New South Wales releases updated information about preschool children in OSHC
The New South Wales Department of Education has released new guidelines for supporting preschool age children in Outside School Hours Care (OSHC), in response to increased requests for information.
Providing guidance for OSHC and Vacation Care services on the regulatory requirements for preschool age attending these services, the resource also supports services to determine the age of children at OSHC, providing clarification around the wording featured in the Education and Care Services National Regulations in relation to “preschool age and under”
If a child attends OSHC/Vacation Care in December, and is enrolled to attend school in the following year, they are considered to be “preschool age or under.”
If a child attends OSHC/Vacation Care in January of the same calendar year in which they will commence/attend school, they meet the definition of being over preschool age, the Department said.
As well as clarifying some elements of Regulatory requirement, the guidelines make clear certain exemptions to some regulatory requirements under the Education and Care Services National Regulations for services that primarily provide education and care to children over preschool age.
For example, Regulation 104, in relation to fencing, has a regulatory exemption, where a centre based service which primarily provides education and care to children over preschool age is exempt from the requirement to ensure that any outdoor space used by children at the service premises is enclosed by a fence or barrier that is of a height and design that children preschool age or under cannot go through, over or under it.
The guidelines make specific reference to the responsibility each OSHC service has to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of each child attending the service, noting that risk assessments are especially important where services are operated on the site of a primary school, where facilities and equipment may be more suited to older children.
OSHC or Vacation Care services providing education and care to preschool age children, the guidelines note, should consider:
- The suitability of programs, activities, spaces, excursion venues and transport for children’s varied ages, developmental stages, health conditions and abilities.
- The availability and accessibility of age-appropriate furniture, resources and equipment.
- The needs of younger children during transitions where they arrive, leave or move from one place to another place.
The full details of the requirements for caring for preschool aged children in an OSHC setting are available on the Department website, here.
Requests for further information, or specific questions are best directed to the Information and Enquiries team via phone on 1800 619 113.