Here is a guide on what to look for in a before and after school care program
This parenting business is a tough gig. The decisions you need to make (and continue to make) impact on the wellbeing of the most precious thing in the world to you – so it’s fair to say, you don’t take them lightly.
Finding an outside of school hours program that does more than simply ‘babysit’ your primary school-aged child is a good starting point. Find a before and after school care that encourages your child’s natural curiosity, exploration and problem solving. You want the educators and staff to value and respect your child’s ideas, and to support them to build positive relationships with others…
…and you want a program built on positive interactions, enriching experiences and a safe, happy and empowering environment.
As a parent, you should expect dedicated, qualified educators who encourage, guide and nurture your school aged child into flourishing learners and contributors.
Regardless of whether your work schedule requires care, there are many positive benefits to sending your child to a good quality before and after school care centre.
Benefits of Outside of School Hours Care
Interesting Learning Experiences
Many before and after school care programs offer day to day, and speciality programmes based on children’s interests. Less maths and English…more activities like:
- Craft and creativity projects
- Science exploration
- Construction using recycled and loose part objects
- Small group games
- Physical skills games
- Artist in Residence
- Sports clinics
- Drama and performance
And because we have there are different age groups (5 – 12 years usually), your child will be interacting, learning and playing with children in their own age group; or another if they prefer.
A sense of belonging
A good quality outside of school hours program is a fantastic way for your child to make new friends and connect with peers in a new setting giving them a strong sense of belonging.
Improved social skills.
A good quality outside of school hours program promotes cooperation, support, and respect. This can help children feel more secure about joining a game or starting a conversation and increase self-esteem.
One of the greatest benefits of an after-school program is that many have homework clubs. So instead of the nightly routine of juggling homework with bedtime routines and video games, your night will be a little calmer knowing your child has already completed the following day’s tasks… and studies have shown this provides a solid structure for success, and helps their confidence.
But first, Let’s ask the right questions
Before you jump in, here are some questions to ask your local provider, to make sure their Outside of School Hours Care is right for your child.
The practical stuff
- If the OSHC is not located on school grounds, how will my child travel to and from school to the OSHC service?
- What are the fees charged and what do they include?
- How far ahead do I need to book? Are places available when I need them? I work flexibly – am I able to swap days when I need to?
- What qualifications and experience do the staff have?
- What meals are provided?
- My child has allergies – what is the centre policy
- Can I talk to the educators and staff about my child’s needs and activities offered?
- Is homework supervised?
- Are any meals provided? Do they cater to special dietary needs (eg allergies)?
- Do you administer medication if required?
- What are the centre’s underlying values and how are they seen throughout the program?
The fun stuff
- What activities do you offer for my child?
- If my child doesn’t want to join in organised activities, is there supervised free play?
- Is the environment stimulating and interesting?
- Do you do any mindfulness, meditation or yoga with the children?
- How do you support their wellbeing?
- How is conflict resolutional managed at the centre?
- Do you have a television and is it supervised?
If you do the research, and ask the right questions, your outcome will be more positive. A good quality after school hours care program guides and nurtures your school aged child…helping them develop into confident, flourishing learners and contributors.
This post is sponsored by Gowrie NSW.