An after-school care service started at Glengarry Primary School last month (July). It is the third service operated locally by Sherpa Kids Gippsland, which recently started operating in Rosedale and Heyfield primary schools as well.
Glengarry Primary School has introduced the service to give local parents and carers more options around the hours they can work. It has started as an after-school facility but Sherpa Kids director for Gippsland Kerry Henry says it will offer holiday care if there is sufficient demand from parents.
The cost of after-school care can be covered largely by Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebates (CCR) for parents who are eligible. Ms Henry said this information was not widely promoted to families, with the result that many parents were unaware of their entitlements and the difference these could make to the affordability of after-school and holiday care.
“When you get down to actually claiming these entitlements it’s actually a very straight-forward process. Our staff are willing and able to help explain to parents how they can do so,” she said.
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.
Local schools looking for an out of school hours care provider can contact Sherpa Kids Gippsland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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. Sherpa Kids Glengarry will be run by program manager Ali O’Donnell.
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.