Firstly we, the OOSH staff and children would like to thank those parents who generously donated items which make our experience in OOSH more comfortable and rewarding. We are grateful for the donations of bedding, games, stationary and kitchen utensils. We are still interested in receiving:

  • music or a working music player (with USB port) to add to our cultural experience.

  • indoor plants

  • balls (especially handballs)

  • small mats/rugs (for activities on the floor)

  • blankets/pillows

  • wool

  • chalk

We recently had a visit from a few students from The University of Wollongong who were conducting an observational research study of the nutrition and physical activity environments within our centre. Children were invited to wear a lightweight activity monitor (belt) that monitored the level of physical activity during the time they were at the program. Afternoon activities conducted during the program were observed and recorded by two trained researchers. The children understood what the survey was about and appeared to enjoy being subjects of scientific interest.
Despite the variable, sometimes windy and icy weather this winter, the children in OOSH show a definite preference for playing outside. Favourite activities are:

  • Handball. This is often played in the courtyard after afternoon tea. Boys and girls of all ages join in one large group, lining up for their turn in the square; or split up into smaller groups of pairs in different areas of the playground.

  • Rock grinding and skin decorating. Groups of children grind river stones collected by Alena on the sandstone rocks near the sandpit. When mixed with water and chalk, they form a paste which is painted on skin to make decorations. The stones come in a variety of colours and ‘gold’ is the most valued commodity at present.

  • Soccer, other ball games and chasing games are popular and provide opportunities for intense bouts of exercise. ‘Capture the Flag’ was all the rage last term but that has given way to skipping games now.

  • Games and stationary are often taken outside and worked on at the tables.

  • Skipping ropes, bags, nets, parachute, sticks, dress up clothes, musical instruments and other items are used for a variety of creative and imaginary games.

  • Pasta is often requested for afternoon tea since we have a new stove.

WORKSHOP: QUALITY IS A JOURNEY by Network of Community Activities 
Tasha and Alena recently attended a workshop held by Network which focused on the leadership role of childcare supervisors. We enjoyed this very much and came away with some  ideas for the improvement for our OOSH service and insights into our roles; effective teamwork and the Quality Improvement Program for the National Quality Framework. Following are some of the more interesting points we looked at:

  1. Our emotions are contagious, so the carers need to pass on positive attitudes to their co-workers, guardians and children.

  2. If our values are aligned with our organisation, we are enthusiastic about our work.

  3. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important in leadership and carer rolls than intellectual intelligence. The brain has plasticity, so this can be developed.

‘You are unique, strong but not perfect’

  1. Self-reflection is important, both individually and in working as a team. The most successful centres allow for regular meetings which incorporate programming and implementing the Quality Improvement Plan for the National Quality Framework. This allows workers to build a cohesive relationship with each other.

  2. When we solve problems together and empower our co-workers, everyone has a positive attitude about coming to work. This includes running ‘passion programs’ in which carers incorporate their interests into the OOSH program.

  3. Documentation is important for:

  • The National Quality Framework

  • Staff to communicate

  • Communication with families

  1. Reflection on practise- The Regulator’s experience

Points of interest:
-          Children are our future leaders
-          Assessment and rating is a quality benchmark.
-          Workers should invest time in the Quality Improvement Plan.
-          Everyday practice is most important. Continue the journey of change and improvement.
-          Present evidence to the examining officer.
-          Themes of ‘Exceeding Practice’:
1.       Practice is embedded in service operations.
2.       Practice is informed by critical reflection.
3.       Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with families and/or the community.
To finish the workshop, we were given some resources in the form of links to articles and videos as well as books and contacts to enhance our experiences as OOSH care providers.