Getting Back to ‘Normal’

For someone who has personally run OSHC services through 2 years of the Pandemic, not to mention the devastating bushfires and the flood crisis, I understand – its exhausting! The constant changes and factors that impact on the service and you are expected to know all the answers and run the show like nothing’s going on!

I thought I would share my experiences as a Nominated Supervisor working through the pandemic and the little things that helped me adapt to changes during the madness that is the world today!

 

‘The New Normal’

‘The New Normal’ – personally I hate this term – but for lack of a better one, lets stick with this. What does it mean? That we all pretend all is well in the world? That the expectation to work through our fears and put our worries to the side is, okay?

I don’t think so. So let me say this – it’s okay to not be okay! I know we put on a brave face and a smile and act like COVID isn’t affecting us, but it takes its toll – especially on the educators who show up every day, the coordinators and assistant coordinators who are pushing through, despite the overwhelming pressure and never-ending workload.

 

So, what to do about it?

The best way that I could cope was setting aside a little time with a co-worker– 10-15 minutes before or after your shift (I know this can always be difficult – but trust me it’s worth it!). Spend half of that time on the negative train – Vent and get out all your grievances! – Yell if you need to. Get it off your chest!

Then with the other half of your allocated time – discuss what you can do about it. If there is nothing you can do (such as end the pandemic) then spend this time talking about the positives or something that you are happy about. Something you are grateful for – it doesn’t have to be work-related. This helps get you into a more positive mood. This is great when done before your afternoon session to shift your mood into something more positive to be ready for the children.

This is a great read for tips on Burnout! Burnout In OSHC Blog

 

Coping with the workload

Now that you’ve had your vent and you’re ready to take on the day – how do we cope with the workload?

I know that when looking at the many daily tasks to be completed from an overall perspective, it could be so overwhelming, constantly thinking of what I needed to do next. But when I broke down the tasks and delegated, it was much easier to manage. I learnt to share the workload and hold educators accountable for the menial tasks, ensuring all educators were responsible for their assigned duties.

 

  • First things first: Breakdown the daily tasks into a List the tasks that need to be completed daily and leave a space to assign an educator to complete the duty. (Use the example below so you can see what I mean)

 

  • Set the expectations: explain what needs to be done and how to do it. Whether they are permanent staff or casuals, let them know what is expected of them during the sessions AND what is expected for each This way everyone knows how to carry out each task.

 

  • Assign the Duties: Working in OSHC means working with a team, and as a Coordinator, you can’t do the job on your own! You need to be able to rely on your educators to pull their weight – especially when it comes to daily tasks such as cleaning, setting up play spaces and serving food. This is where the checklist comes in handy! Assign the menial tasks to your educators – write their names next to the Now you can hold your educators responsible for doing the tasks.

 

  • Mini Meeting: When your educators arrive, ensure they know where they have been assigned and any extra information they might need for the day. Such as wet weather or that an extra-curricular activity is on that day. Spend 5-10 minutes having a mini-meeting or discussion with the staff and ensure everyone understands what needs to be done. Use this as an example! Huddle Meeting Duties Checklist Example

 

Great! You’ve done it! You’ve delegated tasks! That should ease some pressure and share the workload. I know every service is different, so tailor the checklist to suit your needs. Whether is be a separate checklist for separate areas (juniors years k-2 supervision areas & seniors’ years 3-6 supervision areas).

 

Starting Back at OSHC

I know with the constant lockdowns and intermittent attendances; children have really suffered. I know it’s probably not what you want to hear – but be patient. Children have a lot of anxieties about being in large groups – I know I observed a fair few children who needed help with sharing and playing in an environment surrounded by many children.

Try and hold year group activities such as group games – the standard go-to’s: 4 corners, Chinese whispers, survival tag. Really encourage larger group activities and participation. Join in! show the children that need a little bit more encouragement that the games are fun and exciting. But be patient with those that are hesitant. These are great to include the new children to your service too.

Start planning out the year in programming!

I created a cultural programming calendar – look up the cultural events that are relevant in your service and plan for activities in advance. Plan these activities out in advance so you’re not struggling closer to the date. I used the NSW Calendar for Cultural Diversity & the NSW /ACT Inclusion Agency Calendar as my basis – I went through the events and dates and highlighted which events were relevant to the children in my service and programmed for them.

NSW Calendar for Cultural Diversity 2022 Inclusion Agency Calendar 2022

 

  • Australia Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • Anzac Day
  • Neurodiversity Week
  • Naidoc Week
  • Harmony Day/Week
  • R U OK? Day
  • Eid & Ramadan
  • Easter
  • Diwali

Another read that’s great for an Educational Leader! Educational Leadership in OSHC Blog

Spread The Positivity

I know how easy it is to hold onto the negatives that arise – but its really not healthy for you or your co- workers! So, lets spread the positivity! At your regular staff meetings, some time to acknowledge your co- workers for the work they are doing, whether this is just a comment that is recorded on your meeting notes or sending your team a text message to thank the team for their efforts. Something small can go a long way for morale in the workplace!

 

I am passionate about OSHC and quality of care provided to children, but know that supporting educators is just as important. Remember that you are not alone! You have a large support network around you. Reach out to Firefly for some industry advice any time! Contact us Here. To view more content like this visit our webpage at https://fireflyhr.com.au/ or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fireflyhrOSHC/. https://linktr.ee/fireflyhr