Quality and commitment in outside school hours care

Taking pride in being a ‘wild, interesting, crazy and loving’ place for children and being prepared to ‘have a go’, fail and try again, are all part of achieving quality at one outside school hours care program, says director BARBI CLENDINING.

The 2018 ECA National Conference spurred on Barbi Clendining to contact ECA and share the achievements and philosophy developed with her team at her outside school hours care (OSHC) centre in Pennant Hills, Sydney. Barbi enjoys the OSHC sector and thinks many services also want to aim high but can become a little lost or feel unsure about how to do it.

Her service is a community-based, not for profit, volunteer parent management committee centre, ‘which we are very proud of’ she says. It has achieved an ‘exceeding’ quality rating and is a place where staff members generally stay for four to six years. The materials below are adapted from the philosophy documentation that the team, the educational leader, Calum Waldegrave and director, Barbi, have developed together.

The director’s philosophy 

At Pennant Hills Before and After School Care (BASC) Service Inc. we are unique. We march to the beat of our own drum. We have lots of drums and lots of beats, booms, crashes and tambourines (metaphorically). These beats change daily and as the centre changes with the children’s needs and wants. The children are at the forefront of all that we do and there is undeniable evidence of this in the relationships that children and educators form.

Innovation = Change + Action

We embrace change and pride ourselves on continually looking at what we do and changing as the centres and children’s needs change. There is no right or wrong; we give it a go and see how it works.

The educational leader’s philosophy

Pennant Hills BASC is a wild, interesting, crazy and loving centre full of children who are encouraged to be themselves.

Our community of parents, educators and children create a unique experience for all. We push on the unconventional and are learning each day. We fail, we try again. We fall, we get back up. There’s always a new way to learn how we play. Everyone is different, everyone has different ideas, everyone sees things differently. We welcome all these things and jump at the chance to extend on the minds of our children.

Our children’s presence can be felt as you walk into the school; although the children being present could mean anywhere. Find us in the trees, the sand, the dirt, the monkey bars, the cubby houses and the cushions. We love the land we are on and strive to learn more about it and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories.

Our staff set the foundation of quality care for all. They love, laugh and learn with our children. We continue to advocate for play to be held at the forefront of what we do and to be the driving force for our children’s wellbeing. We aspire that play will always be that and the future is one that is unstructured and full of joy. We are a messy masterpiece.

My Time, Our Place—Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners

Dedicated and passionate educators value each and every child that attends the centre. Educators have a diverse background and not all are education based. The centre sees this as a positive as it, in turn, brings with it a variety of ideas, knowledge and practices. The centre is proud of how it values diversity in educators and acknowledges strengths in each one.

In its philosophy document, the director and whole team acknowledge past and present educators because ‘without them, their hard work, passion and dedication, our centre would not be where it is today’.

Barbi Clendining

Barbi is Centre Director of Pennant Hills BASC and Co Founder of Firefly HR.

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