Two Gippsland schools have engaged professional support to run outside school hours care (OSHC) for their students. Rosedale and Heyfield primary schools have introduced the service to give local parents and carers more options around the hours they are able to work.
The service will be provided by after-school and holiday care operator Sherpa Kids Australia, which runs before and after school clubs and holiday activities in schools and other community facilities throughout the country. Rosedale and Heyfield are the first two schools in Gippsland to work with the organisation but its Gippsland
director Kerry Henry says deals with another two schools are in the pipeline, with others also showing interest. This is the first time that Heyfield Primary School has offered such a service. Rosedale town had a school-aged day-care centre but that closed early last year.
Ms Henry says there is growing demand locally for after-school supervision, which mirrors national trends. Commonwealth reports show that in 2013 there were 100,000 more children in OSHC care (335,000) than in 2004 (225,000). More than two-thirds of that growth (66,950) occurred after September 2010 and demand for after-school care providers continues to outstrip supply in most areas.
“Aussie mums and dads are desperate for good quality, affordable OSHC,” Ms Henry said. “These days both carers are likely to be employed and working longer hours than ever. And, where extended families exist, potential carers are often too far away to help with before school care or after school activities.
Sherpa Kids services are owned and managed by members of the communities in which they operate. The Rosedale service will be run by Sherpa Kids program manager Cheyenne Anderson, while the service at Heyfield Primary School will be run by Emily Pritchett.
Sherpa Kids programs provide a highly structured environment, engaging children with a wide range of activities tailored to fit in with the individual requirements of schools and their curriculums. These include arts and crafts, music and drama, sport and games, and cooking and technology. Many are based on specific themes, such as recycling, sporting events or space exploration.