Waituna West Playcentre - 06/04/2018

1 Evaluation of Waituna West Playcentre

How well placed is Waituna West 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.


Waituna West Playcentre is one of 19 administered by the Central Districts Playcentre Association (the association). The centre is licensed to provide education and care for 30 children, two sessions a week, in a mixed-aged setting. This includes provision for 15 children up to the age of two. At the time of this review there were 19 children enrolled.

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation (the federation), of which Central Districts Association is part, is undergoing a significant restructure that includes amalgamating associations. Playcentres will becomes part of a regional hub, supported by a regional manager and others.

The Federation philosophy, 'Whānau tupu ngātahi – families growing together', is to empower parents and children to learn, play and grow together. Alongside this, the centre philosophy encourages children to be explorers of new experiences.

Whānau and families are valued as the primary educators of their children. Curriculum planning and implementation is a shared responsibility. Each session is supported by a team of parent educators who hold Playcentre training certificates.

Centre support people visit playcentres to provide professional advice and support, and to strengthen practice and promote improvement. Responsibility for day-to-day operation is undertaken by centre-elected office holders.

The February 2015 ERO report for Waituna West Playcentre identified areas for development for the association and the playcentre. These included assessment, planning and evaluation practices, internal evaluation and Māori success as Māori. Progress is ongoing.

The review was part of a cluster of 11 reviews in the Central Districts Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children are viewed as confident and competent. They demonstrate responsibility for their own learning. Infants and toddlers fully participate in the programme, and along with older children explore in the well-resourced environment. Learning experiences reflect the playcentre philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The centre is located on school grounds and they share a close relationship. This provides ongoing opportunities for teina, younger children, to connect with tuakana, older children. There is a well‑established transition approach that supports children and families as they move to school.

Whakawhanaungatanga is nurtured with positive relationships between children, parents, members and community. Te ao Māori is purposely integrated through the use of te reo Māori, waiata, Māori art, posters and rituals that include karakia. Authentic experiences reflect the local context and what is important for the community. Members express a commitment to further growing their understanding of te ao Māori. 

Useful assessment, planning and evaluation tools assist members to promote children's learning. Planning meetings capture individual interests and preferences to inform programme sessions. Children's ideas contribute to these plans.

Parents work with goals, dispositions and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and write about these in children's individual learning plans and portfolios. An online platform offers opportunities for parents and families to communicate information and ideas. Improving the consistency and quality of narrative assessment in portfolios, is needed.

Centre members are well led by an experienced supervisor to implement meaningful experiences for children. A robust and meaningful annual appraisal contributes to her development.

Members are in the early stages of implementing a purposeful internal evaluation process.  A revised framework has been introduced that has the potential to enhance inquiry in to practice and improve children's outcomes. A recent review focused on appropriate practices for infants and toddlers.

Centre members are aware of the need to further extend their practice and use of evaluation. Support and guidance for session facilitators and members needs to be strengthened. The association needs to improve its monitoring to raise the quality and consistency of support provided to the playcentre.

Suitable planning priorities and objectives are incorporated into the centre's strategic and annual planning.

Key Next Steps

At playcentre level, priorities are to:

  • improve the quality and consistency of assessment of children's learning
  • build members' internal evaluation capability. 

At the association/federation level, priorities are to continue to strengthen:

  • centre support that is consistently effective in identifying and responding to playcentre needs
  • understanding and implementation of effective internal evaluation
  • members' understanding of assessment, planning and evaluation.


ERO recommends that the new regional team actively monitor and evaluate the quality of support provided to playcentres.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

6 April 2018 

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

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 10, Girls 9

Ethnic composition



Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

6 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

August 2012

Education Review

November 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.