Victory Playcentre - 30/09/2019

1 Evaluation of Victory Playcentre

How well placed is Victory Playcentre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Victory Playcentre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Victory Playcentre is one of 78 playcentres in the upper South Island region. It operates for four morning sessions each week and is licensed for 25 children, including up to 15 aged up to two years. At the time of this review, most families enrolled were very new to the service.

At the time of its May 2015 ERO review the centre was one of 13 administered by the Nelson Playcentre Association, under the umbrella of The New Zealand Playcentre Federation Inc. In June 2019, the 32 associations nationwide amalgamated into one new entity, a charitable trust, Playcentre Aotearoa (the organisation). Nelson playcentres are now managed as part of a regional hub of the new organisation.

A recently-appointed centre support worker (CSW), employed by the organisation, regularly visits the playcentre and provides professional advice and feedback to strengthen the programme for children. A centre administrator (CA) works with parents and caregivers (members) to support compliance with regulations. Day-to-day management is the role of centre-elected office holders. Some office holder roles are yet to be filled. A paid session facilitator, with recognised levels of training, provides ongoing support for the implementation of the daily programme.

Playcentre philosophy recognises the importance of parents working together, alongside their children, to support their self-initiated play and promote their learning.

The May 2015 ERO report identified several areas for improvement. These included strengthening Māori perspectives in the programme; Māori success as Māori; acknowledging children's language, culture and identity; self review; appraisal and strategic direction.

This review was one of five in Playcentre Aotearoa, Nelson region.

The Review Findings

Children's sense of belonging and independence are nurtured within a strongly play-based programme. They freely access resources and are offered a breadth of opportunities for exploration, physical challenge and creative self-expression. Regular local excursions extend the curriculum. Infants benefit from sensory play experiences and designated exploration areas.

Kaiako are attentive and responsive to children's interests. Centre leaders model responsive teaching and open-ended questions. They support children's social competence and perseverance with respectful and positive strategies.

A next step is to consult with families and community about the learning outcomes that matter most at this playcentre, in order to establish localised priorities and support decision-making. Accessing professional learning related to the revised early learning curriculum Te Whāriki should support this development.

Members acknowledge that building parents' understanding of assessment, planning and evaluation practice is a priority next step. They are using deliberate strategies to involve parents in these processes. As this develops, assessment practice should continue to be improved by:

  • documenting and evaluating planned strategies that are specific and focus on extending children's learning dispositions
  • ensuring that children's unique cultures, languages and identities, and families' aspirations, are reflected in documentation
  • capturing significant progress, and related strategies, that support children with diverse learning needs.

Kaiako should consider ways to share key information about older children with school staff, in order to further support transitions.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are valued by centre leaders. Members agree that the organisation's acknowledgement of the importance of bicultural partnership has yet to be consistently reflected in centre practice. This should remain a strategic priority for the new organisation.

A core group of members and the session facilitators are working alongside the CSW to provide strong support for this parent collective. They prioritise support for parents' growing understanding of early childhood education and the promotion of a sense of community. Nelson-based CSWs are receiving targeted professional learning and development from the organisation linked to regional priorities for improvement. A more constructive approach to CSW support for centres, including reporting that is more responsive to needs, is in the early stages of implementation.

An appraisal process is in place to support the development of the CSW and session facilitators' practice. Implementation of the process should be strengthened to ensure there is sufficient rigour in goal setting, observations of practice and feedback. The CA should have an opportunity to participate in appraisal and targeted training opportunities.

A comprehensive range of Nelson Playcentre Association policies continue to support centre operation. Many are past their review date and no longer reflect current legislation. When the new policy guidelines, developed by the organisation in 2018, are adopted at centre level, they should support a shared understanding of the organisation's expectations and accountabilities.

Implementation of internal evaluation is being strongly supported by the organisation. Understanding and use of this more improvement-focused approach is at an early stage. Members demonstrate a good ability to work systematically and collaboratively to examine the impact of their practice on children's outcomes. The format of the annual plan should be further developed, including strengthening links to ongoing internal evaluation.

The restructure of Playcentre operation is being carefully worked through to support a new and more sustainable future for the organisation. The regional office provides a range of valuable support including a new role designed to redistribute the management of compliance and administration. There is also improved assistance for members to implement curriculum, internal evaluation, adult education, and manage marketing and property matters. Leaders report that recent changes are already resulting in increased collaboration between centres and interest in Playcentre philosophy.

Key Next Steps

ERO and regional leaders agree that the organisation should continue to prioritise:

  • support for the CSW and session facilitators to promote playcentre members' understanding of programme planning and evaluation, individual children's assessment, internal evaluation, te ao Māori and implementation of a bicultural curriculum

  • development of CSW support and reporting

  • review and further development of the appraisal process for the CSWs and session facilitators.

The continuing focus on strengthening leadership, growing a sense of community, parent participation and collaboration between playcentres should continue.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Victory 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.

To improve current practice, the service provider should ensure that the service has a complete set of up-to-date policy guidelines which members are supported to implement. Currently practice does not match all the requirements of the new policies in the following areas hazard management, risk assessment for excursions, emergency management. In addition, the following needs attention:

  • clarify police vetting requirements for centre administration personnel.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

30 September 2019

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



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

Females 13, Males 5

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

30 September 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2015

Education Review

February 2012

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.