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Starting out in Outside School Hours Care

Information for new and prospective educators

What is OSHC? 

OSHC is the care for children between the ages of 5-12. It operates before and after school as well as in the vacation periods. 

Quality OSHC programs are intended to complement rather than duplicate the school day. OSHC environments afford rich play-based learning opportunities in a context of meaningful leisure. Children have the opportunity to develop holistically (socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually) within a safe and supportive environment where they collaborate with educators who actively supervise them while promoting their learning, development and wellbeing.

The OSHC program includes all the experiences, interactions, routines, activities and events that occur in the setting designed to foster children’s learning, wellbeing and development. Commonwealth of Australia (2011).

This is supported by the Australian framework for School Age Care – My Time, Our Place (2011)

Philosophy of OSHC

OSHC is a service that provides quality education and care to children while their families are typically working or studying. Child centred practice supports children holistically and values their sense of agency and children have choice and control of how they spend their time in OSHC with the program designed and delivered to support children’s ideas and interests. The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child’s provides a valuable reference point to OSHC services and educators.

Organisational Structures of OSHC

OSHC services can be located on school grounds, in community venues, churches or other similar facilities. Regardless of the location, there are minimum standards that apply to how service’s must operate. This applies to the minimum amounts of indoor and outdoor space that must be accessible to all children in the OSHC service’s learning environment.

Services must have an approved provider that is the person or entity legally responsible for the service and how it operates including meeting the relevant laws and regulations as well as the National Quality Standard (NQS). The NQS is the benchmark against which high quality care is determined through a process of assessment and rating.

The person in day to day charge of the service is known as the Nominated Supervisor and may also be known as the Coordinator, Director or Service Manager. The service will also have an Educational Leader who oversees, guides and supports the design and delivery of the program. Other staff who work directly with children are referred to as Educators because of the important role they play in facilitating children’s learning and participation in the program.

Educator Qualities

Do you feel inspired to work with children?

Do you have a sense of humour? Open-mindedness; a willingness to learn; and an ability to communicate effectively with adults and children?

Do you have a current first aid certificate (or would you be willing to work towards one) and are you able to get a working with children check (blue card)?

When working in OSHC it will be helpful for you to gain knowledge about the National Law and Regulations; Child Development; design and implementation of experiences and strategies for guiding children’s behaviour. This is also necessary if you choose to, or are required to obtain a qualification to work in the sector.

Where can I find out more?

Outside School Hours Care Professional Standards for Educators

The Professional Standards for Educators are a public statement of what constitutes educator quality. They define the work of educators and make explicit the elements of high-quality, effective Outside School Hours Care provision in quality services that will contribute to enhancing outcomes for children. The Standards do this by providing a framework which makes clear the knowledge, practice and professional engagement required across educators’ careers. They present a common understanding and language for discourse between educators, educational leaders, nominated supervisors, governing organisations, professional associations and the public.


PANOSH aims to improve the nutrition and physical activity levels of Queensland children attending OSHC through the provision of

customised information, training and support for OSHC services. This resource is freely available to all Queensland OSHC services and their educators.

Regulatory authorities

Each state and territory has a regulatory authority, which implements the functions of approvals, monitoring and compliance and quality assessment under the NQF.

In Queensland, the Chief Executive of the Department of Education is the regulatory authority and is responsible for:

•  assessing applications relating to provider and service approvals, amendments and waivers and notifications relating to changes to providers and services, transfers of service approvals and the occurrence of serious incidents and complaints alleging breaches of the law, amongst other matters.

•   assessing and rating the quality of services

· monitoring and enforcing compliance with the legislation  



The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority  (ACECQA) is the National Authority overseeing the National Quality Framework (NQF) in education and care services in Australia. ACECQA has many responsibilities including educating and informing the wider community about the importance of improving outcomes in children’s education and care services.

ACECQA guides the implementation of the NQF to promote consistency in delivery and outcomes across jurisdictions.   

“The program is like a community, we are like a family here. After School Care is like the modern neighbourhood, children of primary school age coming together and playing in our OSHC neighbourhood. Work in OSHC is appealing for many educators because it is fun and dynamic and the children are so creative and inspiring. It’s awesome to watch them learn and grow in OSHC.” Coordinator

“My interactions with the children are the most integral part of my job, they are the reason I’m here. Their individuality, their humour, their growth and their agency. It is rewarding and joyful to be a part of the children’s day to day lives.” Educator

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