What is Out of School Hours (OOSH) care?

Outside of School Hours (OOSH) care is centre-based child care for primary school-age children generally ages 5 to 12 years old. It is designed to offer care and educational programs for kids whose families need assistance in supervising and caring for their children outside the standard 9 am-3 pm school hours.

This is offered before and/or after school, on student-free days and during the school holidays. OOSH care is usually available in schools, supervised playgrounds and other establishments such as community centres and recreation centres.

Before/After School Care or Outside School Hours Care

OOSH is open before the regular school day begins and after the school day ends to eligible children who are enrolled in public or private schools during the academic year.

A wide range of families with different needs can benefit from the services provided by OOSH meaning Out of School Hours care or before/after school care.

Some parents may need to use the service on weekdays because of work commitments. There are some parents who may need assistance on an occasional or need-be basis like when they have an emergency, urgent appointment or task that can’t be scheduled during school hours.

OOSH services enable children to discover their potential, strengths, and interests which help them boost their confidence. Some children who might be struggling with regular school or have learning challenges improve with the help of an OOSH program.

Whether it is before or after school or during holidays, OOSH services offer children fun, creative and quality activities that help them discover where their strengths lie.

What will my child do at OOSH care?

OOSH fosters a fun and relaxed environment for children. The variety of activities that are available in OOSH allows many children to enjoy spending time with their friends and classmates where they can learn, play, talk and hang out.

OOSH care services give value to play, social interaction and recreation. Some activities that children can engage in include arts and crafts, music, reading, sports and games.

Exposure to these activities is a first step in identifying a child’s talent so the OOSH service can collaborate with families in supporting and nurturing them. This opens opportunities for self-discovery and collaboration with other children in the service.

How does OOSH work?

OOSH is offered outside the regular school hours. Providers of OOSH care offer a range of services, including before and after school care as well as holiday care. Through these providers, children can engage in fun and exciting activities while interacting with students of different age groups.

It has been found that students who spend time in before and after-school programs get better grades and develop communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

What are the benefits of OOSH care?

An OOSH care environment is conducive to developing life skills, social skills and enriching experiences which is why children who spend time in before and after school services are more likely to get better grades and build foundational skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

Strong bonds and collaboration

A good OOSH service forges partnerships with families and communities. They are open to suggestions, feedback and involvement from these stakeholders when making decisions to ensure that they maintain a healthy relationship for positive outcomes among children.

Some services also plan and schedule excursions during school holidays, such as a trip to the zoo, museum, or park. As a result of these experiential learning activities, OOSH, the child, the child’s family and the broader community can build stronger relationships and partnerships. 

Enriched learning experience

They offer a holistic approach to learning. OOSH creatively plans indoor and outdoor play activities for children. Having a physical outdoor learning environment contributes immensely to a child’s growth and development.

Play-based learning involves a wide variety of resources and learning environments in the service cater to a child’s needs and interests. Beyond reading, math, science and history, there are more recreational activities like arts and crafts, cooking, storytelling, games and more that young learners immerse themselves in.

Enhanced support for early learners

A child develops their social skills in OOSH as they have a lot of social time and opportunities to interact with new people outside of the ones they meet in their regular school. They learn cooperation, support, and respect for others. Having access to OOSH programs increases students’ sense of belonging, making them feel included.

Young learners also get academic support from educators to help them boost their academic skills. For example, if there’s a child who struggles with focusing and doing their homework at home, teachers or carers at the service can help them get across lessons.

Children are empowered and inspired by the educators in OOSH to discover their interests and talents. They engage in many activities such as fun science experiments, art projects, musical activities and even sports.

How much does out-of-school hours care cost?

The average hourly childcare fee that families usually pay across all service types except In-Home Care was $10.00 according to the 2020 Child Care in Australia report. This cost is before the Australian Government fee assistance.

Before and after school care fees range from $20 to $40, while vacation care fees can reach $60 or more. Additionally, annual memberships for the organization or centre, late collection, excursions, and special outings during holiday times may be charged.

Child care subsidies to reduce the cost of OOSH care are available for eligible families using approved centres.

Finding the OOSH care for your children

Space can help you find an OOSH service or good before and after-school care services in your location. When you go to space.myxplor.com you can search easily by typing in your suburb or postcode in the search box and Space will provide you with a list of centres in your area.

You can also filter the schools and centres based on the type of care, their ratings, fees, special offers and child capacity.

Learn more about other child care services on Space

Creating an account and sending enquiries on Space is free of charge. If you want to start looking for a childcare provider for your children, there are around 10,000 centres using Space. You can find quality long daycare, pre-school, kindergarten, before and after school care, and vacation care on the platform.

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