At Windsor School Age Care Centre (WSACC), children in our care have a diverse range of activities to choose from, both facilitated and free-play. Each activity is designated to an area and supervised by the requisite number of carers, to meet child:carer ratios. Children can move between activities, and movement is facilitated and tracked via walkie-talkie communication between carers – using a private channel for privacy and security purposes.
Quality of Programing
WSACC’s program is much more than a plan of activities; it is a program of learning opportunities focusing on achieving the outcomes of the My Time, Our Place (MTOP) Framework for School Age Care in each Childs’ program.
WSACC offers a child focused program that provides children with a warm, friendly, safe, caring and enjoyable environment.
The following testimonials demonstrate the quality and diversity of the programs offered by WSACC:
“…I think one of the best things about WSACC is how they have strived to create a nurturing and supportive home-like environment while still providing many different activities and programs to keep children occupied. For children that may spend significant amounts of time at WSACC due to their parents work commitments I think this it is absolutely essential..”
“…They have also tailored the programs and space to ensure that they are able to cater to the different age groups and needs of the incredibly diverse group of children that attend the centre every day…”
“…The Vacation Care Program incorporates lots of exciting excursions as well as engaging activities at the service…”
“…I love the way that they also care for children with disabilities. I believe that this opportunity for children to mix with a variety of different people is such a valuable part of their development of maturity and empathy. Everyone at Windsor School Age Care Centre is included and respected and the staff go to great efforts to keep the activities varied and interesting for all…”
We provide quality school age care in which children can participate in interesting, fun, and educational activities.
WSACC and its staff strive to create a learning environment deliberately designed to allow exploration and discovery so that children may enhance basic life skills while promoting their right to grow with a confident self-image.
WSACC programing is a recognised point of difference within outside school hours care (OSHC) services. The development of this quality and variety of program offerings has been the result of our active engagement with the Quality Assurance Systems and commitment to continual improvement planning.
The program reflects the intent of the MTOP Framework by providing opportunities for children to maximise their potential and to develop a foundation for future success.
It prioritises learning through play and leisure, aspires to foster a sense of enjoyment and aims to extend and enrich children’s wellbeing while attending care.
It provides opportunities for children to develop a strong sense of well-being to be confident and involved learners and to be effective communicators.
The program reflects and maintains the principles outlined in the framework and takes a holistic approach to delivering a high standard of quality care and practice with a strong emphasis on collaboration and learning through play.
Targeted educator led conversations during playtime are used to reinforce our Guidelines of Great Behaviour:
a. Treating ourselves, others, our environment and resources with respect;
b. We take responsibility for our own choices;
c. We wear hats outside;
d. We play in a bully free zone;
e. We play safely; and
f. We play in areas supervised by staff.
This is an intrinsic part of our Behaviour Support and Management Policy.
Areas of educator focus during play include:
a. Resilience – Sportsmanship, coping with losing;
b. Getting Along – Turn taking / Sharing;
e. Humour – laughing with our friends not at them;
g. Memory; and
Diversity of Programing
WSACC delivers high cultural, educational, attitudinal, educational and motivational diversity in its programing regime. Some of the current activities include:
Special Projects / Child Led Programing
Children are encouraged and coached in how to utilise a number of structures that allow them to plan and organise activities of their choosing either independently or in friendship groups.
The WSACC Activity Plan / Request form allows a child the opportunity to plan by considering the what, when, where and who of their ideas and then request which educators will support them, what costs are involved etc.
Their plan is taken to the team meeting to be implemented into the program. Children are also supported to negotiate and collaborate with educators around their interests and ideas for their own program.
Special projects are sometimes educator led and some are child led.
Examples of this sort of programing include:
a. child led excursions such as bike riding;
b. to have ice cream after school;
c. to purchase homework resources from external suppliers; and
d. centre based activities such as :
– fashion shows;
– hairdressing salons;
– coffee shops;
– innumerable competitions;
– birthday parties;
– sports days;
– theatre performance;
– talent shows; and
– official record breaking attempts (WSACC maintains an official book of records for feats such as the longest continuous handball rally between two people or highest number of continuous jumps on a pogo stick).
The Sustainability Project
WSACC has engaged a Sustainability Project Facilitator whose role is to engage small groups of children in a range of educational activities that work towards WSACC operating in a sustainable manner.
Goals for this learning area include broadening the areas focus to increase intentional teaching around electricity and water usage.
The program demonstrates sustainability as a natural cycle accessible to all by recycling food waste through composting systems back into the gardens to improve soil fertility and grow vegetables and herbs that are used in the meals provided. Many of the plants in the garden are grown with seed collected and propagated from previous crops by the children. The project teaches children about weeds and pests and how to make natural pesticides and herbicides.
Through program assessments children have been found to have developed an understanding of where food comes from, an interest in growing food that extends to creating gardens at home and a liking for a wider choice of foods.
WSACC launched its Blogging Project in August 2012. Children are enrolled with a personal blog to regularly record their personal learning goals, interest areas and documentation of their play (learnings).
These individual blogs are private, only open to parents, WSACC educators and a few selected friends, specifically invited with the permission of the Child’s parents.
Currently the blogging project is loading and posting photographs and comments from children who are interested in documenting and sharing their learning.
WSACC also has an ongoing blogging page which is updated regularly with the photographs, videos, reports and recordings from the children involved in the activities and learning of the day. Parents are invited to view details on this page at the centre or are emailed a screen shot of the post. The parent can then engage in a dialogue with the blogging educators and their children about each post. This connection to their world provides authentic feedback on their learning, as parents, friends and educators comment in a way to build critical and creative thinking about their blog posts. The highest levels of security and controls are in place.
WSACC Children’s Newsletter
The newsletter provides children opportunities for taking on leadership roles, learning opportunities and engagement in the Computer Lab as they report, write, edit, photograph and publish regular newsletters about events and programing.
Documentation of Learning
WSACC undertakes scheduled meetings offered between each family, the Educational Leader and each child to reflect, review and set goals in their program.
Art and Craft Program
The Art and Craft Program complements the other program areas at WSACC by providing children with alternative resources they may otherwise have not had access to, in order to interpret and translate their ideas in creative ways. The program is dynamic, continuously developing to reflect the interest and needs of the children who use it.
The Art and Craft program provides a valuable platform that allows children the opportunities to strengthen and develop their own relationships; it provides support and recognises talents and interests.
The Art and Craft program reflects the centre’s philosophy that states: “…WSACC and its staff strive to create a learning environment deliberately designed to allow exploration and discovery so that children may enhance basic life skills while promoting their right to grow with a confident self-image…”.
The Art Program emphasises the creative process and experience rather than a final product. The children’s ideas are the foundation of the program.
The program is written by the children for each other and is initiated each day with the shared understanding that others have freedom of choice either to participate or to initiate their own creative experience. It regards ownership of the program, sharing of ideas, individual choice and freedom of expression as a high priority.
The program is delivered in a flexible way allowing children the time they need to revisit their ideas and projects. They have access to individual art folders and storage areas to support this.
The program is supported by the centre community with a strong “recycling, reuse and donations” focus on resource procurement. The environment and resources are organised to encourage independence and to support spontaneous ideas.
Home Corner Program
The Home Corner provides the environment where children can create their own themed play such as a fashion show, shop, restaurant, school, beauty salon, etc. Educators are available to support and extend children’s play as well as to help them document and reflect on their learning. Vacation care excursions are conducted twice per year to go “op” shopping for resources to support development and rejuvenation of the program.
Children also utilise the resources from Home Corner in various other activities for play options such as teddy bears picnics, tea parties and they freely wear dress up items out to play.
The Construction program is largely child initiated with the addition of intentional teaching opportunities being seized upon by educators around child interactions and friendships, themes of construction or imagination being explored by children and in the documentation of their work.
Construction is a gathering point for children with like interests, where they work together, collaborate, negotiate and problem solve, whilst they build, engineer and engage with the resources in the program area.
One of the key strengths of this program area is the ability for children to take ownership of their constructions. They are able to create a ‘base’ and come back to it day after day using WSACC signage to ask for their work to be respected whilst unattended.
The Homework Facilitator rotates children through the Homework Program based on children’s individual homework program commitments. Children and Educators negotiate timing and homework tasks considering other extracurricular commitments, parents expectations and their play plans.
Literacy Support / Reading Buddies / Junior Educators
WSACC’s literacy support program currently engages educators to support children to engage in reading and literacy activities.
Parents can request that their child be added to our reading schedule, or children can nominate themselves to participate in the reading program. Educators spend 10 minutes with each child on the register listening to children read and support comprehension and general literacy skills.
Junior Educators are used in other areas of the program to provide additional support to younger children, vulnerable children, and children who have not linked in with other children in play. Junior educators play board games; turn the skipping rope, throw a ball (etc.) with individuals or small groups.
Extracurricular Drop Off
WSACC educators ensure children aren’t too absorbed in play to be ready for their extracurricular activities on time. Educators meet the children at an agreed place (using the UHF walkie talkie network to coordinate with all staff), and then either escort or release the children to the activity. If released, the educator checks in on the activity within first 10 minutes to ensure arrival and successful participation is occurring. In between drop off and pick up the educator returns to the centre to prepare future groups.
WSACC Organised Extracurricular Programs
WSACC programs multiple extracurricular activities with external and expert facilitators. These include Dance, Language, Sports and Circus School activities.
Games and Drawing Area
Like a kitchen / dining area in a family home our games and drawing area is the central meeting point of the service. It has generous communal tables with room that allows the children to group by choice and collaborate in deciding what of the 100s of games available they will play.
There are educators allocated to the space to assist and guide the children in their games and drawing. The educators use strategies to reinforce assessed learning opportunities.
Our supportive behaviour strategy is based on a preventative methodology and we have found that games are a perfect tool to address or help children in specific areas of need.
The area lends itself to being a haven for the children who may be less socially competent, where they can access educator time and support. The educators encourage friendship-development and interaction via the use of supervised games and group drawing activities.
The kitchen and dining area provides all meals served at WSACC during before and after school care in a relaxed and home style environment where children make selections from menu offerings and then take their food on a plate to dining tables to eat together.
All menu offerings meet Australian Government Guide to Healthy Eating Dietary Guidelines as referenced in PANOSH publication Physical Activity and Nutrition Policy and Smart Choices – Healthy Food and Drink Strategy for Queensland Schools.
All special dietary requirements such as allergies or cultural preferences are catered for, individually, if necessary.
Food is on offer from 7.20 to 8.20 am in the mornings and 3.20 to 5.00 pm each afternoon, allowing children to have a choice about when they eat. Preps and new children are orientated through the food routine within their orientation sessions.
The quality and consistency of food available is reflective of WSACC’s commitment to providing children with quality food options that encourage children to try new things, to consider the balance and quantity of foods they are choosing and is representative of the food and nutrition policy.
At vacation care, children have a choice of bringing their own food or purchasing food from a WSACC tuckshop menu, which is then individually prepared for each child. All children are served and eat lunch together at the same time at Vacation Care.
The service has evolved a unique and personal approach to food service for WSACC utilising educators specializing in food provision.
Consistent messages around good nutrition and hygiene are reinforced daily in positive and creative ways as well as through visual messages on walls.
Afternoon tea and breakfast at WSACC is a relaxed and social part of the daily routine. Some children organise to meet at afternoon tea, plan their participation in the program and launch into play. Others make the most of playing first and then eating later in the session when there are fewer children and quicker service.
The library area provides the resources to support independence in literacy. It is well stocked with popular storybooks, novels and reference materials and has comfortable couches for reading. The Service also has portable outdoor seating for children to read outside in the playground.
Educators actively research and assess individual children’s’ reading interests and source books that match and extend the range of literature available through our Brisbane City Council library membership.
The children value their library space as an area that they can have time to themselves to read or ask an educator to read with them or for a group; and this is evidenced in the utilisation of the space each day.
Children’s interest in literacy is currently being encouraged by the development of an outdoor reading space with the resourcing of a mobile book cart and portable lounges / bean bags. Children are therefore being encouraged to engage in our natural environments with literacy for relaxation and learning; making learning natural to their daily experience.
The Central Play environment provides the optional space for older children to gather and plan their participation in the program for the day.
This space provides an ideal transitional tool where older children can avoid queuing for sign in until the line has cleared.
Children then transition from Central Play to other program areas from 3.30pm.
The Central Play is also utilised within the program in response to planned and spontaneous children’s’ requests; e.g. children can request a specific educator be rostered on to the Central Play to facilitate a particular game or session of games as part of the Active Play Programming.
Facilitated Active Play
Educators are rostered to facilitate a range of active play opportunities daily, both at before school care and after school care for younger and older groups of children. As well as being committed to being an Active After School Care Program where nearly all children engage in some level of outdoor activity each day we also focus on the learning opportunities available within those activities.
Educators are trained in facilitation skills enabling them to support positive social skills and minimize conflict in games. Our program of games is played for enjoyment rather than any focus on winning. Teams are adjusted to accommodate friends playing together and to ensure each team’s skills are matched, in this way winning becomes less relevant.
Providing additional focus and structure for the play of energetic children has been used as a preventative behaviour strategy where educators acknowledge that children who are focused and busy make fewer mistakes.
The culture of playground games is strong at WSACC. Children are encouraged to participate, nominate and plan playground games that reinforce the culture of participation, inclusion and an enthusiasm for play.
Favourite playground games include: 44 home, hide and seek, reverse tiggy, sardines, and the tag game.
Younger children also have access to facilitated play through games such as soccer, ball skill development games and running games.
Children play Educator-led games that provide a warm up and opportunity to focus and ready the group for the facilitated session.
Children can negotiate to play particular games and a consensus is reached on the schedule of games for the afternoon.
Children who are disappointed with the consensus reached are encouraged to get help completing the Activities Request Form so that we plan with their ideas in mind for the following week.
Favourite Oval games include: capture the flag, scorpion, red rover, the tennis ball game, soccer, touch football and gang up tiggy.