Out of school hours care educators and service providers are arguably the quiet achievers in the education and care of our children. As more and more families are needing two incomes to meet the rising cost of living, more and more children are being enrolled in OSHC. Prior to the introduction of the NQF in 2012, this was a fairly casual and unregulated space, where parents were happy to know their children were being fed, entertained and kept safe. Anything more than that was a bonus.
Now, OSHC services are required to employ qualified professionals who must adhere to the NQF requirements as well as the rising expectations of families. In an article about the evolution of OSHC in School News (October, 2016) Adam Pease wrote “In what is becoming an instant download world, parents and families expect to be able to interact with service providers wherever and whenever they choose to.”
So in what is already a challenging space where educators develop and deliver educational programs that are based on MTOP or another approved framework, that are based on the developmental needs of the children, that take into account the individual differences of each child, and that contribute to the five learning outcomes for each child, educators are also expected to be readily accessible to families! Wow!
Using EarlyWorks, OSHC educators can satisfy (or even exceed) the NQS as well as keep parents informed of their children’s progress in real time. Rather than having to duplicate observations and journal entries for every child, EarlyWorks automatically filters information from documentation into comprehensive reports of each child’s development in relation to the My Time Our Place framework (or any customised framework). A comprehensive portfolio of observations, journal entries, images, comments and daily communications is automatically generated for every child in the service. EarlyWorks also allows educators to effortlessly add to the QIP evidence, making it much simpler to keep the QIP updated and readily available to families. EarlyWorks also includes space for educators to engage in critical reflection both individually and collaboratively, and then show how these reflections have been acted upon in future programmes.
As we approach another period of vacation care, the EarlyWorks team would like to acknowledge the amazing work our quiet achieving OSHC teams do in serving schools, children and families across Australia.