There are many ways in which the program in After School Care is developed. Educators’ observations of the students’ interests and the use of the students’ voice are two of the strategies used.
Educators in After School Care are guided by The Council of Australian Governments ‘My Time, Our Place – Framework for School Age Care in Australia’. This Framework provides broad direction for school aged educators to facilitate children’s play, leisure and learning. As a part of the Framework it is the expectation that the program will be working towards the following five Outcomes:
- Children have a strong sense of identity
- Children are connected with a contributes to their world
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
- Children are confident and involved learners
- Children are effective communicators
Here is a small example of how the cycle of planning is implemented.
We reflect on our in-depth knowledge and our observations of the children in After School Care. For example we have made the following observation “As the weather cools down we are observing that the children are spending more time inside. Whilst inside a large number of children enjoy extended periods of time involved in imaginative play. This often involves setting up a restaurant, café, motel etc. The students make up their own menus, money, signs etc.”
We then link this with the Outcomes.
Children are confident and involved learners
- Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed material
We then plan suitable activities and learning opportunities.
We plan to embrace the children’s enjoyment of imaginative play, while at the same time considering the intentional teaching of providing appropriate props to facilitate the learning that can take place. We plan to create two permanent shelved areas in the After Care Room. One a Literacy Resources shelf and the other a Numeracy Resources shelf. On these we will provide props such calculators, key boards, note pads, pretend money, tape measures, rulers, letter dices, number tiles etc. We will encourage the children to use these as their imaginative play props.
Once implemented, educators observe and evaluate and this continues to inform the ongoing cycle of programming.
Collaboration with children is also an important basis for program decision making. Educators are responsive to all children’s strengths, abilities and interests and these are used to inform our program. These responsive relationships are a strength of After School Care. To extend upon our knowledge of each child we have asked our children to complete an After School Care Student Reflection Sheet. We asked them to write down what they are good at and what they would like to learn more about. We asked what they love doing in After School Care and what they wish they could do. Lastly we asked them what they would like to tell the After School Care teachers.
We received some wonderful responses:
Some of the things I love doing in After Care: “go on the computer and go in the hammocks”, “playing Mum’s and Dad’s and climbing on the wobbly bridge”, “going on the computers and going outside”.
Some of the things I wish we could do in After Care: “have a bed so we can all just have a real relax when we want to”, “play on the oval”, “play in a pretend post office”, “science”, “group games more often”.
I would like to tell my After Care teachers: “have a good holiday”, “After Care rocks”, “I love After Care”, “I love them”, “you’re great at everything”, “After Care is the best”, “good job teachers”.
There is some lovely feedback here and some wonderful ideas that we will be excited to implement (we might even find a quiet corner for some cushions and blankets for a ‘real relax’ if needed.
Please feel free to come down to After School Care at any time and see all the wonderful play, leisure and learning that is taking place.
by Karen Woolsey, After School Care Coordinator