Guiding Principles Policy


 Playcentre Aotearoa’s constitutional philosophy is to operate as a whānau organisation which empowers whānau and tamariki to work, play, learn and grow together; honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi and celebrates people’s uniqueness; values and affirms parents as the first and best educators/kaiako for their tamariki so that whānau are strengthened and communities enriched.

Our philosophy guides how we organise ourselves, the way we work, what we are focused on, and reflects our unique role in our communities. Our Constitution makes clear our governance and decision-making processes. Underpinning this philosophy are the aligned values and principles of our governing houses of Te Whare Tikanga Maori and Tangata Tiriti House.

Everyone at Playcentre Aotearoa is expected to abide by our Constitution, philosophy, and by our regulatory rights and responsibilities as an early childhood service provider, and the policies and procedures of Playcentre Aotearoa.

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Identify Playcentre Aotearoa and all our parts and roles
  • Define who we are as Playcentre Aotearoa and describe the way we work and learn together
  • To acknowledge the importance of our philosophical approach to early childhood education alongside our regulatory rights and responsibilities as an early childhood service provider

At Playcentre Aotearoa, our tamariki learn through play with their parents and whānau alongside. We are whānau and community based and we have Centres operating throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

What Playcentre Aotearoa is

Playcentre Aotearoa operates in a number of capacities in order to fund and deliver services we provide

  • As a licensed early childhood education service, governed by the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations and Licensing Criteria
  • As a Charitable Trust and as a registered charity for fundraising purposes with a governing Constitution
  • As an NZQA registered provider, accredited and approved to deliver early childhood education courses registered on the NZ Qualifications framework to our parents and whanau.
  • As an advocate for the importance of parent involvement in their child’s education and the importance of play in the early years
  • As a community of families providing each other support and friendship as we raise our tamariki through their early years

Our Constitutional objects of operation

These describe what we are established to do:

  1. Promote and encourage the development of Playcentre activities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand;
  2. Support learning through play;
  3. Foster adult education and bicultural development;
  4. Offer adult education and courses that enhance the understanding of the education and care of our young tamariki;
  5. Ensure adult participation and responsibility in the cooperative running of Playcentres;
  6. Embody Te Tiriti o Waitangi based partnership within Playcentre Aotearoa
  7. Assist families to provide quality play experiences for all tamariki in an inclusive environment which acknowledges and incorporates the dual heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand;
  8. Organise the training, approval and employment of suitable persons to support play sessions;
  9. Nurture sustainable services and practices at all levels of Playcentre Aotearoa;
  10. Raise public awareness of Playcentres;
  11. Assist and foster innovation and research in the fields of early childhood education, adult education and young tamariki; and
  12. Generally, do each and every act necessary and proper to achieve the objects of Playcentre

Our Philosophy

Playcentre Aotearoa’s philosophy embraces principles and values that are drawn from both Te Whare Tikanga Māori (Tangata Whenua) and Tāngata Tiriti.

Our philosophy (laid out in Appendix A) applies across all of our Playcentre Aotearoa communities and environments. Centres may develop localised statements, showing how this philosophy is applied and enacted in their community.

Our Te Tiriti o Waitangi Partnership Principles

Te Tiriti o Waitangi outlines the agreement for a working relationship/partnership in Playcentre.

The parties that make up the partnership are Te Whare Tikanga Māori (Tangata Whenua) and Tāngata Tiriti, who form a formal or informal working relationship.

The systems of operation should respond to cultural values and beliefs and reflect the needs and aspirations of Te Whare Tikanga Māori and Tāngata Tiriti.

Shared vision is actively supported by all parties involved at all levels of Playcentre.

Our people

Playcentre Aotearoa: is our amalgamated

organisation that is Playcentre’s presence in New Zealand and is the combination of all of our Centres, enrolled tamariki and whānau members, National and Regional Teams and the Trustee Board.

Our people are at the heart of Playcentre Aotearoa – our tamariki, their whānau, other volunteers and our employees – regardless of where in the organisation they work, play, or educate. These are the people we want to keep safe and learning together.

Tamariki: Our enrolment age is from birth to six years old, with tamariki attending up to five half day sessions per week, and tamariki under 2.5 years attending with a caregiver.

Whānau: Parents, families and caregivers of our enrolled tamariki. Whānau involved in the running of their Centre are also known as our Centre members. They enrol in our Playcentre Education Programmes, and qualify and take up roles of regular primary responsibility for the education and care of our tamariki. They may also take up leadership responsibilities in our Centres and in our governance structures.

Volunteers: All others who kindly volunteer their time and services to Playcentre and our purpose, unpaid. We recognise their service with the greatest of appreciation always. Any koha or gifts of appreciation are non-monetary and not expected.

Employees: Those recruited into paid positions for Playcentre Aotearoa where an employment agreement sets out the terms and conditions of our employee and employer relationship. Employee roles can be found in Centres, our Regional and National Teams.

Our operational structures

Playcentre Aotearoa is centrally operated and organised regionally to provide support to community-based Centres.

Centres: Located in most New Zealand communities, separately licensed, and locally operated by a co- operative of Playcentre families, and in some cases, paid Playcentre Aotearoa employees. Centres directly deliver our early childhood education services according to our Playcentre Aotearoa philosophy, curriculum and operating policies, procedures and practices. From time to time Centres will come together to share good practices and support each other as organised regionally or in local Clusters. Each Centre is part of a Region and has a President or equivalent who can represent the Centre as required, and who, together with other office holder roles, ensures a Centre operates effectively. Centres make decisions based upon consensus.

Sessions: Our Centres deliver early childhood education services through half-day sessions where up to thirty tamariki at a time play in groups with a ratio of at least one adult for every five tamariki on session, and under an approved supervision plan. Session curriculum is guided by the Ministry of Education’s Te Whariki and is described in our Curriculum Policy

Regional teams: Zoned to a regional group of Centres for the purpose of providing local hands-on support for Centres in implementing and maintaining services and operational requirements. Reporting into the National Team.

National team: A central team of roles and responsibilities in place to establish and oversee nationally applicable structures ensuring operational care of our people, assets and legal expectations. Lead by a General Manager who reports into the Trustee Board.

Freedom within framework

All together we operate according to the Constitution, governing regulations and legislation, and our regularly reviewed policies, procedures and practices.

Playcentre Aotearoa’s over-arching framework of our Constitution, philosophy, and policies as well as governing legislation, Education regulations and licensing criteria will be applied in all Playcentre environments for consistency and common understanding and to meet compliance requirements.

Local Centre attributes and areas not covered in the national framework may require local Centre practices to exist. All locally developed Centre, Cluster or regional practices will refer to and align with Playcentre Aotearoa’s over-arching framework.

Our governance structures

Playcentre Aotearoa’s Constitution sets out governance structures, decision making and meetings, and stands above this policy in event of any conflict.

Trustee board: The guardians of Playcentre Aotearoa’s philosophy. Duties and powers include setting our strategic direction and governing the delivery of services we provide. The Board is made up of 3-5 representatives from each of the Houses, including the Co-Presidents of both Houses and reports to the General Meetings.

Houses: To provide cultural consideration of Playcentre Aotearoa matters in accordance with respective customs, traditions and ways of each culture, we have a house system for representation and consultation before coming together to progress decision-making as one.

Our two houses are known as Te Whare Tikanga Māori, our Tangata Whenua House and Tangata Tiriti House, for all other cultures represented in our Playcentre communities.

Clusters: Local groups of Centres formed to collaborate and support each other operationally, and to consult on governance matters, providing Centre views into Tangata Tiriti.

Rōpū Māori: Local groups of whānau Māori members who are recognised by Te Whare Tikanga Māori. Rōpū Māori provides a forum to support whānau Māori within Playcentre and consult on governance matters providing Te Ao Māori views into Te Whare Tikanga Māori.

General meetings: In accordance with our Constitution, Houses will hui, communicate and generally meet. Representatives from the Houses and for the purposes of Playcentre Aotearoa elections and business, come together for the Annual General Meeting. Special meetings can be called by Trustees, or at least 10% of Centres or Rōpū Māori.

Decision-making: Made with open participation, in partnership between the two Houses, and through co-operative development of decisions and consensus being our primary methods for reaching an acceptable outcome. Our decisions will put tamariki first and be centre driven. Only when absolutely necessary do we put decisions to the vote.