Wesley OOSH Quakers Hill shares thoughts on developing and delivering vacation care
The quality and calibre of vacation care offerings is on the mind of many outside school hours care (OSHC) providers around the country with the break between term one and two having just concluded.
Wesley OOSH Quakers Hill, in New South Wales, has been busy over the past few weeks delivering a quality vacation care program during the school holidays, with centre coordinator Claudia Lopez sharing her thoughts with the NSW Department of Education on what makes the program a successful one.
Preparation is key, she shared, noting that the service starts preparing its vacation care program months prior to implementation, with ongoing input from the children.
“Our educators are working to provide a responsive educational program with daily experiences that consider the skills, interests and needs of the children, offered through a variety of arts, crafts, indoor and outdoor play,” she said.
“During term one, our team of educators facilitated numerous group sessions and used a suggestion book with the children to learn about their current interests,” Ms Lopez said. “Using these two methods, our team put together a vacation care program that included some of the suggestions we received.”
Noting the children’s excitement about Easter, the program also included projects including painting and craft reflecting traditional Easter experiences.
The vacation care program also included a ‘Brick Worx’ workshop, as many children had expressed a strong interest and enjoyment in completing Lego activities throughout the term.
“We know that scheduling responsive activities fosters the child’s sense of identity as they’re able to openly express their ideas during a creative activity. Working on these programmed activities with their peers, educators and external facilitators also strengthens their connection to community,” Ms Lopez said.
“This also facilitates the children’s confidence and wellbeing, as they have seen their ideas turn into a full day programmed activity in their chosen interest area.”
Families are kept informed about the program with a calendar of events is made available on the service website in advance, which assists families to decide which activities their child might most enjoy, along with information regarding their child’s progress either verbally or through the service’s daybook, which uses photos and observations to highlight what the children have achieved each day.
“It is important to us that our families are able to provide their feedback on their child’s experience at vacation care, either verbally or by a survey, as it allows us to take on board suggestions for the next program,” Ms Lopez explained.
As a result of family feedback the service is exploring digital applications to allow better communication between families and educators and to boost engagement with the program.
To learn more about Wesley OOSH Quakers Hill please see here.
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