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So, you’re new to OSHC? (part 2)

February 16, 2021

An introduction into the world of middle childhood education & care (PART 2).

Welcome back for part 2 in this 2-part series introducing you to the world of outside school hours care.

In our last blog post we covered what is an OSHC service, what is an OSHC educator, an overview of the National Quality Framework, standards, assessment and rating, My Time Our Place, the Regulatory Authority & the role of ACECQA. If you haven’t yet read part one, we encourage you to have a read before jumping into part two. You can access the blog post HERE.

Here are some graphics from our last post to remind you of what we covered:

In part 2 we will be focusing on the day-to-day of outside school hours care, what to expect, important areas to become knowledgeable in and where you can go for more information.

We hope this 2-part blog series gives you insight into what OSHC is, what your role is and how you can support children to grow and flourish at your Service.

Child Protection:

NB – Be sure to research your particular jurisdiction to ensure you are aware of your roles and responsibilities surrounding child protection. The information in this section will reference NSW guidelines.

A very important part of our role as Educators is to ensure all children in our care are respected, supervised, protected from harm & responded to, when you believe they are at risk.

As per Quality Area 2 (Children’s Health & Safety) of the National Quality Standards, element 2.2.3 outlines that Services must ensure that; management, educators and staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities to identify and respond to every child at risk of abuse or neglect.

Regulation 84 of the Education & Care National Regulations outlines:

What are my obligations under the Child Protection Law?

As an Educator at an OSHC service you are considered a mandatory reporter.

What is a mandatory reporter?

A Mandatory Reporter is the legislative requirement for selected classes of people to report suspected child abuse and neglect to government authorities.

For instance, in NSW, mandatory reporting is regulated by the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (The Care Act).

The Mandatory Reporters Guide

The Mandatory Reporters Guide (MRG) assists in providing Mandatory Reporters an appropriate reporting decision. The guide doesn’t determine if the child is at risk of significant harm, this is done during the screening process via the Child Protection Hotline.

Where can I find the Mandatory Reporters Guide?

The MRG can be found on the FACS site Child Story.

ChildStory Reporter is an online tool that supports mandatory reporters to decide how to respond to events and access the Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG), if needed.

The Reporter guides you through the reporting process, suggesting appropriate actions and linking you to more resources. You can also view your report history to check status, outcomes and updates. You will find the link to this website in the resources section of this blog.

We highly recommend going through the decision tree and exploring how the system works.

What are Child Safe Practices?

Taken from the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian website:

The Royal Commission recommended 10 child safe standards, drawing on its findings and extensive research and consultation about what makes organisations child safe.  These standards come with core components to help your organisation implement each standard.

We recommend readying through the guide to child safe practices found on the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian website. The link can be found in the resource section of this blog post.

Active Supervision:

Strategies for active supervision:

Plan your environment

It is critical you set up your environment in a way that facilitates supervision.

Position yourself

When supervising, be aware of your placement & position in the learning environment.

Scan your environment

When you are supervising, scanning your area allows you to be constantly aware of what is going on around you. This allows us to be able to account for all children in our care at all times.

Move around the space

Moving around the play areas allows educators to ensure they have the best view of the children in care. Active movement also ensures you are on your feet in case of an emergency.

Listen

Listen carefully to the environment and children and note any changes in tone or volume. Being aware of these changes can assist in supervising children who may not be in direct vision.

Actively engage

Effective supervision requires a balance of observation and engagement. Educators need to constantly assess and respond to children’s supervision needs whilst remaining engaged with children to promote quality learning opportunities.

Risk assess

Assessing situations to determine the potential risks and benefits for children’s health, safety and wellbeing. Observing children’s play and anticipating what may occur next allows educators to assist children as difficulties arise and to intervene when there is a potential danger to children.

We love this easy-to-read Active Supervision poster from The OOSH Circle. View and download it HERE

Policies & Proecedures:

Policies & procedures act as a course of action or how an event is to be managed by an organisation.

Every service has a series of policies & procedures that are relevant to their service context.  As per the regulations, there are mandatory policies a service is required to have. These include (but are not limited to):

  • health and safety
  • sun protection
  • incident, injury, trauma and illness procedures
  • dealing with medical conditions in children
  • emergency and evacuation
  • excursions
  • interactions with children

Services will also have policies specific to their service context such as:

  • risky play
  • technology & social media
  • animal & pet policy
  • staff wellbeing
  • carers/ personal & annual leave policy
  • babysitting policy

It is important you become aware of your services policies and what is expected of you. Be sure to ask your Service Manager where your policies are and when you will have time to read them.

Relationships with Children:

The importance of developing relationships with children is reflected under Quality Area 5 of the National Quality Standard (NQS).

“Respectful & supportive relationships enable children to:

  • develop their confidence and a strong sense of identity.
  • develop effective communication skills and the ability to express themselves effectively.
  • participate in collaborative learning and build meaningful relationships with others.
  • regulate their own behaviour and learn to negotiate complex social situations and relationships.”

Ref: Guide to the National Quality Framework

How to start building relationships with children:

  1. Have meaningful interactions

Discuss experiences that are relevant and important to both of you. Find a common interest whether that be a sport you like, an activity, a belief, a game, a hobby, a language etc.

When attention is given to building connections and maintaining them over time, children are more likely to feel a sense of security, well-being and belonging. 

-Relationships with Children ACECQA

2. Offer opportunities to participate in the program

It is really important that children are able to participate and engage in the services program. A great way to start building those important relationships with children is to support their engagement in the program. You might do this by:

  • Running activities the children have asked for / show interest in.
  • Asking children what they would like to do / what activities they would like to set up.
  • Doing a Q&A with the children to find out more about them, document this and perhaps show their parents or put it on display!
3. Help & support children to understand and manage their feelings

Children often need help to make sense of and to organise intense and confusing feelings such as anger, sadness, disappointment and jealousy. By helping children understand and manage their own feelings and recognise these same feelings in others, you can assist them to build friendships and participate and express themselves appropriately with individuals and in groups. 

Ref: Relationships with children – ACECQA

4. Play!

After a day at school, or before they are about to start their day, children want to relax and have fun. Children & adults need play, rest & relaxation.

“Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development.”

Ref: The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds, Kenneth R. Ginsburg, and; the Committee on Communications and; and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health

To get a good understanding of the benefits of play and how you can incorporate play into a learning program, we recommend reading the My Time Our Place learning framework. One of the keys focuses in OSHC and Early Learning Education & Care services is implementing a learning through play curriculum.

Ref: My Time Our Place: Framework for School Aged Children, P.6

Graphic: Learning Through Play; Strengthening learning through play in early childhood education programmes, UNICEF

In conclusion

We hope this blog post has given you a clear overview of the day-to-day routines of an OSHC Educator.

Keep an eye on our blog for more resources, tips, discussions around practice & pedagogy & MORE!

Have more questions? Leave a comment or email us on info@fireflyhr.com.au to speak to one of the Firefly HR team.

Further resources

Child Protection:
Active Supervision:
Relationships with Children:
Learning Through Play:

Acknowledgement of Country

At Firefly HR, we acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we work & connect with you from today. As a base, Firefly HR connects from the land of the Garigal or Caregal people, and would like to acknowledge all 29 clan groups of the Eora Nation.

At Firefly HR, we connect – although online, and meet by story sharing, learning, taking on non verbal queues, deconstruct and reconstruct information, and move in non linear directions at times. We use symbols without realising, and link with our own land and community.

This is all interconnected. We are utilising Aboriginal pedagogy with these processes and in our daily work.

We acknowledge the land that we are on today has been the core of all spirituality, language, knowledge, and sacred sites. This knowledge is what us and others need to embrace to ensure a future for our children and our children’s children.

We need to hear, respectfully, and listen.

As a guiding principle to the National Quality Framework that Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are valued, we are working on building the foundations here and believe a strong, meaningful acknowledgement of country is important.