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So, you’re new to OSHC?

January 25, 2021

An introduction into the world of middle childhood education & care (PART 1)

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Welcome to the OSHC family!

You are in for a wonderful journey as you navigate the world of before, after and vacation care with school aged children. This is a very special industry that allows educators to have a real positive impact on children’s lives. You have the chance to watch children grow, learn and develop over the span of their primary school education. Some children you will have the opportunity to spend more time with them than their parents might be able to during the week. This gives you an important job! Ensuring they are provided with quality care, learning environments and opportunities to build important relationships with their peers and educators.

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.

(please note links to all documents and files outlined in this blog will be listed at the end in the resource list)

PART ONE: The National Quality Framework

Part one of this 2-part series will focus on the National Quality Framework. This can be a little bit heavy, but don’t worry, we will break it down for you.

But, to start, let’s answer some important questions

So many acronyms, what do they all mean?

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We love our acronyms in OSHC! Everything is shortened down and to make it trickier, we don’t all use the same acronyms! But here are some basic acronyms that will help you to read and understand this blog post.

What is an OSHC Service?

Before, after & vacation care Services offer Education & Care to those in the bracket of middle childhood or primary school aged children (usually 5-12 years old).

“An OSHC service provides a range of benefits for the school community that support children’s learning, achievement, engagement and wellbeing.”

-Victorian Education Department

The Victorian Education Department outlines the many benefits of OSHC Including:

  • Provides opportunities to strengthen & build relationships
  • Provides a range of learning experiences
  • Allows for continuity of early learning

What is an Educator?

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An individual who provides education and care for children as part of an education and care service (National Law).

The National Quality Framework

The National Quality Framework (NQF) is a nationwide agreement to work collectively to improve and provide quality educational & developmental outcomes for children. The guiding principles of the NQF are shown in this graphic.

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The National Quality Framework is an overarching system which encompasses 6 important areas. I like to use this image to show the 6 areas that come under the NQF.

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1.    National Law & National Regulations

The National law sets a national standard for children’s education and care across Australia.

The National Regulations support the National Law by providing detail on a range of operational requirements for an education and care service. – ACECQA

2.    National Quality Standards (NQS)

The NQS looks to improve Education and Care across Long Day Care, Family Day Care, Pre-Schools & Outside School Hours Services. The standards outline 7 Quality Areas which Services actively work towards meeting or exceeding through their everyday practices. The 7 Quality Areas include:

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To get familiar with the National Quality Areas, standards and elements we recommend starting with the Quality posters found on the ACECQA website. These outline the 7 quality areas and the standards within them that each service aims to embed in their service program.

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3.    Assessment & Rating Process

The Assessment & Rating process is carried out by the Regulatory Authority in your state or territory.  Services are assessed against the 7 Quality Areas of the NQS as outlined above. Services are given a rating for each quality rating and then an overall quality rating for the service.

There are 5 ratings given to a Service:

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4.    Approved Learning Framework

Your Service must ensure the program being delivered is informed by an approved learning framework. The Nationally approved learning framework for school aged care is the ‘My Time Our Place’ Framework for School Aged Care in Australia.

Please note: There is also an approved Learning Framework specific to Victoria: Victorian Early Years Learning & Development Framework

The MTOP Learning Framework incudes; principles, professional practices & learning outcomes for children.

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-Graphic: My Time Our Place, P.10

The Framework (MTOP) puts children’s wellbeing and learning at the core and comprises three inter-related elements: Principles, Practice and Outcomes. All three elements are fundamental to pedagogy and program decision-making in school age care. A school age care program encompass all the interactions, experiences, routines and events, planned and unplanned, which occur in an environment designed to support wellbeing and foster children’s learning and development.

My Time Our Place, P.7

The educational program supports the following learning outcomes for children:

  • The child will have a strong sense of identity
  • The child will be connected with and contribute to their world
  • The child will have a strong sense of wellbeing
  • The child will be a confident and involved learner
  • The child will be an effective communicator

The following are the five Principles that underpin contemporary theory and research:

  • Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships
  • Partnerships
  • High expectations & equity
  • Respect for diversity
  • Ongoing learning & reflective practice

The above Principles underpin each Educators Practice. Educators draw on the following Practices to promote children’s learning:

  • Holistic approaches
  • Collaboration with children
  • Learning through play
  • Intentionality
  • Environments
  • Cultural competence
  • Continuity and transitions
  • Evaluation for wellbeing and learning

5.    Regulatory Authority

Regulatory authorities oversee and implement the (NQF) in each state and territory, usually as part of that state or territory’s education department.

In most cases the regulatory authority is the first point of contact for providers. They are responsible for:

  • granting approvals, including provider approval and service approvals
  • assessing and rating services against the National Quality Standard
  • working with ACECQA to promote continuous quality improvement and educating the sector and community about the NQF.

-ACECQA

6.    ACECQA

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA – pronounced a-see-kwa) is an independent national authority that assists governments in administering the National Quality Framework (NQF) for children’s education and care.

-ACECQA

In conclusion

We hope this blog post has given you a clear overview of the compliance, regulation and framework components of what it means to work in an OSHC setting.

In part 2 in our series on ‘so, you’re new to OSHC’, we will be delving into some of those necessary skills and knowledge that will really help you in your new OSHC adventure. We will include information on:

  • Service Philosophies
  • Child protection
  • Policies & Procedures
  • Active Supervision
  • Building relationships with children
  • Understanding children’s behaviour

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

Resource List

Further Reading:

OSHC After the Bell Podcast

Episode #9 – My Time Our Place and the often-overlooked elements of Principles & Practices

ACECQA Video

OSHC Quality Area 1 Workshop – A recap of key learnings from the ACECQA – National Outside School Hours Services Association Quality Area 1 workshop.

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.