Playcentre Aotearoa’s Curriculum and Assessment Policy


Playcentre Aotearoa’s aim is to provide high quality early childhood education consistent with the principles, strands, goals, and learning outcomes set out in the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whāriki. Our tamariki learn, grow and thrive through the provision of a safe and stimulating environment, and child-centred, play-based, whānau-delivered education.

Our curriculum is the sum total of our tamariki’s direct and indirect learning experiences at Playcentre and it is the collective responsibility of all of us at Playcentre Aotearoa. The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Outline the curriculum standards we seek to deliver through our Centres
  • Encourage whānau involvement in their tamariki’s learning and our curriculum
  • Continually reflect and evolve our curriculum in order to improve outcomes for our tamariki
  • Comply with required education and early childhood service regulations, early childhood curriculum guidance, and other applicable legislation

Our Curriculum Standards

Our Centres provide enriched environments for tamariki to encourage learning through child-led exploration and discovery with the guidance of our curriculum standards.

Playcentre Aotearoa’s curriculum standards are to –

1. Fulfil our Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy. This means our curriculum and daily programmes promote:

Parents and whānau are our tamariki’s first educators/kaiako.

Play as education and harnessing the valuable components of play such as exploring, investigating, experimenting, and creating.

  • Freedom of access for tamariki to both the indoors and outdoors in order to promote enjoyment for tamariki of their local environment.
  • Strong partnerships between home and Centres because of the strong sense of whanaungatanga created by whānau involvement in the programme.
  • Planning to enrich the emerging strengths, needs and interests of the tamariki attending.
  • Development of tamariki as confident and competent learners and as communicators being healthy in mind, body, and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to [Te Whāriki, 2017]
  • Integration of Te Ao Māori me ngā Tikanga to build an appreciation of the place of Māori as tangata whenua.
  • Whānau involvement in all aspects of programme planning for tamariki as an integral part of the Playcentre
  • Mixed age groupings in sessions to provide for a range of learning experiences for tamariki and support tuakana-teina relationships which promote a strong sense of community between all tamariki.
  • Equitable learning opportunities for all tamariki irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity or background.

2. Follow the guidance of Te Whāriki

 Playcentre Aotearoa’s curriculum is based on the New Zealand’s Early Childhood curriculum Te Whāriki and its core principles:

  • Children are valued as having an active role in their learning (whakamana)
  • Planning is based around children’s holistic needs (kotahitanga)
  • Parent aspirations inform programme planning (whānau tangata)
  • Respectful encouraging relationships are the norm (ngā hononga)

3. Apply current research, theory and practices in early childhood education as referenced through our Playcentre Education Programme, accessed through ongoing professional development, and shared in curriculum updates and publications.

4. Expect us to all engage meaningfully and positively to provide stimulating sessions for our tamariki and nurture strong relationships throughout with a common purpose, mutual respect, and to support developing social competence. We practice positive guidance with each other and responsibly raise any issues or problems.

5. Require regular involvement of Playcentre whānau, by way of –

  • Sharing aspirations held for their child
  • Being included in the planning, decision making and learning support for their child and other tamariki at the Centre.
  • Our parent co-operative model of Centre operations and determining local curriculum
  • Having the option to complete an early childhood education qualification through Playcentre Aotearoa to gain skills in working with tamariki
  • Everyday conversations at Centre

6. Be locally facilitated by Centre supervision teams with guidance, advice and support available from Regional and National Team members. The provision of services to Centres to support Playcentre Sessions and Playcentre Aotearoa curriculum is the core business of the roles in the National and Regional Teams who hold the responsibility for providing Operational services and takes priority over other operational activities.

 7. Obtain information, guidance and content from external agencies and educational service providers as needed, for instance where there is a specific need for a child or whānau where it is beneficial to involve the additional learning/support of an external agency or provider. A record of the information and guidance sought is to be retained for at least seven years.

What being child-led means in action:

  • Our tamariki know us, and we know our tamariki and whānau well
  • Our tamariki learn best when they are interested
  • Our tamariki learn through play and active exploration of their world – be it on their own, in groups, or alongside others
  • Our tamariki choose their area of play and the time they spend there
  • Our tamariki develop at their own pace
  • Our tamariki gain confidence in their culture and gain an understanding and respect for other cultures
  • Our tamariki and their whānau are directly involved in decisions about their learning

Curriculum Assessment

The purpose of assessment practices at Playcentre is to enhance a child’s sense of themselves as a competent and capable learner through identifying the child’s emerging interests, strengths and goals by reflecting on the whole way they learn and from multiple perspectives including whānau so to continue to extend their learning through play.

Assessment processes at Playcentre will identify what tamariki know and can do, what interests them, how they are progressing, what new learning opportunities are suggested and where additional support may be required. [Te Whāriki 2017]

Decisions regarding tamariki’s learning and development are based on documentation and analysis in order to identify trends and patterns in tamariki’s play and learning.

Assessment of a child’s learning happens by way of observation, conversation, narrative documentation including learning stories, transcripts, photos, and artefacts collected in a child’s portfolio book as a record of their learning over time.

Assessment occurs with the combined input of tamariki, whānau and involved Centre members.

Curriculum Planning, Evaluation and Review

Centres are responsible for planning and implementing, then evaluating and evolving the locally developed and delivered curriculum.

In accordance with our Research, Review and Evolve Policy, Centres regularly engage in reviews to reflect on their teaching and learning practice with the aim of improving learning outcomes for our tamariki.

  • Ongoing individual development of tamariki’s profile books
  • Daily session planning and review with a focus on children’s learnings
  • Formal reviews or curriculum planning meetings at least once a term

Playcentre whānau are required to be involved, both formally and informally, in the decision- making concerning curriculum development, individual needs, and ideas for Session delivery.

Centre Advisors will provide curriculum support to Centres and guidance to members.

Regional and National teams provide services to Centres to support Playcentre sessions and curriculum including guidance, advice and coaching on curriculum.

All curriculum reviews are documented.

Additionally, each Centre undergoes Education Review Office reviews according to a pre- determined schedule and that review will be made publicly available.