Waihi Playcentre - 22/12/2016

1 Evaluation of Waihi Playcentre

How well placed is Waihi 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.


Waihi Playcentre is located in the small township of Waihi and provides sessional education and care for children from birth to school age. The centre is a parent co-operative licenced for 25 children including 10 children under two years of age. At the time of this ERO review there were 34 children, including children from other nationalities.

It 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. It employs key personnel to undertake the day-to-day management of the association and centres. The TVCPA provides overall guidance and support that includes clear policies, procedures and guidelines for self review, health and safety and assessment, planning and evaluation. Playcentre workshops help parents establish strategies and practices that ensure positive educational outcomes for children.

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 centre continues to enjoy their relationship with the local marae and adjacent Kohanga Reo.

The 2014 ERO review report identified key next steps for centre development related to self review, refining assessment practices and strengthening bi-cultural practices. Centre members have made good progress with strengthening systems and processes for self review and assessment. They are continuing to build their understanding of bi-cultural practices.

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

The Review Findings

Children benefit from a high quality learning environment. They explore and investigate in the spacious and well-established indoor and outdoor environments. Centre members have placed a focus on children accessing wilderness areas, making use of the fire pit and planting a native tree area. Children are able to make choices in a mixed-age setting alongside motivated and well-informed families and whānau.

Older children take responsibility for managing their own learning through problem solving and teamwork under the careful guidance of their parents. They demonstrate high levels of confidence and competence as they make choices and decisions about play. They are inclusive of younger children in play. A more intentional approach to planning for older children's learning is likely to add complexity and interest for this group.

Currently there are no Māori children on the roll. Members maintain close and reciprocal relationships with the adjacent Kohanga Reo. The centre environment is enhanced by a waharoa gifted to them by a local carver. Children and families would be enriched by regular referral to and sharing of the story depicted in this carving. This is likely to support their growing understanding of te ao Māori in the local context.

Children under the age of two years benefit from participating in the programme alongside their mothers, siblings and other familiar adults. There is good support for breastfeeding mothers to enable young children to maintain familiar routines. Other adults take shared responsibility for providing support for mothers of very young children. These children are calm and settled and demonstrate high levels of wellbeing and belonging.

Members regularly document aspects of the children's learning in individual assessment portfolios. These portfolios document children's strengths, interests, and their participation in the programme. They reflect the varying levels of understanding that parents have of assessment and planning. To strengthen evaluation it is now important to include regular reflections that document children's learning and development. In addition, more support from experienced members could be given to ensure that every child has a good quality learning portfolio.

Centre members effectively model collaborative and collegial relationships that reflect the overarching playcentre philosophy of collective responsibility. A high proportion of centre members are committed to ongoing playcentre training and contribute richly to centre organisation and day-to-day operations.

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

  • members contributing their skills and knowledge to enrich the programme

  • a rich continuity of learning for children between home and the centre

  • adults planning and preparing a quality indoor environment and provocations for learning

  • the use of children's first languages being heard and valued alongside English

  • complex oral conversations amongst adults and children that include early concepts of literacy and mathematics. 

Centre leaders have worked effectively to:

  • document a strategic direction for centre development

  • strengthen self-review processes

  • place priority on positive and supportive relationships amongst members

  • improve communication systems

  • inspire member's enthusiasm for ongoing training.

The recent election of two parents to share the responsibility of the role of president is resulting in a manageable approach to leadership. These dedicated leaders are well informed and deeply committed to sustaining a parent-led service in their community.

Key Next Steps

An important next step for centre development is for leaders to make more deliberate use of Ministry of Education (MoE) guidelines and exemplars. This should support members to strengthen self-review processes and be assured that they are meeting MoE criteria for a quality early childhood service.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Waihi 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 Waihi 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 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 21 Boys 13

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

22 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

February 2008

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.