Turua Playcentre - 22/12/2016

1 Evaluation of Turua Playcentre

How well placed is Turua 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.


Turua Playcentre is located in the small rural township of Turua close to the Primary school. This parent-led centre provides two education and care sessions per week for children from birth to school age. It is licenced for 22 children including 13 children under two years of age. At the time of this ERO review there were 17 children on the roll, including 3 Maori children.

Turua playcentre is one of 13 centres governed by the umbrella organisation known as Thames Valley/Coromandel Playcentre Association (TVCPA) affiliated to the New Zealand Playcentre Federation. TVPCA employs key personnel to undertake the day-to-day management and quality assurance of the association and centres.

The association also provides support to centres in relation to the commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi, tikanga and te reo Māori for centre members. Te Puriri Whakamaru o Hauraki Whānau provides advice, consultation, guidance and education that help parents understand and implement aspects of New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage, as well as support for Māori members.

The 2014 ERO review report identified the key next steps:

  • strategic planning

  • self-review

  • assessment practices

  • strengthening Māori language, culture and identity.

Centre members have worked to address these areas and have made some progress, particularly in the area of te reo Maori and strategic planning. This centre has had a mixed reporting history with a supplementary review in 2014.

This review was part of a cluster of three playcentres in the Thames Valley/Coromandel Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Centre members are committed to and enjoy learning with and alongside their children. Together they demonstrate a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging to the centre. Children's interests and strengths are well known and responded to by parents. Many children demonstrate high levels of social skills and co-operation in a mixed-age setting. Children are developing their early concepts of literacy and mathematics through play. They make choices and decisions about their learning from a wide variety of good quality materials and equipment.

ERO observed some responsive and positive interactions between adults and children that include:

  • rich oral conversation amongst adults and children that extend children's thinking and problem solving skills and enrich their language acquisition

  • interactions that include flexible routines and opportunities for children to socialise together

  • parents highly engaged with learning and play experiences

  • adults sharing responsibility for the education and care of all children.

An experienced member is supporting parents to become more confident to use te reo Māori and increase their knowledge about local tribal history and places of significance to Māori. This is contributing to the success of Māori children and their whānau, and increasing members' knowledge of our bi-cultural history.

Centre members take shared responsibility to ensure effective management and organisation of centre operations. Leaders are experienced and committed to the playcentre philosophy. Under the leadership of the president, the centre has:

  • documented a clear strategic direction

  • strengthened self-review processes

  • placed priority on positive and supportive relationships amongst members

  • improved communication systems

  • inspired member's enthusiasm for ongoing training.

This is resulting in a growing roll and a sustainable future for the centre.

An experienced liaison officer is supporting the centre to enable parents to promote the playcentre philosophy and plan a programme that is aligned to the strands of Te Whāriki. Curriculum priorities include:

  • principles and aspirations of manaakitanga

  • wellbeing and belonging

  • Maori language culture and identity

  • priority of developing children's oral language.

Planning, assessment and evaluation sessions are collaborative, and experienced members actively share their knowledge with new members to build their skills in documenting the programme. This approach is contributing to a responsive curriculum. Centre displays celebrate children's current learning and provide useful examples of learning stories for members in training. ERO observed children and adults revisiting their learning through these displays.

There are some good examples of children's involvement in the programme being documented in learning stories and photographs. These are displayed around the environment enabling children to revisit their learning.

The TVCPA provides useful overall guidance, support and clear policies, procedures and guidelines for centre operations. They also provide ongoing parent education programmes to help build parents' knowledge and capability to provide successful outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

While experienced members model useful strategies that guide children's behaviour, there is a need for all centre members to use these strategies consistently for all children.

Assessment, planning and evaluation requires strengthening. Further development of the documentation of learning should include:

  • deliberate identification of, and response to, individual children's next steps in learning

  • regular revisiting of children's learning and noticing of progress

  • a greater focus on learning rather than the activities children engage in

  • quality assurance processes that ensure every child has good quality assessment information.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Turua 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.

In order to improve practice the association should:

  • ensure stronger oversight of health and safety systems and processes to support centre members to meet the regulatory obligations.


The association and centre members undertake professional learning and development in the use of Ministry of Education guidelines for self review, and planning and assessment.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Turua Playcentre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

22 December 2016

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 


Turua near Thames

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

22 children, including up to 13 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 9 Girls 8

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

22 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Supplementary Review

March 2014

Education Review

April 2013

Education Review

May 2010

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.