Community connections and diversity a strength for Ambrose OSHC

Community connections and diversity a strength for Ambrose OSHC

by Freya Lucas

May 24, 2022

By making collaborative partnerships with families, the local school and the wider community, Ambrose Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) has created a supportive and inclusive environment for all the children in its care. 

 

The service spoke recently about their practice, sharing details about how its partnership with the St Paul the Apostle Primary School community enhances the service provided to children and families. 

 

Collaboration, Coordinator Kirsten Burns explained, is embedded in both the program and the running of the service. 

 

“Community starts with us,” she explained. “We take the time to get to know the families that share their lives with us. We get to know the school community and build connections with teachers, school staff and parents and through these connections we have built a wider network within the greater Winston Hills community.”

 

Educators communicate with families during pick up and drop off, focussing on positive messaging and friendly communication to build rapport. 

 

The service also works in collaboration with its KU Inclusion Professional to help guide them with strategies to ensure all children are actively participating and included in the service.

 

“We also work alongside the school and use the Positive Behaviour Support for Learning (PBS4L) which is used across both Catholic Diocese of Parramatta schools and OSHC services to ensure that there is a seamless and consistent approach in supporting children’s behaviour in both settings,” Ms Burns added. 

 

School staff and Ambrose educators have open lines of communication to assist in providing seamless support for children. 

 

The service, Ms Burns said, learnt a lot about its connections with families during the isolation periods of COVID-19. 

 

“Like many parts of the state, the St Paul the Apostle community was heavily affected by COVID-19, but our service remained open to offer support to families who required care for their children,” she explained. 

 

“During this time, we missed many of our families who couldn’t attend, however we continued our communication with them by sending weekly newsletters, emails, day books through the Xplor app as well as home activity packs.”

 

The activity packs were created collaboratively and were inspired by feedback from one family who was not attending the service, but whose child missed all the activities which are programmed for the children. 

 

“Families expressed how helpful these activities were for their children to have as it offered them engaging and productive ways to keep busy. While the COVID-19 lockdown was a challenging time for families and educators, it allowed the service to self-reflect and improve in many areas,” she said.

 

The service also engages with the local First Nations community to support cultural inclusivity and recently worked with an Elder from Gunawirra to update the service’s Acknowledgement of Country.

 

“It’s so important that our service’s Acknowledgement of Country, which is said during daily group sessions, is respectful of the First Nations community and their culture,” Ms Burns said. 

 

More information about Ambrose Out of School Hours Care may be found here.

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