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OSHC as an integral part of the school

Successful out of school hours care (OSHC) services are an integral part of the school. They are highly visible within the school and the service they offer to children and families is openly acknowledged.

Learning environments

Learning environments and resources are shared between school, preschool and OSHC.

Benefits

  • OSHC services located in the centre of the school can act as a hub. All children can access and play in the OSHC room at recess and lunch while teachers supervise.
  • Sharing spaces and resources maximises outcomes for children and provides a cost-effective use of school space.
  • Children in OSHC can build on and reinforce skills learnt at school such as using computers and library resources.
  • School students can benefit from using OSHC facilities, such as the kitchen.

Reciprocal relationships

Staff members from school, preschool and OSHC collaborate to decide how the services can best support each other to maximise outcomes for children.

Strategies and benefits

Active representation and participation in school, preschool and OSHC committees by staff members from all services is important.

This could include engaging with children, guiding children's behaviour, work health and safety, the OSHC advisory committee, and the school governing council.

Regular communication between school leadership and school, preschool and OSHC staff is essential. For example, sharing of meeting minutes between school, preschool and OSHC, sharing of information through electronic daybooks, newsletters, group emails and displays.

Policies and procedures between school, preschool and OSHC should be consistent. Some examples are:

  • child protection
  • enrolments
  • delivering and collecting children
  • nutrition
  • food safety
  • use of computers and electronic/social media
  • guiding children's behaviour
  • sun protection.

Programs

Diversity between the programs delivered at the site is understood and appreciated.

Opportunities for positive development of children needs to be identified, planned and documented.

Benefits 

  • OSHC provides a supportive environment for the development of social and life skills that complement the programs offered at school and preschool.
  • Cross-age peer tutoring benefits children of all ages. 
    • Older children’s positive self-esteem and consolidation of learning is supported.
    • Younger children are exposed to a variety of experiences and a wide range of social environments.
  • Programs can be delivered across services. 
    • For example, planting, maintaining and harvesting vegetable gardens and establishing natural habitats for native wildlife, such as installing frog ponds or planting butterfly gardens, can be utilised by all services within the school community and provide many learning opportunities.
  • An effectively financially monitored service enables fees to be set as low as possible so the service is accessible and affordable.

Staff

Staff could be encouraged to work in different services across the site.

Strategies and benefits

  • Contract teachers can fill qualified positions during OSHC and vacation care.
  • SSOs can work in school, preschool and OSHC.
  • Working across services helps staff acknowledge and understand the different programs offered.
  • Children are able to interact with staff in a variety of learning and social environments, fostering understanding of different ways of being.
  • Recruiting staff that reflect the diversity of the service and local community supports and encourages children's understanding of cultural competence.
  • University or TAFE students working within the program are role models.
  • Employing former students strengthens the sense of community.
  • An effective staff team constantly questions and reflects on their work practice to be sure that they are meeting the needs of the broader community.
  • OSHC staff that also work in the school strengthen and maintain relationships developed with each child.

Children

Positive outcomes for children provide the foundation for all learning environments in school communities.

Strategies and benefits

  • Documenting children’s engagement with programs and their development is essential.
  • If children have specific development or learning needs, ensure that this information is shared between the school, the OSHC service and other agencies. For example, individual children's learning plans and observations.
  • When children are highly engaged their voices drive the ideas.

Contact

Out of school hours care unit

Phone: 8226 6427
Emaildecd.oshc [at] sa.gov.au