My Time Our Place: Introducing St Nicholas OOSH

For the last three years, St Nicholas Early Education has been providing child-led, play-based education to families throughout the Hunter. What began as two centres operating in Singleton and Newcastle’s CBD has grown to five centres, with three more centres scheduled to open in 2019.

The growth of the St Nicholas brand doesn’t stop there.

This year, St Nick’s has furthered its service offering to include a brand new agency:  St Nicholas OOSH which provides Out of School Hours (OOSH) care to children aged five to 12 years.

“St Nicholas OOSH is for school-aged children and will be offering programs that extends on their learning and interests,” says Tracey Sweetman, St Nicholas OOSH’s Project Manager.

“The objective of OOSH is to engage school-aged children in the planning and implementation of the program, which supports an interest based approach while also providing opportunities to further develop social skills and other integral developmental skills,” Tracey said.

Drawing upon a philosophy which states: “As an agency of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, St Nicholas OOSH is committed to supporting family life as the foundation of society and of the Church,” St Nicholas OOSH recognises the important aspect of this is providing educationally sound and professionally-staffed education services.

“We offer the children different areas - there’s a quiet space, so if children just want to come in after a big day at school, they can relax. If they’d like to do their homework, there’s a quiet space for homework. If they want to be creative, we facilitate that,” Tracey said.

While St Nicholas Early Education and St Nicholas OOSH are each their own agency, there is consistency between the two services and that is the commitment to putting each child at the centre of their own learning and development journey.

Speaking of the child-led focus of St Nicholas OOSH, Tracey said: “Each child’s learning and interests are documented which allows us to build on and extend upon that foundation.”

St Nicholas OOSH utilises a framework for school-aged care in Australia called My Time, Our Place which states: “The Framework acknowledges the importance of play and leisure in children’s learning and development and that their learning is not limited to any particular time or place. Developing life skills and a sense of enjoyment are emphasised.”

Expanding on the philosophy and Framework behind St Nicholas OOSH, Tracey said: “An aspect of St Nicholas OOSH is also vacation care. Vacation care hasn’t been previously offered at our Glendale site, however, starting in January, we will be offering a vacation care program.”

Vacation care provides all-day care and education for school-aged children throughout the school holidays and pupil free days.

St Nicholas OOSH currently operates a centre in Glendale at 30 Oakland Street and a centre in Chisholm at 24 Heritage Drive. A third centre in Branxton is planned for February 2019 at 28 - 44 Station street.

To learn more about St Nicholas OOSH, contact Tracey Sweetman at tracey.sweetman@stnicholasoosh.org.au.

 

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