Social Media for Out of School Hours Care

Co-Founder Firefly HR OSHC SpecificRecruitment | Director Pennant Hills… See more

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We all tend to use social media for our personal lives, but what about for our OSHC centres? Why don’t we stretch our reach to families and the community via this platform?

I know many centres do, but I wanted to reflect more on this area.

Is your centre on social media?

I’m a bit against having everything on show for everyone to see, day by day (hour by hour) updates of our lives BUT for an OSHC centre – this can be a huge communication tool we could be utilising.

Some key issues in OSHC regarding families and communication are:

  • Families are time poor, they rush in and out as they head to work (battle traffic or public transport) or rush back (and still have to go home, cook dinner, get their kids to bed, etc).
  • Families don’t always understand what we do in OSHC, that we are professional educators, they don’t give feedback when we ‘try’ and ask for it, and so much more.

Social media is a tool that could be used to bridge the two above communication issues. You can help time poor families by making communication easier, by providing it in a means that is easy for them to access – such as with a Facebook post. You can be as brief as you like, to get across small bits of information and pieces at a time.

I have been conscious of this with my email newsletters over the last few years. Most parents would read these newsletters to and from work quickly, so I started to give families small information (one or two items) instead of a newsletter with 10 or more items – it was too much. I also thought that they likely read our emails on their phones, so before sending out an email – I send it to my email and view it on my phone, to see how it looks and if it’s easy to read.

Recently I embarked on the social media journey for OSHC and all I can say is wow. The engagement you can get from families is amazing! You can help give time poor families information they can easily view in their own time. You can extend on what you do, give snippets of our Framework, share changes and so much more to help bridge that communication and knowledge gap.

If you embark on the social media journey for your OSHC service, you will need to consider your stakeholders wants, what your community uses and what will work best. One stakeholder I really checked in with was the children. With social media, we can open up so many unknowns so I decided to have no recognisable pictures of the children. Although parents may give permission, a lot of children are really aware of themselves and often don’t want their photo’s taken. It is what suits our service and will be different everywhere.

“Social networks represent the digital reflection of what humans do: we connect and share” – Jeremiah Owyang

There’s so many social platforms to choose from – not just Facebook, it just happened to be where I started the journey. If you do embark on the social media journey, see what will work best with your stakeholders.

Have a look what’s out there, there are already many centres on social media utilising the communication tool.

I’m a firm believer in we need to communicate more with families in what we do, but in a simpler way. We adapt what we do for children so often, but how often do we adapt what we do for families in regards to communication?

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