What is Before and After School Care?

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Before and After School Care is commonly referred to as Out of Hours School Care (or OSHC). It is a service provided to families where children are cared for by qualified workers before school starts, and again after it finishes.

Operating hours

Before School Care typically operates from around 7am in the morning until the time school starts. After School Care operates from the time school finishes until around 6pm.

Some services provide breakfast for the children in the morning, and afternoon tea in the afternoon.

Each centre will have its own operating hours and fee schedule. Contact the service provider directly to find out about their individual fees, opening hours and enrolment requirements.

Delivered in a variety of locations

OSHC is offered by a range of different providers, in a variety of different locations: sports centres, youth clubs and community centres. These external centres typically have a bus that can deliver children to school in the mornings and pick up them up again in the afternoon. Out of School Hours Care is most often provided at centres based inside schools. These centres are run by the school themselves or by external service providers.

Quality standards and assessment

All OSHC services need to adhere to the National Quality Framework. This means they must comply with certain legal regulations the cover aspects such as physical space provision, staff to child ratios, staffing qualifications and reporting procedures.

Part of the Framework also includes The National Quality Standard (NQS). These standards set a benchmark for early childhood and OSHC services in Australia. Services are assessed and rated against the NQS and given an overall rating, as well as individual ratings for each of the 7 quality areas: educational program and practice, children’s health and safety, physical environment, staffing arrangements, relationships with children, collaborative partnerships with families and communities, and governance and leadership.

The results of these ratings are available for families to view.

It’s more than just care

While it is a service that is a necessity for many working families, OSHC is about more than just supervision of children. While the activities on offer at each service will vary, you can expect your child to be involved in a range of activities such as construction, dress ups, imaginative play, music, sport, cooking and playing games with friends.

When it’s done right, Before and After School Care is a place where children can be cared for in a place that’s not only safe and inviting, but also a whole lot of fun too!

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