children have a sense of belonging and are confident and comfortable with the routines.

Responding to individual needs. Parents are well aware of the needs of children of different ages and deliberately make safe spaces for infants without restricting older children’s play. Some parents are particularly skilled in extending children’s thinking through learning-focused conversations and questions.

Planning. Session discussions are valuable and provide direction for children’s learning and development. The purposeful pre-session discussions about the learning priorities of certain children guide the ways in which duty parents work with them. Examples include the use of some te reo Māori and extending children’s language through games. The post-session discussions reflect on how effectively the pre-session intentions have been met.

Parent involvement. The parents are enthusiastic and dedicated to being their child’s first teacher. Many of them are gaining playcentre qualifications. This is empowering them in their roles as parents and first educators. There is a high expectation that parents in the centre will participate in training.

Southland Playcentre Association support. The SPA provides strong support to the playcentre through:

  • ongoing adult education
  • twice-termly visits from the playcentre liaison officer
  • property and maintenance advice
  • additional funding as required
  • help to meet relicensing requirements
  • a policy and strategic planning framework
  • sound governance practices.

The SPA provides strong leadership to guide the future direction and ongoing improvement of all its centres. This includes the way association team members foster emergent leadership. Currently there are high numbers of people participating in playcentre training. The association has identified, and ERO agrees, that its next step is to improve its knowledge and understanding of self review. It then needs to support playcentres to use effective self review.

Key Next Steps

Learning records. The parents and educator, with the support of the SPA and playcentre liaison officer (PLO), should make learning records more useful, better understood and used, and show more clearly the learning pathways and children’s progressions.

Programme. Consideration needs to be given to enriching children’s experiences and building their sense of identity through links to the local people, places and things. The strategic plan could have a greater focus on improving outcomes for children.

Self review. The parents, PLO and SPA need to continue to develop their knowledge, understanding and use of self review. This will help to improve children’s learning and wellbeing, and the playcentre operations.

Strategic planning. This would be more useful if it contained detail about how the goals might be met and indicators of what good practice would look like. It would also be appropriate to have a greater focus on improving outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

9 September 2013

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

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 10

Boys: 9

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2013

Date of this report

9 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

June 2010


Supplementary Review

May 2007


Education Review

February 2006

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.